Poverty and hunger are two major global concerns and United Nations in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Goal 1 and 2 outlined that by 2030, extreme poverty should be eradicated globally. In accordance with this aspiration, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysia joined forces with Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) in a pro-active initiative in trying to elevate the quality of life of the communities by creating an opportunity for the local people in Dusun Sine, Desa Kalibatur, Kecamatan Kalidawir, Tulungagung, a quiet seaside village which is situated approximately 200 km from Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya, Indonesia.
The program, which was held from 21st January 2020 until 27th January 2020 involved both undergraduate and postgraduate students comprising 29 Universitas Airlangga students and 7 international students. This collaborative project was fully supported by the academic team from Malaysia to strengthen the collegiality between Indonesian and Malaysian academia. The academic team from Malaysia was represented by Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Norhaslinda Kamaruddin from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Dr. Shangeetha Ganesan from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Dr. Siti Rabiatull Aisha Idris from Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP).
The main objective of this international community service project is to empower the local people through entrepreneurship and tourism. Most of the local people work as fishermen and their source of income basically relies on the ocean. If the weather is not favorable, especially during the monsoon season, their source of income may be affected. Hence, it is crucial to identify an alternative to ensure that their income is not compromised to ensure that a certain quality of life of the community is achieved.
The iCSR team coordinated a Sine Festival 2020 to promote the beauty of Pantai Sine. Pantai Sine is reputed to boast a scenic view of the sunrise as the beach is facing the east of the Indian Ocean. The beach stretches as a bay and is protected from high waves which makes it suitable for an evening stroll with family and friends, surrounded by small local stalls selling the scrumptious local delicacies like cumi bakar (grilled octopus), fresh coconut drink and bakso (vermicelli with chicken broth). During the Sine Festival 2020, the locals and the iCSR participants were entertained by the local talent in the Sine Talent competition. All the hard work and effort of the participants and the community paid off as some of the stalls managed to get a net profit up to IDR 2.5 million (USD 170).
Participants also conducted a teaching and learning session with the local kids and shared their experiences as a university student and motivating the children on the importance of education. For the head of the family, who are mostly fishermen, a short course on alternative energy using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as opposed to diesel for fishing was also conducted and handled by experts from the Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas, PT. Pertamina. This was to promote a sustainable and green technology option for deep-sea fishermen. The participants were also given a task to create a promotional video of Sine Beach as one of the tourism promotional items. Teamwork, creativity, and technical skills of creating a video were some of the soft skills gained. Moreover, a lot of lessons were learned especially in appreciating the variety of culture and beliefs that might be different from the one that the participants hold on to. This program tried to expose the participants to the reality of life so as to see the world from the perspective of the locals and how to be grateful for the blessings gained in this life.
This program received strong support from the PT. Pertamina and local community companies such as Pesona Kita Kota Tulungagung, Jelajah Tulungagung, Pesona Indonesia, Kita Tulungagung, GenPITulungagung, GuyubRukun Fishing Community Tulungagung and Tulungagung Tourism Office. The involvement of all sponsors in the event shows evidence of a strong partnership between the industry, academia and community.
The next theme for the iCSR will look into the SDG goal 6, namely clean water and sanitation to raise awareness on the importance of being hygienic. It is envisaged that the international linkages between UNAIR, UiTM, USM, and UMP as well as the industry partners on such a program will be continued to strengthen the link between academia-community and industry towards improving the quality of life.
Prepared by: Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Norhaslinda Kamaruddin
Edited by: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Geetha Subramaniam, Fellow, InQKA, UiTM