By Arwa Khan and Najmi Mamat
GOMBAK, 24 November 2019: Despite a brief period of barely two months spent working on a draft proposal for a community engagement programme, 27 Communication internship students took pride when they finally did it.
Under direct supervision of their lecturer, Dr. Zeti Azreen Ahmad, who is also Head of the Department of Communication, the students had successfully carried out their project with villagers in Sungai Chinchin on Saturday (23 November).
The one-day digital marketing workshop which they named “Bengkel Usahawan Digital ber- Inovatif” (BUDI) took place at the Sungai Chinchin mosque, in the vicinity of Gombak, that saw the participation of 40 villagers, including youth.
The event, a collaborative effort of the university’s Department of Communication with the Centre for Islamic Economics (CIE), was aimed at educating and empowering the community’s B40 group with online business skills and ethics as well as digital marketing. It was an initiative by the Internship class designed specifically for community engagement.
“Throughout this year, Sungai Chinchin’s schedule has actually been so packed, however, due to the university’s Communication Department’s determination to come out with such a great initiative, we widely opened our doors to them,” its village head, Ahmad Sofian Abd Rani proudly said.
Noting that villagers had successfully cooperated with the Department on this initiative, Sofian added, “We are looking forward to year 2020 for further plan of this nature that hopefully would bring about similar objectives and participation.”
Helping small time business to move into entrepreneurship
Also present at the village was CIE’s research assistant, Badrul Amin, whose aim was to collect data on the community for consideration of their next year’s plan to conduct a micro-finance mentoring workshop.
Badrul Amin indicated that it was a good collaboration by both entities which would help in getting prospective participants for the CIE’s next cycle of micro-financing assistance programme, i-Taajir, designed to help small time business to move into entrepreneurship.
In the event, CIE had provided BUDI’s team with speakers who have sufficient knowledge in business and digital marketing to help deliver the workshop.
“BUDI can be held every year at different places, with different target groups, as the programme will be a good experience to benefit everyone,” Badrul added.
With the programme’s theme “Ezi Duit Online”, the participants had a good bonding with the community as the speakers shared their knowledge and information with the villagers.
Assistant Professor Dr. Norazizan Che Embi from the Department of Finance, who was present at the workshop, shared, “It’s good that BUDI had the intention to improve the standard of living of villagers.”
But she said, “It’s not only about giving knowledge, but through this programme we gathered that participants also willingly shared their experiences with us as some of them are already in business.”
“On the basis of my previous experience, participants are usually very cooperative, and they know what kind of business they want to get involved in,” she added.
Excellent initiative benefiting all
Meanwhile, the Deputy Dean of Student Development and Community Engagement, KIRKHS, Dr. Mohd Noh Abdul Jalil, who also attended the event said, “The community had earlier fed us with information on what they wanted and indicated their expectations from us, and BUDI is such an initiative derived from feedback given by the community itself.”
Dr. Mohd Noh admitted that the BUDI project was an excellent initiative to engage the local community by getting involvement of both the academic and non-academic staffs as well as the students.
Such engagement project, he felt, served as a good platform for students to learn from the surrounding, at same time, they gained exposure by putting into practice what they learnt in class, and this would enhance their soft skills.
“The involvement of students in such programme will help determine success of our model that we have developed under the University Community Engagement Programmes (UCE),” Dr. Mohd Nod further said.
Given the strength that IIUM possesses, Dr. Mohd. Noh hoped that such an engagement programme should continue as long as the university exists. ***
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