The YSEALI Bootcamp Roundup – The NGO Log

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With the plethora of learning and development courses available out there, how can (not another!?) leadership bootcamp set itself apart and bring real impact to its participants? We found that the answer is to make it impactful for everyone involved.

In case you missed it, here’s a detailed rundown of the bootcamp [link to 1st article]. We worked with 2 NGOs in each state, who presented their most pressing problem to our participants, who in turn were coached in the Design Thinking approach by our partner Positive X. 2 winning teams were picked in each state, and they were sent off with their respective NGOs with a cash grant to implement their ideas

The bootcamp was fortunate enough to have been participated by NGOs in various social causes – from helping fellow NGOs to wildlife and environment, to the underprivileged.

Many of the NGOs were compelled to take part at the prospect of working with university students, and tapping into fresh, creative resources. Chen Pelf Nyok of Turtle Conservation Society (TCS) in Terengganu says, “We are a small NGO, but we do a lot of work…small, meaning we are not popular. So we appreciate any help that comes our way! If we’re to do it on our own, it’ll take a lot of effort, time, and money. I was surprised to see so many participants. 

The whole experience was a learning curve for me, as Design Thinking wasn’t something I knew before.” Her biggest takeaway from the bootcamp was learning to create value for others by finding a relevance for everyday people to get involved in her cause. The winning idea that she chose – a virtual running event to raise money for wildlife – was something that she had thought of before, but simply did not have the time not resources to execute. “It was to know that someone else sees it as a viable solution!” she elaborates.

On their experience, NGOhub shares: [It was] amazing! It is always fun and eye-opening to see new creative ideas came from the perspective of youth. All ideas during the Bootcamp are amazing but unfortunately, we can only choose one winner…the energy was amazing and very positive.” Similar to TCS, the chosen solution had been in their backburner due to lack of resources, but thanks to the bootcamp, they can see the idea come to fruition. 

They hope that using e-wallets as a channel for donation will be a more sustainable solution compared to crowdfunding. Their advice to folks looking to adopt a social cause? “Always do research on your beneficiaries and the needs of the community before implementing any projects with them.”

The other NGOs echoed the same sentiment: Any involvement in social causes requires commitment and consistency, with long-term aims. Chen (TCS) suggested volunteering as a way to ‘test waters’ before immersing oneself fully. Jacqueline Fong of Tanoti says, “This kind of work is only for people who have enough to give and have an overriding interest to give. One should possess sufficient health, wealth and physical ability so as not to worry about oneself when undertaking community work because the work is never about the person, it is always about the beneficiaries.” She is currently working with a Sarawak finalist team to execute a designer residency with the Penan tribes that she works with in the interiors.

In the education sector, Kathryn Rivai of Etania School in Sabah catered to stateless children hopes to see more sustainable projects. “I prefer long-term projects where relationships can be built and children understand there are people who care for them in the community. I want families involved in the learning process and in skills training. Parents can learn too!”

Thank you to all the NGOs who participated in our inaugural bootcamp. It really was a pleasure to dive deeper into the work you do and serve alongside the youth of Malaysia to further your missions.


Farmster Junior
Startup Johor
Grow the Goose
Worming Up
Pertubuhan Pengurusan Rumah Safiyyah
Tanoti Crafts
Penang Institute
Yayasan Orang Kurang Upaya Kelantan (YOKUK)
Talent Developing Society (TDS)
Noble Management & Consultancy
Setiu Wetland Discovery (EcoSwed), Terengganu
Ecoknights Johor
Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia
Etania Schools, Sabah
Pertubuhan Sokongan Ibubapa Kanak-Kanak Autisme (PSIKKA)

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