Community Engagement Post COVID-19: UiTM webinar explores the new norms

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UITM’S Community Engagement with MERCY & UN Children’s Fund

The COVID -19 Pandemic has changed the world and brought about new norms in its wake. To be ready for the new challenges of community engagement, the Community Network Centre of UiTM Industry, Community and Alumni Network (ICAN) organized a webinar titled “Community Engagement Post COVID 19: What are the New Norms?”.

According to Associate Professor Hajjah Norshiha Saidin, the Head of ICAN Community Networking, ‘the objective of the webinar is to engage researchers, professionals, and civil society on this journey of humanitarian education as we create innovative ways on community engagement’.

The webinar on 19th May 2020 featured prominent speakers from two international organizations. Hafiz Amirrol, Head of Strategic Planning & Building Resilient Communities, was from MERCY Malaysia and Stephen Barrett, Chief of Social Policy was from United Nations Children’s Fund. MERCY Malaysia is an international humanitarian NGO whose core activities focus on providing medical relief, sustainable health-related programs and disaster risk reduction.

The two-hour session was moderated by Dr. Hjh. Memiyanty Haji Abdul Rahim, Deputy Dean of Industry, Community, Alumni, and Entrepreneurship Network and Research, Faculty of Administrative Science & Policy Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Malaysia.

Both speakers highlighted their agency’s initiative on disaster risk reduction, child poverty, social protection projects, and working closely with the local government, community agencies, and other international organizations.

Among the key topics discussed was the key role of international humanitarian organizations in combating the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia and the international arena.

Hafiz shared MERCY Malaysia’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan as well as their collaborations with the Ministry of Health and Asia Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRNN).

Hafiz said, “MERCY Malaysia action plan is to support the movement control by reducing the needs of the vulnerable and at risk communities to move around beyond their locality and to help promote awareness via advocacy and knowledge sharing.”

Both speakers highlighted the need to educate civil society about disaster risk reduction and management, projects to empower the community especially the marginalized, children, and the poor. Mr Barrett suggested the importance of designing social protection institutions and strengthening multi-sectoral coordination frameworks for social policy post-COVID -19.

Both concurred that the effects of the pandemic on the community and future community engagements are far-reaching and will impact all levels of society. This webinar was attended by 748 viewers from various organizations. The Community Network Centre of UiTM hopes to continue organizing more meaningful webinars as we steer towards building an educated and empowered resilient society.