UiTM and MERCY Malaysia Collaborate to Champion Humanitarian Education

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Universiti Teknologi MARA(UiTM), the largest public institution in Malaysia and MERCY Malaysia, an international non-profit organization dedicated to humanitarian aid, introduced the Continuous Humanitarian Education and Leadership Webinar Series 2020(CHE) in June this year.

The aim of the online series is to educate and empower faculty members, university students, humanitarian professionals, and civil society members on various issues in humanitarian aid, disaster risk management, and humanitarian leadership.

“UiTM believes in establishing meaningful partnerships with industry partners and NGOs and we are committed to advocate and assist the nation towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)’ said Professor Dato’ Dr Rahmat Mohamad, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Industry, Community and Alumni Network (ICAN).

The webinar series was moderated by Associate Professor Hajjah Norshiha Saidin, the Head of Community Networking, ICAN. The webinar on 17 July 2020 focuses on the topic of Delivering sustainable WASH programs.  WASH or Water, Sanitation and Hygiene is an important cluster in the coordination of humanitarian response apart from health, food, logistics, shelter, protection and communication. For 2.2 billion people living on this planet, getting clean water and fulfilling their basic needs is a daily struggle. 297,000 children under the age of five die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water (UNICEF 2019).

In this webinar two experts with extensive experience in WASH shared their experiences of reaching out, one community at a time to marginalized communities in the remote areas of Malaysia and Asia. The speakers were TS Dr Dzulkarnaen Ismail, a senior lecturer at the Department of Building, UITM, Perak, and IR Mohamad Hanafi Ramli, one of the Executive Council Member of MERCY Malaysia.

In 2013, UiTM embarked on a two-year Humanitarian Mission to Cambodia. Through the ICAN office, UiTM students raised funds and via knowledge transfer built 44 wells in Kampung Ampel, Kampung Thom, and Phomsoy. Dr Dzulkarnaen shared this experience as well as WASH projects during post-typhoon Haiyan, Philippines.

IR Mohamad Hanafi detailed MERCY Malaysia WASH Projects in various districts in Kelantan when the state was hit by massive floods in December 2014. Kuala Krai, (where north Malaysia) was one of the areas that were hardest hit, and flash floods displaced 3390 people. MERCY Post Flood WASH programs included building wells, providing a sustainable source of clean water, and building toilets.

The webinars are accessible to everyone and were broadcast to all 35 UiTM state campuses. The recorded version is available through ICAN as well as MERCY Malaysia Facebook https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=213680669870852&extid=Ytfy0MmFetq5WG6a and website.

This online professional training is scheduled on Friday afternoon for two hours and participants are awarded training hours. Other benefits from the program which is ongoing till the end of December include the continuous process of self-awareness and leadership, talent and potential development, building human capital and facilitating capacity building and enhancement. “ICAN hopes that these interactions will create a multidisciplinary and international platform for experts and advocates to collaborate, leading to practical humanitarian solutions and policy,” said Norshiha.