Participants of WUACD in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru Source: WUACD

AGE News – As the spirit of sustainable development grows, programs and activities supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also get higher attention. In order to maintain sustainable participation, Universitas Airlangga through World University Association of Community Development (WUACD) held a series of community development abroad, collaborating with several foreign universities in Southeast Asia. This initiative is known to deepen engagement between universities and international communities, creating avenues for future international collaborations.

On April 29th until May 4th 2024, WUACD conducted a community development program in partnership with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Johor Bahru. This collaborative initiative involved UTM and other partner universities. Furthermore, the collaboration extended beyond these institutions, including participation from Universitas Brawijaya and Universitas Negeri Malang with the Consulate General of the Republic Indonesia (KJRI) in Johor Bahru was actively collaborating. It aimed to promote inclusive development and tackle educational challenges faced by children of Indonesian migrant workers. The program focused on providing quality education as outlined in SDGs 4 and emphasized the importance of cultural exchanges, aligning with SDGs 17.

The program took place at multiple locations. As a university partner, Universitas Airlangga, in collaboration with UTM, hosted events at several sites including Tuanku Canselor College and Datin Sri Endon College at UTM. In addition, they visited the Consulate General in Johor Bahru to hold educational workshops and panel discussion, focusing on enhancing digital literacy, legal protection, and providing assistance for Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI) in Malaysia, particularly in the State of Johor. The program also included a visit to Kampung Sungai Melayu to explore its eco-tourism initiatives where the participants learned about the community’s history and activities.

The program was designed to strengthen international university partnerships by encouraging collaborative exchanges and the sharing of expertise to develop comprehensive solutions for sustainable community development. Additionally, the program sought to apply research findings directly to the communities affected. During the program, WUACD and other partner universities engaged in a joint discussion at the KJRI which centered on improving educational opportunities for PMI’s children and explored how academic perspectives can offer solutions to existing challenges. This included proposals to enhance coordination between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with WUACD, highlighting the significant role of students in these initiatives.

Participating in the WUACD program at UTM was an eye-opening experience for the students. It taught them that learning extends beyond classroom theory to direct engagement with real-world issues. This experience brought them to meet and observe firsthand the conditions of both legal and illegal migrant workers in the area. As a remark, collaboration among various entities is essential, including strategic partnership between government and academic institutions. Programs like the one with WUACD, which deploy students and experts to educate and gradually improve understanding according to the needs and conditions of the migrant life, exemplify this approach.

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Author: Dewi Rachmawati – Faculty of Social and Political Sciences – GLUCONS Participant

Editor: Diffa Shalavy – Digital Engagement Staff