As the world grows more connected digitally, more sectors are opening up to the idea of using technology to consolidate fragmented information.
Some examples are the early e-commerce marketplaces that connect merchants with customers, BloodGo that matches blood donors to blood banks, and Muru-ku that consolidates data in the startup ecosystem for stakeholders.
Simply put, its goal is to be a one-stop platform for Malaysians to register as volunteers and match them with the needs of NGOs, corporations, and any other events around the nation.
But as volunteering has been an age-old practice, this begs the question of, why launch an app only now?
A growing act of kindness
In March, MRCS and the Ministry of Youth and Sports launched the Malaysia Vaccine Support Volunteers initiative (MyVAC) in collaboration with several other ministries.
This initiative was started to gather Malaysians to help bring COVID-19 under control, and MRCS reported that it had garnered over 320K volunteers to support the vaccination drive.
Thus, the organisation felt it was timely for MySukarela’s launch to leverage this growing volunteering trend not just during, but beyond the pandemic.
Haji Hakim bin Hj. Hamzah, Secretary General of MRCS told Vulcan Post, “The demand for volunteers has always been high and we thought that there could be no better way than to create this MySukarela platform for both volunteers and organisations.”
“The creation of the platform is part of MRCS’s ongoing efforts to continue the steady pace of volunteerism amongst Malaysians.”
How it works
Signing up was relatively straightforward, and once I was in, I could immediately browse the available volunteering events around me.
As I already shared all necessary data upon registering too, this meant I didn’t have to input my data once again for every event I wish to volunteer at. Once I had selected my preferred dates based on the event’s duration, I could simply click “confirm” and have my data shared with the organisers.
If you’re an active volunteer, I can certainly see how this app optimises the volunteer-event organiser communication.
At the same time, each event listing clearly displays what the event intends to do, who the organiser is, the event address, and the volunteering details such as the slots available, number of volunteers required, what incentives there are, and the hours required per day.
Do note that some events will require professionals like doctors as volunteers, and for more specialised tasks, the incentives will be disclosed upon confirmation of your application.
Furthermore, the app can filter events based on your location, but as it has just launched, there are only about 11 events I can browse, and they’re all within the Klang Valley.
All current existing events are also organised by MRCS itself, but Haji Hakim clarified that MySukarela will be working with more organisations for a variety of initiatives.
Some names include the Malaysian Humanitarian Coordination & Action Hub (MATCH) Foundation, Yayasan Hasanah, Jabatan Kebajikan Malaysia, and NGOs like Mercy Malaysia, IMARET, MRA, and more.
Supporting volunteers & organisers
As mentioned earlier, not every event will be requesting general volunteers; some may need more specialised individuals.
To that end, MRCS has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with AirAsia Academy to provide volunteers with access to training and competency development prior to their deployment in any humanitarian mission. This may include upskilling and reskilling volunteers and organisers for their events.
It’s a good value-added feature for the app, which is still in a rather rudimentary stage of development itself. Despite that, it’s able to run smoothly and has a clean UI.
In time, users can hopefully browse more event listings not just within Klang Valley. Once MySukarela has gained more traction amongst users and event organisers too, it would be good to see more filtering options such as a volunteer’s required skill level, events from a specific organisation, and more.
Nonetheless, it’s already a great start to encouraging more volunteerism in Malaysia by making communication easier and faster.
If MyVAC was able to round up 320K volunteers without such an app, we should be seeing a jump in this number for larger, nationwide initiatives in the future with the help of MySukarela.
Featured Image Credit: Malaysian Red Crescent Society