By Juan Margrita, 2016 Fellow
99 students from 12 schools all over Pasir Gudang came head-to-head at Project Kickstart last November, to pitch solutions that they hope will make a difference in their schools.
Themed ‘Kickstarting a new tomorrow’, Project Kickstart is a new initiative organised by Teach For Malaysia’s 2016 Fellows in collaboration with the District Education Office (Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah or PPD) of Pasir Gudang, and sponsored by Accenture. Hosted by Universiti Teknologi MARA Johor, the 4-day camp aimed to develop and empower students to be leaders, as well as encourage them to take an active role as agents of change in their schools, society and our nation.
Students got the chance to learn various skills like writing proposals, pitching, designing presentations, and working as a team to find solutions to the challenges they face. The top 10 teams that pitched the best solutions won funding to kickstart their projects!
Here’s how they did it:
1. Identify a problem they wish to address in their school
2. Analyse the root cause of the problem
3. Brainstorm ideas and solutions
4. Write proposal (committee, budget, timeline, content of solution)
5. Practise pitching
6. Peer review session
7. Submit proposal, and practise, practise, practise
8. Pitch idea to judges at the final stage!
20 teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges from Astro, Sunway, FOLO Farms, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, PPD Pasir Gudang, and a school principal. A total cash prize of RM10,000 was up for grabs – as you can guess, the competition was intense!
Presenting – the top 3 teams and their ideas!
1st place: Green Leaves
Mentor: Aitidal Shariha, 2016 Fellow at Teach For Malaysia
Idea: An organic farm in school that gives back!
Proceeds from the sale of the produce will be used to subsidise meals in the school canteen for underprivileged students.
[Progress update] The team has gone on a trip to FOLO Farms in Johor Bahru to learn how to start their own organic farm, and will be partnering with FOLO to set up their farm in school.
2nd place: Brain Food
Mentor: Sophie Chin, Intern at Teach For Malaysia
Idea: An inclusive school library revival project!
Get the community together to help paint or upcycle old bookshelves, or build new ones together. Plus, add content or books to the library created by student themselves – through a story writing competition.
3rd place: B.L.I.S.S Project
Mentor: Wardatulnadhirah Zainal Abidin, 2016 Fellow at Teach For Malaysia
Idea: A year-long leadership development programme for students!
Organise workshops to teach students how to run school events and activities, and teach them how to be proactive and raise funds on their own. At the end of the year, they’ll have a school holiday camp run completely by the students themselves.
The judges were so impressed by the students, they decided to chip in (with their own money!) to help fund initiatives pitched by the other teams – collecting a total additional amount of RM1200!
Aside from helping students learn how to pitch like a boss, Project Kickstart also helped prepare students for life – through sessions like ‘Know Thyself’, ‘Amazing Race’ and the ‘Circle of Life’.
The best part was definitely celebrating personal successes shared by the students themselves.
“I learned that I am a joyful person and I don’t stay sad for a long time.” – Amirul
“My presentation skills improved after I attended this camp.” – Lakshhvin
We hope this initiative will not only kickstart transformation in their schools, but in the lives of the students too.
Photos by E. Shankara Kumaran, 2016 Fellow & Chan Soon Seng, Head of Regions at Teach For Malaysia