Saturday, August 15

Council holds workshop to empower NGOs


Chan (standing front, second left) and Ng (on Chan’s left) with participants from the various NGOs in a group photo.

KUCHING: The Sarawak Social Welfare Council is holding a series of seminars and workshops aimed at empowering non-governmental organisations (NGOs) beginning with financial management yesterday.

Vice-president Dunstan Chan said the council has designed 12 capacity-building and training programmes that cover topics such as leadership, conflict management, good governance, fundraising, and communications, which will be carried out regularly.

“The NGOs are driven by people directly affected by whatever needs. They have the heart to do things but may not have the skills to organise. The capacity programmes will cover everything that they need to know, like tax, laws, and others.

“The council also provides the platform for NGOs to share experience and support each other. Many of them have a lot of experience and they can share their success stories and lessons they learnt with other NGOs,” he said when met at the seminar and workshop.

Chan said the council was initially formed primarily to implement programmes to help people with disabilities, whether physical or intellectual.

“In these 70 years, the council started to grow. Many of the parties relating to specific needs, especially the parents, patients, and friends started to form their own independent organisations, meaning they can do their own activities more efficiently.

“Now the council no longer needs to implement programmes because the different NGOs can do it better. Our primary role now is to make our affiliates strong, through capacity building,” he said.

Chan said the council is planning to extend the capacity-building programmes to other parts of Sarawak.

“We will run these programmes in Sibu and Miri. We have already made contact with some NGOs in Miri, who are willing to help with coordinating, and we are looking into Sibu as well.

“The reason is simple. It is expensive for people to come to Kuching for the training so it is better that we send trainers to go there. We will be doing this within the next month,” he said.

He thanked the Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Ministry, particularly Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, for the support provided to run the first seminar and workshop.

He hopes the ministry will continue providing support for future programmes.

Chan added the council would be organising a celebration in September next year, in conjunction with its anniversary.

In his opening speech, council president Major Francis Ng welcomed the 41 affiliates of the council and the 16 non-affiliates.

“Over the years many NGOs joined the council, covering a wide range of causes. The council is empowering and strengthening its affiliates through education and training in capacity building and also to provide platform for sharing.

“(Let us) appreciate each other’s’ areas of service, share notes and understand the community at large,” he said.