NGO: Form partnerships to address issues more effectively

GOVERNMENT agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) need to form partnerships to complement one another’s goals, said the founder of Green Brunei.

Khairunnisa Ash’ari said to date, Green Brunei has received support from and worked with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Development and the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office for its projects.

“The kind of support we usually need is technical expertise, facilities and also in-kind support. I believe partnerships like these are important because it helps strengthen understanding of various environment and climate change issues,” she said.

The NGO has around 30 members aged from 18 to 31. But Khairunnisa said with most of their events, they work with outside volunteers as well as Universiti Brunei Darussalam students who are doing their Discovery Year programme with Green Brunei.

Khairunnisa said for the coming year, they will be recruiting members through schools and colleges and social media to help manage some of its projects.

“We hope to make our programmes more sustainable and will do this by focusing on education, conservation and advocacy. Next year, we hope to engage with more students through our existing programmes, which are the Green Leaders Camp and Green Ambassadors Programme but also through other platforms such as exhibitions and conferences,” she said.

Khairunnisa said everyone can play a part in contributing to the nation. “Often I will ask my participants (youth) how they feel about contributing towards solving our environment problems, and the typical response is that they feel they are too young and their voices aren’t heard.

“This is why we are actively reaching out to youths between 18 to 25 to show them how they can make a difference in the community by sharing our knowledge and skills with them and empowering them,” she added.

Volunteerism is a great start to get youth interested in various causes, but training of human resources is also important, she said.

“Through the (volunteer) work they do, youths can gain valuable skills that can make them more marketable in the future.

“One of the biggest issues youth is facing now and will face in the coming years is unemployment. So it’s important that we equip them now not just with academic knowledge, but also technical or practical skills and improve their interpersonal skills and attitude to help them secure jobs or create their own businesses,” she said.

She added that next year, Green Brunei will encourage other NGOs and government agencies to take part in more dialogues to make sure their programmes are aligned towards the same goals.

Source: The Brunei Times