Social welfare body to help NGOs build capacity, nurture sustainability

Fatimah (seated at the head of the table) in a discussion with the SWCS exco members. She is flanked by Ng and Chan (right).

By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, June 20: Social Welfare Council of Sarawak (SWCS) has been tasked to help non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in capacity building to strengthen their roles and services, while creating sustainability.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said there are many cases of local NGOs in Sarawak that went inactive and dormant, while some had ceased to operate due to various issues including finances and administration.

Her ministry is looking to help SWCS rejuvenate its role towards empowering NGOs so that these organisations will be effective and sustainable in carrying out advocacy works.

“We can’t deny that NGOs play an important role towards helping their target group and the society at large, as well as complementing what the government is doing.

“However, many of them, who are non-profit, often faced problems in finance, public support and cooperation, as well as leadership and administration, until they lost focus on their roles.

“SWCS can support NGOs by providing training and skills enhancement to improve their key responsibility, service delivery and management at all levels to be sustainable,” Fatimah said after receiving a courtesy call from new SWCS exco members at Baitulmakmur Complex here today.

The group was led by its president Major Francis Ng, who is also The Salvation Army Kuching Corps commanding officer and team leader.

SWCS, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, is currently an umbrella body representing no less than 40 NGOs throughout the state.

Fatimah expressed hoped that the welfare council would be able to rebrand itself to meet the changing needs of society today amid technology advancement and globalisation.

“Many NGOs sought help and guidance from my ministry and this is where SWCS can come in to play a more effective role to help these societies and organisations.

“At the same time, we are looking to establish a close working relationship with SWCS towards empowerment of NGOs, which is the main concern,” she continued.

Fatimah said the number of societies that have registered with her ministry or made their existence known were categorised under the welfare oriented, and the women, children and family oriented NGOs.

At the meeting, SWCS also briefed the minister on its proposed programmes, while introducing the new exco line-up.

SWCS vice-president Dunstan Chan, said the council is looking to organise a mini-conference as part of its capacity building awareness for NGOs. While the venue and exact date has yet to be discussed, the council is looking to hold the event between July or August this year.

“We are inviting all affiliate and non-affiliated organisations to attend this conference, as well as members of the public. We will also use this opportunity as a recruitment drive for NGOs to join our conglomerate.

“The main objective is to create awareness for the societies and let the public know of their roles and services,” he said.

Chan, who is also the Sarawak Thalassaemia Society fundraising chairman, said the mini conference will also feature talks from Inland Revenue Board officers on tax exemptions that NGOs can apply for or submit. — DayakDaily