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SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR ROLES IN RESPOND TO “GLOBAL GOVERNANCE IN DIGITAL AGE”

By: Sharifah Norizah Syed Ahamad Kabeer

Co-Founder of Asian Youth Network, Committee of International Affair and SDG, Malaysian Youth Council (MBM)

(A presentation by Sharifah Norizah in Friends for Leadership (FFL) Online Meetup, co-hosted by Roscongress, which also featured high-level speaker of United Nations, Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, UN Under Secretary General, Special Adviser on Preparation for #UN75 and Digital Cooperation on last 23 April 2020)

1. Engagement

Young professionals and social entrepreneurs are important stakeholders in global governance, especially in the digital age. With the “new normal “, young professionals often serve as bridges between companies /organizations to strengthen virtual engagement with local/ national/ regional/ and even international communities. Now is the time, more than ever, when young professionals’ expertise can explore innovation, with the support of their senior professional peers – let’s invent and re-invent something new, together, with technology at our fingertips. 

Realizing symbiosis and ecosystems, we need each other to get to THE FUTURE WE WANT. We need to realize that as individuals, we cannot possibly be good at everything. This is where social entrepreneurs in particular come in. We can make the best use of digitalization, by helping build local economies with low and middle income groups, to especially bridge the urban-rural divide.  For example: Grab Apps, Foodpanda, Delivery apps, have already been create jobs for the informal sector.

But where else does innovation come in here? Whilst in the midst of a pandemic, Malaysians have utilized local people’s energies, and technology, to provide PPEs for frontliners. Previously, very few people knew how to produce such equipments, but through online knowledge sharing between social entrepreneurs, and the support of  young tech-versed professionals, we were able to massively produce our own PPEs and now, even locally-produced testing kits that can monitor result of Covid-19 in a shorter time. 

2. Accessibility

Young professionals and young social entrepreneurs need to collaborate more closely, in order to reduce the gaps in equality at many levels. 

For example, in Malaysia, many educators have struggled to update themselves with the Digital Environment. They need to conduct classes using Google Classroom – in fact, Malaysia is ranked as the 4th largest user of Google Classroom. 

But what about vulnerable groups in remote areas who do not have accessibility to digital technology and internet? Social entrepreneurs need to get thinking at innovating platforms that can help reach them. In Malaysia, we used to have an EducationTV channel, which I think needs to be brought back, as mass media once again becomes very relevant during crises to ensure that nobody is truly left behind. 

3. Diversity and Inclusivity

In the global space, we always like to talk about “no one and no place should be left behind.” 

This comes with the recognition of the existence of refugees in our peripheries. Especially in the ASEAN region, we share many borders with each other and many people migrate for work, or maybe even illegally work if they are state-less. 

Another question for social entrepreneurs is: During crisis such as this, how can businesses come together to work with and for the most fragile?

I personally believe that humanity must always win. We cannot choose who we want to help, nor who we want to employ. We cannot ignore peoples – across ethnicities, genders, classes, even religions, for one reason or another. 

In the end, it all starts with capacity building. This is exactly why technology transfer and knowledge transfer are crucial to create a good ecosystem for partnership – between private and public sector, urban and rural, across all identities. International Youth Centre Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Asian Youth Network, support the Friends for Leadership campaign toward this. We hope that the United Nations can support this important nexus – of social entrepreneurship – business for doing good…. which began and persists with us, the young professionals. Beyond the digital age, good and sustainable global governance always goes back to the basics, of leaving nobody behind.

Date : 19th May 2020

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