Strengthening Civil Society Organisations

IMSHA Winners Network get empowered and exchanged ideas and resources between them through workshops

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Group photo with Dato Dr Badrul

“To foster better networking and comradery, and to enhance communications and the sharing of resources among the IMSHA Winners Network”. These were the objectives behind an insightful 2-day capacity building workshop organised for past winners of the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (IMSHA). 

Themed Volunteerism, Experience Sharing, Finding Common Ground, the workshop was attended by Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) representatives drawn from a range of disciplines. They included Kelab Alami, Okestra Darul Takzim, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP CICJB), Cerebral Palsy Johor, Johor Women’s League (JEWEL), 448 Foodbank Johor, Ihsan Johor Relief, Breast Cancer Support Group (BCSG), Befrienders JB, Johor Bahru Happy and Joyous Club, Soka Gakkai Malaysia, Educational, Welfare & Research Foundation Malaysia (EWRF), Freemarket Johor, Companion Animal Rescue Effort Society (Cares), Persatuan Silat Kalimah Johor, Green Earth Society, as well as individual past winners of the award. 

Held at Ponderosa Golf & Country Club, the event was sponsored by Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) and the Social Hero Foundation (SHF) with a commitment fee paid by the participants. 

Strengthening Civil Society Organisations
Workshop in Progress

Launched in 2014, the IMSHA is a premier regional award dedicated to spot, recognise, empower, and celebrate the unsung heroes among civil society individuals and organisations for the exemplary work they do in serving the needs of the community in various fields. IMSHA is a collaborative effort by the Social Hero Foundation (SHF) and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). 

In 2019, IMSHA was recognised as a “Good Practice SDG Award Provider” by the United Nations Country Team Malaysia.

Apart from the annual awards, IMSHA winners get to regularly attend capacity building and training workshops to further empower CSOs and encourage the exchange of ideas and resources between them.

“The Covid19 lockdown has been a time of intense work by the individual IMSHA winners. Yet we have not had a physical get-together in two years. This workshop served as an icebreaker of sorts, plus it gave winners the chance to get up to speed on the latest trends in the NGO CSO world, including the need to embrace and align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Thanam Visvanathan-Suresh, Chairperson of IMSHA. 

Attendees gained some useful insight on topics such as Branding and Communications by Grace Chiam, CEO of Brand Culture; Innovative Fundraising Methods by Ananti Rajasingham, CEO of Yayasan Chow Kit; ‘Connecting the Dots’ alignment workshop by Sheila Solomon; Good Governance and Anti-Corruption by Balbeer Singh; Introduction to the UN SDGs by Edey Suresh, Director of the UN Global Compact Network Malaysia & Brunei (UNGCMYB); as well as sharing by select NGO representatives. 

IRDA’s Chief Executive, Dato Dr Badrul Kassim Hisham, delivered the closing address and emphasised the importance of working hand in hand with CSOs. 

“The NGOs and CSOs’ contribution and role in helping the community is very much recognised and appreciated by the government. IMSHA’s efforts in ensuring coordination and optimising resources among its network is commendable. As part of the Iskandar Malaysia Community Capacity Building initiative, IRDA will continue to initiate discussions with IMSHA to understand and fulfil the training needs of the NGOs and CSOs. This can then be realised through knowledge sharing sessions and workshops which will further enhance the capability of these NGOs to work in a coordinated and optimised manner,” said Dato Dr Badrul. 

Strengthening Civil Society Organisations
NGOs at work

“Thanks to the IMSHA network, NGOs have a platform for collaboration and to share resources. NGOs from diverse backgrounds that focus on environmental protection, disaster relief, poverty and even animal assistance will be able to get together and make things better for the community,” said Zaharah Raishan, organising Chairperson for the workshop.

The importance of incorporating the UN SDGs into the operations and programs of CSOs was one of the key highlights of the workshop. It was recently reported that Johor Bahru’s surface temperature recorded an increase of 6.7º Celsius within a period of 13 years – between May 2005 and May 2018. Suresh emphasised the importance of CSOs connecting with Sustainable Development Goal 13 for Climate Change to understand the depth of Johor Bahru’s temperature spike effects, among other global issues that are reflected via localising the SDGs. 

With the success of the 2-day workshop, the organising committee is looking forward to bringing more subject matter experts to share their expertise with CSOs and to enable them to carry out more accountable and effective work.