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Deal aims to empower Asean youth

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(From left) Taswin, Abdul Farid, Shahril Azuar, Lim, Tan, Phasporn and Kok at the signing ceremony of the agreement for the Empowering Youths Across Asean programme. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Deal aims to empower Asean youth

The Asean Foundation and Maybank Foundation have signed a three-year extension agreement for the Empowering Youths Across Asean programme.

The signing was held at the new Asean Secretariat building in Jakarta, Indonesia, and was witnessed by the foreign ministers from 10 Asean member states, Asean secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi and Maybank group president Abdul Farid Alias.

The chair of Asean Foundation’s Board of Trustees ambassador, Kok Li Peng, the chair of Committee of Permanent Representatives to Asean ambassador Phasporn Sangasubana from Thailand, and Maybank Indonesia president director Taswin Zakaria were also in attendance.

Signing on behalf of Maybank was Maybank Foundation CEO Shahril Azuar Jimin, while the Asean Foundation was represented by its executive director Elaine Tan.

Launched a year ago, the programme gathered 100 youths aged from 19 to 35 from across Asean to develop and implement community projects that deliver tangible long-term impact, socially and economically.

The programme provides micro grants totalling $200,000 to commence community initiatives that can alleviate poverty and empower Asean communities.

This initiative will play a significant role in helping to achieve the objectives as laid out in the Asean Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The programme, which ran from August 2018 to August this year, kicked off with a Regional Capacity Building and Orientation Workshop in January in the Asean Studies Centre of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

Following the workshop, all youths were deployed to selected community areas in Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia to embark on community projects with a focus on four specific areas, namely Community Empowerment, Arts and Culture, Environmental Diversity and Education.

Shahril Azuar said this was an example of an intra-Asean programme and a proof point of their hopes for the continued success of a public-private partnership for years to come.

“We are confident this platform will continue to channel the energy and creativity of Asean youths into challenging and meaningful activities that will strengthen community bonds, encourage volunteerism and generate innovative solutions to socio-economic challenges while positively impacting the communities,” he said.

Throughout the entirety of the community projects, 100 dye trees for environmental friendly silk weaving were planted in Takeo, Cambodia, 1,016 mangroves seeds were also planted in Kampot, Cambodia as part of an eco-tourism project; 9,245kg of food waste were collected; a new training centre for youths was built; 47 teachers were equipped with new teaching tools in Battambang, Cambodia; and five permanent water filters with a capacity of 200 litres per barrel were built near a river in Sumedang, Indonesia.

Ultimately, 17,827 individuals were positively impacted while more than 19 NGOs, partners and other related stakeholders were engaged.

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