Article Link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/03/23/three-entrepreneurs-bestowed-asean-impact-awards.html
WORDS SUDIBYO M. WIRADJI
Three social entrepreneurs were conferred the inaugural ASEAN Social Impact Awards on Wednesday in recognition of their innovations and impact on the community.
Indonesia’s Tri Mumpuni, founder of the People Centered Business and Economic Institute (IBEKA), won first place and was awarded a cash prize of S$50,000. The runners-up were the Philippines’ Cherrie Atilano, founder of AGRA Agricultural Systems International, Inc., and Thailand’s Somsak Boonkam, founder of Local Alike. They were awarded with a cash prize of S$25,000 each. The prizes were given to help them scale up their work.
The awards were initiated by the Department of Social Work at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in partnership with the Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund, the Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC), a membership-based charity headquartered in Singapore, and Ashoka: Innovators for the Public.
The awards were presented in a ceremony in Singapore on Wednesday, which also featured the inauguration of the ASEAN Philanthropy Dialogue and the launch of a 110-page catalogue titled ASEAN Impact 25: Impactful Philanthropists of ASEAN.
Attending the event were ministers and senior officials in charge of social welfare from ASEAN countries and philanthropists from the region, including Indonesia’s Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani, Singapore’s Minister of Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, APC founder and chair Stanley Tan, Malaysian philanthropist Datin Kathleen and Indonesian philanthropist Victor Hartono.
In regard to the awards, the judges explained that candidates were required to fulfill three criteria: benefit disadvantaged communities in the ASEAN region; achieve a demonstrable scale of impact, and operate for at least three years.
Tri Mumpuni won an award for her efforts in providing access to electricity, as well as training villages to run the plants independently.
Runner-up Cherrie was recognized for her role in increasing farmers’ access to finance, technology and information on the best farming practices for the purposes of fair trade, as well as for her work with farmers on sustainable farming methods to protect the environment and farmers’ future livelihoods.
Somsak Boonkam, also a runner-up, was recognized for his work with local communities to build their capacity for community-based tourism, thereby using it as a form of development tool to solve local issues, preserve local culture and generate additional income for local communities.
The three inaugural ASEAN Social Impact Awards recipients have demonstrated the creativity and resilience of the human spirit in devising ground-up, sustainable and impactful solutions to pressing social issues faced by their communities, according to S. Vasoo, an associate professorial fellow with the Department of Social Work at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and chairman of the Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund Committee.
“They truly embody the selfless spirit of the late Dr. Ee Peng Liang and his commitment to advancing human development in communities in need,” Vasoo said.
“It is important that we commend and help scale up the vital work of these individuals to ensure their long-term viability, in addition to broadening and deepening their systematic impact for disadvantaged communities in the ASEAN region.”
Meanwhile, ASEAN Social Impact Awards committee chair Stanley Tan noted, “Often social entrepreneurs are not viable to the strategic enablers, which are governments and philanthropists.”
He expressed hope that the awards in time would create awareness and be a bridge to providing resources.
“They are key agents of social change. We would like to extend an open invitation for sponsorship to support the next round of awards, which will continue to strive toward creating a lasting impact for communities all over the ASEAN region,” he said.
Ashoka Malaysia and Singapore country director Sumitra Pasupathy said, “Individually, social entrepreneurs realign incentives to help society shift mindsets, create new models to show what is possible, architect new fields to change the status quo and build systems that encourage participation and leadership by all,” he said.
The individuals were chosen from nearly 160 applications received. The submissions covered a diverse range of topics, such as economic development, children and youth, environment, agriculture, community development and human rights.
A panel of judges from NUS, APC and Ashoka selected the final 30. A group of 30 judges representing different sectors selected the final 12. The ASEAN Social Impact Awards reviewed all finalists and organized field visits to view the projects of the six finalists to select the winner and runners-up of the inaugural awards.
APC cofounder and CEO Laurence Lien said the event was established in May 2017 to recognize individuals with a strong drive and vision to resolve social issues and create a positive impact in their respective communities in ASEAN countries.
The awards were inspired by the selfless drive of Singapore’s Father of Charity, the late Dr. Ee Peng Liang, in uplifting communities in need and supporting causes that make a lasting change. “The award’s long term objective is to build an ecosystem of social change makers who work together to transform society and design new ways for communities to be more entrepreneurial, productive and connected,” Laurence told ASEAN journalists at a press briefing at the ASEAN Philanthropy Dialogue on Wednesday.
The ASEAN Philanthropy Dialogue, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, was organized by the APC, and philanthropists, most of whom are members of the APC.
According to Laurence, the dialogue aimed to forge a greater understanding and alignment between the government sector and private philanthropy. “It reinforces the region’s commitment to public-philanthropy collaboration to address the increasingly complex social issues in the region,” he said.
The APC presented different models of partnership on public-philanthropic collaboration, which were outlined in The Green Paper on Effective Public-Philanthropic Collaboration.
The paper recommended short-term initiatives like creating similar participatory dialogue platforms and exploring opportunities to collaborate in specific areas of philanthropic interest, and long-term ones, like developing philanthropy-friendly tax and fiscal policies.
ASEAN continued to develop and needed to strive to be more inclusive, according to Stanley Tan, the chair of the dialogue.
“The problems facing the region are also getting more complex and all stakeholders are needed to work together to bring about the ASEAN dream,” he said.
“Today’s event was a good first step toward better collaborative engagement. I felt encouraged that the dialogue will lead to constructing a platform to serve the mutual interests of governments and philanthropists working together.”
A catalogue made available to journalists details the personal motivations and journeys of the 25 featured individuals who gave back to society across various sectors. The stories reveal that despite their differences in individual approaches, everyone genuinely wanted to make a difference to others and society.
Indonesian philanthropists listed in the catalogue include Djarum Badminton Club Foundation founder Victor Hartono; United in Diversity (UID) Foundation founder Cherie Nursalim; Mayapada Group and Tahir Foundation founder Dato Sri Tahir; A&A Rachmat Compassionate Service Foundation founder Theodore Permadi Rachmat; Tanoto Foundation trustee Belinda Tanoto; and Mien R. Uno Foundation founder Mien Uno.