Desa Mentari – A Model Caring Community (Komuniti Prihatin)
Desa Mentari is our first replication project.
Desa Mentari was chosen as a desirable site as these 11 blocks of flats have a notorious reputation of crime, drugs, gangsterism and social ills. Many NGOs have also attempted to serve in this area but normally it is for a short-term intervention. We are in for the long term to transform and empower the community that before six years it is self-sustaining like PPR Kota Damansara.
Our objective is to come into Desa Mentari to transform it to become a Caring Community that is “Safe, Harmonious & Liveable”. Liveable is our common word for Sustainable, and it encompass all the 17 SDG goals.
ENTERING INTO THE COMMUNITY
Our first event was held in Block 5 with our strategic partner Deloitte on 25 August 2017. It is a gotong royong to clean up the place as well as to white wash the ground floor so that it will appear clean and well kept. We collected RM10 from every household and painted beautiful murals using their own initiative on every floor.
This event is sustainable as even after 3 years, the murals are not defaced and there is an absence of graffiti. DBKL invited us to do a similar project in Sri Pantai. Approaching our Partners Nippon Paint, and with the cooperation of DBKL members, Sri Pantai became another icon for beautiful murals in B40 flats.
Seeing the progress in Block 5, eventually Block 4 and 6 wanted to be included and seek our assistance to enhance their living conditions. Through our partnership with the MP office and we managed to get ICI grants for them to brighten up their back lanes with spotlights. Block 4, 5 & 6 started as our core community blocks to develop.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the project KOMUNITI PRIHATIN distribute food aid and provide helps to residents from Block 1, 2, 6 & 7. During MCO lockdown we facilitated the distribution of over RM600,000 worth of food aid. After MCO, we started the soup kitchen, prepare 200 sets of hot meals and distributed to the families in need. Foods are prepared by community volunteers.
Soup Kitchen renovated and ready to use for charity purpose as well as food catering social enterprise that provide economic empowerment to women living in Desa Mentari. Total of 8 residents graduated from the course and we will send them to entrepreneurship.
We started face to face tuition classes for the children in Desa Mentari. It is held in Block 4 and is open for all children staying in the vicinity. Classes are conducted by Deloitte staff. In our cooperation with deloitte we managed to move them from adhoc CSR to strategic CSR. Now they have implemented gotong royong monthly instead of once a year.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, Deloitte donated 50 Lenovo Tabs to Desa Mentari as well as to PPR Sri Pantai to launched the online training course. We installed and share free Wifi to those children without internet data. Around 150 children benefit from this service.
We see that building a Sustainable City or Community is really a Multi-Dimensional issue. Like a diamond there are many perspectives to one issue.
This project aims at SDG 11-Sustainable Communities and Cities and yet it demonstrate the ability to harmonise all the other 16 goals.
It is prominent that we chose a B40 community to work on. The overall theme of SDG is “Leave no one behind”. In the quest to build a better city we need to address the marginalised community and to achieve SDG1-No Poverty. Only then can we have a Safe, Harmonious and Liveable City. You cannot have one section of a city enjoying life while another part of the same city is inhabited in abject poverty.
The details that we unravel on the ground is fed up to the top for better policy making
WHAT IMPACT HAS THIS PROJECT CREATED IN THE COMMUNITY/ NATION?
This project has emphasised on integration and synergy. It approaches multiple issues and yet harmonise it into an actionable plan that builds on past success. It deals with opposing forces in a community and yet seek harmony in a middle ground. It builds on values as a sustainable building block for a resilient and harmonious community.
The success has helped us to replicate to 4 sites within 3 years (after learning for 10 years in one site).
We were invited to share our thoughts in many major conferences. Most recent being the Malaysian Urban Forum where we had speaking slots for 3 consecutive days.
It is a platform that also attracts and bring in NGOs, Corporates and Government agencies to work together seamlessly.
HOW WAS THIS PROJECT HELP TO ADVANCE THE CHOSEN SDG?
The Chosen goal is SDG11-Sustainable City. As part of the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Grouping for SDG). Our work will be reported to parliament. It is hoped that many structural problems on the ground is make known to law makers who will rectify the weaknesses. This in turn will propel the city to be a true SDG11 – Sustainable City.
THE TAGLINE FOR UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (UNSDGs) IS “LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND.” PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW YOUR PROJECT HELPS TO REALIZE THE COMMITMENT OF UNSDGS FOR THE FUTURE. HIGHLIGHT ANY OTHER SDG(s) THAT YOUR PROJECT HAS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY CREATED POSITIVE IMPACT TO PEOPLE AND SOCIETY
While pursuing SDG 11 the other highly relevant goals are:
- SDG1 – No Poverty, this addresses 40% of the population. Ensuring that they are nor left behind
- SDG16 – Peace and strong institution pushes us to advocate for fairer administration in the Local Councils. We do a lot of advocacy work. In particular we have been working on participatory budgeting for 10 years. The City Council is slowly learning. We need freedom of information and open data
- SDG17 – Partnership is easy to say but difficult to realise. Partnership that works seamlessly and synergistically, this is the greatest impacts. Some NO coalitions that we belong to are beginning to restructure themselves to become more impactful