UKM And Mercy Malaysia Renew Pact
By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Abd Ra’ai osman
BANGI, 26 April 2014 – The National University of Malaysia (UKM) and MERCY Malaysia have renewed their cooperation in carrying out emergency relief efforts and providing aid to man-made and natural disaster victims at home and abroad.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), organised by the Office of Industry and Community Partnerships Office was signed today by UKM’s Vice-Chancellor Profesor Dato’ Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali, and MERCY Malaysia President Dato’ Dr. Ahmad Faizal Perdaus, who is also an alumni of UKM.
Also present at the ceremony were Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry and Community Partnerships) Prof Dato’ Dr Saran Kaur Gill and the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Students and Alumni Affairs, Prof. Datin Noor Aziah Mohd Awal.
MERCY Malaysia is a non-profit organization focusing on providing medical relief, sustainable health related development and risk reduction activities for vulnerable communities in both crisis and non-crisis situations. They also carry out community-based risk management, also known as CBDRM, a process of disaster risk management in which threatened communities are actively engaged to reduce the vulnerabilities and enhance their capabilities.
As one of the first collaborations under the new MOU, UKM and MERCY Malaysia have launched the UKM-Mercy Malaysia Youth for Humanity programme, that will involve 80 to 100 UKM undergraduates. The programme is designed to not only develop the students’ basic skills and knowledge of volunteerism and humanitarian relief and recovery work, but to promote an understanding that anyone, from any sector, has the ability to contribute towards humanitarian efforts.
Prof Dato Saran Kaur in her welcoming remarks said the collaboration between UKM and MERCY Malaysia is aimed at enhancing research, education and service related to humanitarian relief, including instilling the spirit of volunteerism amongst undergraduates. She explained that participants of the UKM-Mercy Malaysia Youth for Humanity programme will undergo a series of experiential learning modules as part of their training to develop competencies and passion in humanitarian relief volunteerism.
According to UKM’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Datuk Dr. Noor Azlan Ghazali, the programme is designed to not only develop the students’ basic skills and knowledge of volunteerism and humanitarian relief and recovery work, but to promote an understanding that anyone, from any sector, has the ability to contribute towards humanitarian efforts.
“Our partnership with MERCY today shows of the University’s deep commitment towards inculcating qualities within our students that will take them far, no matter where they go in the future. While it remains to be important for them to excel in their studies, UKM goes further by planting the seeds of humanity within its students, which will in turn create graduates who not only excel in their industry, but does so with compassion and understanding of the problems which continue to plague communities across the region.”
Dato’ Dr Faizal said that UKM makes up almost half of Mercy Malaysia’s body of volunteers. He also added that some eight institutions have partnerships with the non-profit body.
“Our programmes are designed to encourage participation from the community and local government to identify, treat, monitor and evaluate the potential risks within their environment, thereby empowering them into implementation of solutions that they themselves developed,” he stressed.
He explained that in the previous MoU, the emphasis was on volunteerism, the impact of aid and social development. He expressed his hope that the present collaboration will emphasize more on research in this critical area, which is needed is for social development and innovation. One way to encourage and fund such research initiatives is through the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, which was initiated several years ago by former MERCY Malaysia President Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood.
Dato’ Dr Faizal also expressed appreciation for UKM’s contributions in providing support and volunteers for humanitarian relief services to threatened communities.
MERCY Malaysia has on-going projects in China, Maldives and Myanmar.