The YSEALI Bootcamp Roundup – The Student Log
After 2 intense months, the YSEALI Bootcamp is drawing to a close. How time flies! We travelled across 8 states (Selangor, Sabah, Sarawak, Johor, Penang, Terengganu, Kelantan, and Kedah), met hundreds of passionate university students, and worked with NGOs doing amazing work in their respective fields, whether it’s with people, animals, or the environment.
The YSEALI Bootcamp was made possible thanks to the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, whose aim was to focus beyond urban KL in their outreach program. So, we pitched the idea of a travelling bootcamp. NGOs would come in to present their most pressing issue, and participants would come up with solutions. The best solution would be selected and the team given a cash grant for an implementation stage, after the bootcamp. And that’s exactly what happened in each state. 2 NGOs, 50 students, and 2 winning solutions.
“I’ve seen many boot camps that focus on entrepreneurship and leadership, but this boot camp is definitely among the very few (if not only) that included social entrepreneurship as its core themes,” said student Rebecca Lee on why she decided to participate in the Kelantan leg. Her team went on to become a finalist with their idea to create a streamlined volunteer management system through an online recruitment platform and data management system for Yayasan Orang Kurang Upaya (YOKUK).
Our partner Positive X, joined us on our cross-country trip to facilitate a 2-day Design Thinking workshop – a first for many of the students involved! A human-centric approach to problem-solving, we sent students through a structured learning process that enabled them to problem solve in an effective and efficient manner.
On this experience, Sarawak finalist Esther Kana said, “Design thinking helped me in approaching a problem better and to better find a solution towards the problem…before this bootcamp, it seemed impossible to tackle social causes, preventing me from wanting to work more on my own community.”
Positive X facilitator Marcus Koh elaborated that this approach requires participants to articulate their thoughts, feelings, and opinions – a behaviour that doesn’t come naturally to many of us in the context of a typical Asian upbringing. “[Design Thinking] gives students the ability and the confidence to solve problems that are complex..it teaches us to experiment with our ideas and embrace failure. It is in failure that we learn the most.”
From March to May 2019, a total of 16 teams were chosen as finalists (2 per state), with each given a cash grant of RM2,000 to work closely with the respective NGOs.
Wong Kang Yao, a Johor finalist, said, “The biggest highlight of the bootcamp is to take on a real-life case study, and designing our solutions around the problem…the feedback on our prototype was constructive and insightful.” His team’s winning solution seeks to introduce the startup industry and culture at the university-level via various on-ground activities in order to address the brain drain issue in the region.
Congratulations to all the finalists of the inaugural YSEALI Bootcamp, and we look forward to seeing you at the finale in September!