KUCHING, Nov 25: Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF) – Malaysia’s Community Engagement and Education Senior Officer, Alicia Ng has been awarded the 2019 Professional Fellows Program Alumni Impact Award (AIA) by The U.S. Department of State.
Ng, who is based in Kuching Office, Sarawak, is the first Malaysian to receive the award and it was presented by the Deputy Assistant State Secretary for Professional and Cultural Exchanges at U.S. Department of State Susan Crystal on Nov 22, at the last day of the three-day Fall 2019 Professional Congress held in Washington D.C.
The AIA recognises exceptional contributions made by Professional Fellows Programme (PFP) alumni to their communities where Ng is an alumna of Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) PFP for Economic Empowerment cohort under American Councils for International Education.
In spring 2017, she completed her fellowship in Arkansas for four weeks, focusing on organic and sustainable agriculture and conservation activities which are related to her work in WWF-Malaysia.
“When I applied for the programme, I wanted to look into methods used in organic farming as the American organic certification is recognised by many countries,” she said in a statement today.
Her interest was in rice since one of the projects that she is actively involved in WWF-Malaysia is sustainable rice farming in Ba’ Kelalan and thus, she was placed in Arkansas which is known as the rice country of America.
Ng said that Arkansas definitely the most suitable place for her but unfortunately organic rice farmers are planting on thousands of hectares and not suitable for small scale farmers in Ba’ Kelalan.
“However, the new knowledge on vegetable farming has truly opened-up a whole new opportunity which I could apply professionally and personally.
“Planting chemical-free vegetables has been much easier for me at my backyard and it helps me at work too because WWF-Malaysia works with more indigenous communities in Sarawak now, and all are looking into sustainable and organic vegetable and pepper cultivation,” she added.
WWF-Malaysia’s sustainable rice farming has seen success stories since July 2017. That year, the organisation took on a new direction to extend the Department of Agriculture (DoA) Sarawak’s efforts in System of Rice Intensification (SRI) farming method, where SRI is proven to increase yields, reduce the usage of water and is chemical free.
As the next step, Ng revealed that more than 10 farmers from Long Langai have submitted their MyOrganic applications and are currently going through audit and assessment by DoA.
Outside of work, Ng has also been a volunteer for many years, with a local animal rescue organisation, Save Our Strays Kuching (SOS).
Her love for animals has seen her dedicating efforts with her close friends to rescue strays from the streets and putting them in temporary shelter under the Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Rescue (TNVR) programme.
Ng and her animal lover friends also started the “Artinsia for Paws” to raise funds for SOS Kuching by selling handmade products made by women throughout Sarawak. — DayakDaily