2018 year-end review: We couldn’t have done all this without you

It is easy to get lost in the everyday challenges of completing a task, that sometimes we forget to celebrate our successes. Today, we would like to recognise what the combined efforts of each and every one of the WISE family and our supporters has helped us achieved last year. Here are some highlights from 2018.

We expanded the core team with Rosa and Chivin joining in full-time and part-time positions. Rosa focuses on programs in eastern Indonesia while Chivin, the first Cambodian in the core team, manages activities in Cambodia. We also brought Nicholas on board to develop internal and external training. In addition, 26 new volunteers and interns became involved in 2018, bringing the WISE family to 123 members.

To help WISE become more efficient, we set up databases to keep track of volunteers, grants and donations, created standard operating procedures, such as for organising online sharing sessions, and utilised new tools like Zoom.

Our most visible achievement has been the launch of the pilot latrine construction subsidy scheme in Phnom Village, Cambodia, and we crowdfunded US$2,000 so that Tapon Drought Project partner Development Association Resource Economic (DARE, now CTOD [Community Training Organization for Development]) would not be forced to close and cease their activities. Behind the scenes, we also conducted a training needs analysis with partners Neakpoan Organization for Development (NOD) and CTOD, to identify ways we can help them improve their organisational capacity.

In Singapore, we started running public workshops on behaviour change that has been attended by over 50 people from a range of social causes.

And a milestone from GWASH (‘Gamify WASH’) was our first-ever conference and journal paper titled ‘A Review of the Applicability of Gamification and Game-based Learning to Improve Household-Level Waste Management Practices Among Schoolchildren’.

We successfully completed consulting assignments with Same Skies (pro-bono) and SNV Netherlands Development Organization in Indonesia, and received Future-ready Youth and Singapore-Asean Youth Fund grants from National Youth Council Singapore. Rosa was awarded an INSPIRASI grant for the ‘Story of the Land’ project to use traditional wisdom to inspire environmental action in Nagekeo, Indonesia, while Yoke’s team was awarded a YSEALI Summit grant for Outstraw, an online marketplace to sell plastic-alternative products.

Besides crowdfunding for DARE/CTOD (see above), we also crowdfunded for the Phnom Sanitation Project, including a campaign during Giving Week in Singapore which raised almost S$2,400 in ten days.

We launched our website, expanded the writing team enabling us to publish two articles a month, and started producing more videos such as on the CACB workshop and volunteer profiles. In the offline world, we were invited to talks at the Disaster Risk and Resilience – Climate Change group at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and with Soristic and mentored at the Singapore International Foundation (SIF)’s Young Social Entrepreneurs Workshop. Our first-ever booth was at the SMU Social iCon: We4! exhibition, and this was followed by the Young Sustainable Impact Southeast Asia’s Singapore Sustainability Showcase and Giving Week Singapore.

Expanding our partnerships, a memorandum of understanding was signed with FLUSH LLC to build public outreach classes around sanitation and hygiene.

We are so proud of Rosa for successfully completing the six-month INSPIRASI programme in Auckland, New Zealand, to practice English and learn about sustainable development. Our WISE family also participated in learning experiences like the UNHCR training ‘Foundations for an Effective Humanitarian Volunteer’ and the Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia site visit to Dusun Giriharja.

Behind these achievements are many failures such as unsuccessful grant applications and collaborative opportunities that did not pan out, as well as works-in-progress such as planning of projects and development of curricula. With perseverance, luck and your support, we will continue working towards universal and equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene in Southeast Asia.

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