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Keeping our heritage via voices of youths
Published on: Sunday, April 19, 2020
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Keeping our heritage via voices of youths
A Rungus elder weaving dried rattan called ‘lias’ to make ‘saging’.
Kota Kinabalu: Some 34 students of SMK Abdul Rahim, Kudat, benefitted from the 2019 Coastal Community Festival.

The one-month long festival co-organised by Universiti Malaya (UM) and SMK Abdul Rahim was held in the school, with the closing ceremony being held on Sept 6, 2019.

UM Partnership Grant Co-principal Investigator Dr Goh Hong Ching, said the programme was held as part of the community engagement initiative through UM Partnership Project and was also supported by the Blue Communities Malaysia Programme.

 “Two competitions were held during the festival – Photovoice and AirBnB Experience,” she said in a statement.

“The festival aimed to engage students with coastal communities and raise their awareness of Tun Mustapha Park Area (TMP). “The programme provided students with insights on the relationships between marine ecosystems and human well-being. “It also helped children via hands-on activities to develop a sense of identity with the environment which can lead to pro-environmental behaviour, besides learning various soft skills such as team building, presentation and communication skills.” Photovoice, she said, is a visual methodology where people identify, represent and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique. “The competition provided opportunities for the students to capture their coastal community traditions and strengths through photography. “Challenges and issues faced by their community were also discussed by the students based on the photographs through group discussions,” she said.

 As for the AirBnB Experience, she said, students worked in teams to produce a short video promoting interesting places and unique experiences available around Kudat. “Inspired by the online marketplace AirBnB Experiences, the competition also identified the needs to protect the marine ecosystem for tourism and economic development.”

Winners for both competitions were announced during the closing ceremony and they awarded with gift prizes, KFC vouchers and certificates from UM Partnership Project and Blue Communities MY Programme. Top 23 photographs from the Photovoice and top 3 videos from the AirBnB Experience competitions were showcased during the closing event and witnessed by representatives from Blue Communities MY Program, Sabah Tourism Board (STB), Sabah Parks, WWF-Malaysia, teachers and students of SMK Abdul Rahim.

Goh said, the event was an eye-opener for all of the attendees as participants managed to introduce and showcase a few interesting places and cultures that were not publicly known before. “It is believed that this programme is the first of its kind related to marine protected areas in Malaysia that empower the youth to be the advocate of their community through photography and videography. “There were also discussions between stakeholders to replicate the programme in other schools in Tun Mustapha Marine Park,” she said.

The Photovoice competition was won by Jelcy Joseph who presented a photo of the process of making a ‘saging’, a traditional Rungus handicraft.

In second place was Elveyan Elvyn Jr while Mohammed Shahidin grabbed the third spot.

Blue Communities is a four-year programme financially supported by the United Kingdom Research and Innovations Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI GCRF).

GCRF is a £1.5 billion (RM8.17 billion) fund by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.


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