18 August, 2023 4:58 PM

Youth Volunteers from ASEAN Set to Drive More Positive Change across the Region

This ASEAN Foundation and Maybank Foundation Collaboration has impacted close to 40,000 community members via 175 youth volunteers and 20 Civil Society Organisations/Social Enterprises since 2018 


Bangkok, 28 July 2023 - In line with the celebratory spirit surrounding ASEAN Day on 8 August 2023, ASEAN Foundation and Maybank Foundation welcomed 120 youth volunteers and ten representatives from the selected civil society organisations (CSOs) and social enterprises (SEs) from across the region to the opening ceremony of the Regional Capacity Building Workshop of the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN (EYAA) programme, Cohort 3 at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. 

Before embarking on the community projects in the five ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, the youth volunteers undergone a regional capacity building workshop from 24 to 27 July 2023. This workshop acted as an avenue for youth volunteers and CSOs to receive extensive project management training and to finalise their project proposals. 

The first day of the workshop commenced with opening remarks from Mr. Shahril Azuar Jimin, Chief Sustainability Officer of Maybank, who conveyed about the importance of youth volunteerism for a stronger ASEAN. Following the opening speech, a design thinking training was organised, requiring the youth volunteers to split into ten teams and visit different places around the Chulalongkorn University. They would then have to present their findings to everyone. Following the design thinking session, a training on financial management was organised.  

The second day was marked with the opening ceremony of the regional workshop where a gong ceremony involving important stakeholders, such as Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Zamzamzairani, Chairman of Maybank and Maybank Foundation, H.E. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and H.E. Amb. Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to ASEAN, took place. 

The final day of the workshop started with a panel discussion on “Localise ASEAN through Youth Empowerment Initiatives" involving H.E. Amb. Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to ASEAN, and representatives from the ASEAN permanent missions. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Piti Srisangnam, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation. It was then continued with each youth volunteers’ group presenting their community projects to a judging panel and a sharing on "Youth as Future ASEAN Leaders" by Datuk Dr. Nora Abd Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer of Maybank. The day was concluded with a gala dinner and cultural night, where each participating country showcased their vibrant cultures through dancing and singing performances. 

The next day saw youth volunteers preparing for the deployment to each community site in the five countries. The participants engaged in an intense discussion to finalise their community projects while the organising committee made sure that the flight and accommodation for the youth volunteers were ready for the next day. 

The community projects implemented by both youth volunteers and CSOs strived to tackle a range of issues around the topics of Arts and Culture, Community Empowerment, Education, and Environmental Diversity in the five countries. For instance, in Cambodia, the Community Mural project aims to enhance communities through vibrant art, while the Green Jobs initiative focuses on creating eco-friendly employment opportunities. In Indonesia, initiatives like Thrive Together, Tenun.In Belu, and BerDAYA are dedicated to nurturing personal development, empowering local artisans, and promoting leadership skills. These projects collectively foster collaboration, innovation, and positive change, benefiting the youth of ASEAN.  

Dr. Piti Srisangnam commented: “EYAA: Cohort 3 Programme is representing a continued collaborative endeavour between ASEAN Foundation and Maybank Foundation to unlock the boundless potential of ASEAN youth and communities. This programme acts as a powerful catalyst for profound change, empowering young volunteers to embark on purposeful community projects that address the urgent challenges encountered by our people across the region.” 

Aligned with Dr. Piti's focus on empowering ASEAN youth and fostering positive transformation in the region, Mr. Shahril Azuar Jimin said, “At Maybank we are dedicated to empowering the youths and fostering collaboration for positive change. Through our partnership with the ASEAN Foundation in this programme, we aim to cultivate a platform where young changemakers can harness their potential and make a lasting impact in their communities. Together, we strive to shape a brighter future for ASEAN by nurturing the passion and innovation of our youth.”  

The EYAA programme is designed for youth between the ages of 19 to 35 years from the ten ASEAN Member States, offering them an immersive and educational learning platform through social volunteerism. In this programme, a diverse group of young changemakers will have the unique opportunity to bring their ideas to life and embark on impactful projects across selected ASEAN countries. 

In its third edition, the EYAA programme offers a range of opportunities and benefits for participants. Each group of youth volunteers and CSOs within the programme has the potential to receive a grant of up to USD 27,000, which will be used to support the implementation of the community projects. 

Since its inception in 2018, this programme has successfully empowered 175 youth volunteers and fostered collaborations with 20 CSOs and social enterprises, resulting in a direct impact on 38,933 community members across ASEAN. Additionally, the programme has reached an additional 851,910 individuals through a variety of online events.  

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