How can we contribute to the community when volunteering online? The Group 6 of eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN: Cohort Two programme supported the implementation of Me.reka Digital Entrepreneurship Programme through teamwork, dedication and resilience. Even though they work remotely from different countries, they managed to organise virtual capacity building and networking events successfully with an improved rate of attendance and engagement. Read more below to discover their journey!
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven us to explore different ways of volunteering and adjust all activities into online setup. What’s your overall impression of virtual volunteering?
Frankly speaking, the past five months have been a hectic one. With people we have never met before in real life, from different time zone and countries, of all walks of life, we worked days and nights to create new impact on Me.reka Digital Entrepreneurship Programme. The pandemic has changed the world, where the traditional idea of volunteering has been replaced by zoom meetings and virtual platforms, yet we managed to establish equally sustainable and impactful changes.
How did you tackle the challenges of organising virtual events? Can you share us how you managed to maintain participant’s engagement throughout the programme?
In order to combat the most significant challenges that Me.reka faces with their Digital Entrepreneur (DE) which is the high drop-out rate, we drafted statement for optional resume and portfolio, English proficiency survey as well as template for absentees survey. We added these components with the aim for better recruitment and selection process, and throughout the process, we realised there were improvement in the following cohorts where there were consistent attendance and higher rates of engagement among the participants as we further filtered our participants at the recruitment stage. The drafts were not approved in just one go, instead it had been through lots of discussion after back-to-back meetings in order to meet the feasibility during application.
We signed up for the DE programme itself in order to experience it ourselves so that we are able to understand the gist of the programme before offering any changes. It was fun meeting new people, exploring different perspectives on freelancing and at the same time strategized ourselves on how to make improvement for the next cohort. We engaged ourselves with the alumni to document the changes they have had after joining the DE programme, on both pros and cons in order to spread the influence to more potentials in need. We were glad to receive a number of positive responses from the graduates, especially proud and impressed on how this compact one-month DE programme impacted them so much, in terms of personal wellbeing and career growth.
You have made a wonderful contribution! What’s the most memorable thing you did in this project?
One of our greatest successes is definitely organising Career Open Day to provide a networking platform to engage the potential companies and our alumni in order to expose them with more work opportunities. We surveyed and compared the prices and functionality of several platforms, designed and created breakout rooms to make the open day interesting even though it was done virtually. We researched for potential speakers to give talks so that our participants can benefit from the gathering itself besides expanding their social networking circles. From the recruitment to the mentorship for graduated alumni, we involved ourselves in every single element of the DE programme in order to offer our best help.
Thank you for your commitment and dedication! Any last words you wish to share to wrap this up?
Life is not always smooth-sailing, but we sorted things out with meetings and alternatives, and most importantly to achieve a consensus with the team. We spent hours on zoom meetings trying to figure out what plan would work best, which flow would run smoother, and celebrated the success of programme we executed together when in fact we have never met anyone in real life. It was truly a blessing to work with a team of great enthusiasm and we are thankful for the eye-opening experience volunteering with Me.reka.
Edited by: Nguyen Thu Ha, Communications Intern