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Friday, December 1, 2023
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Supporting NGOs for a good cause

Danial Norjidi

The three pillars of Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam’s (BIBD) sustainability framework are environmental protection, responsible entrepreneurship and inclusive social impact. In line with this is BIBD’s Community for Brunei, a large scale digital platform launched in April 2020 which, in addition to providing a safe way for consumers to purchase from and support small businesses, also supports causes through community development and provides a platform for communities to pro- mote their organisations and projects in their bid to address social changes.

Two such organisations supported by Community for Brunei are Kilang Reroot and Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) Brunei.

Kilang Reroot, as founder Siti Jaafar ex- plained in an interview, is a project that tack- les food waste. “It was founded by myself and three other amazing girls – Hazirah, Syamilah and Aneeqah.”

“Our main focuses are economy, envi- ronment and people,” shared Siti. “We try to focus interchangeably with environment and our community. So the food waste that we are trying to tackle is basically turning surplus food or ‘ugly’ food into a product or raising the awareness about our consumption habits, as well as aiming towards a zero waste lifestyle.” “We try to tackle as many food waste- related topics as well as have our community get onboard and adopt a more low-impact lifestyle so we can have a greener environment for a sustainable future.”

“When we started Kilang Reroot, we thought about food waste that’s thrown into landfills. The waste itself is very daunting as well for just throwing away. You’re creating a lot of trash and a lot of the waste that has been thrown into landfills is food waste,” she said.

“The science backstory behind food waste is that it releases carbon emissions, so we, as a community-based project, try to minimise that in a way so that people can start with themselves.”

“If we raise the awareness on how to re- duce our bad habits with food, then we can definitely change how we affect the environ- ment,” she added.

Meanwhile, Country Hub Leader for SOA Brunei Shaima Misli explained that the organ- isation is a part of a global community that is collaborating to solve the greatest challenges facing the ocean.

Founder of ReRoot Factory, Siti Jaafar
Country Hub Leader of SOA Brunei, Shaima Misli

“Our mission is to restore the health of our ocean within our lifetime, and we hope to do that by creating this col- laboration between all different stakehold- ers, which include entrepreneurs, youths and professionals.”

“All of our actions are aimed towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, ‘life below water’. So we try to support as many people as we can that go for the SDG.”

Shaima explained that SOA Brunei in- tends to train a new batch of youth to be champions of the sea, and mentioned an upcoming programme of theirs called the Advocasea Camp, which is set to take place on February 28.

“It is supported by the US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam, which I’m grateful for, and it’s a programme where we bring youths aged 18-23 years old to learn about marine conservation, to learn about soft skills like project management, project, pitching and budget management.”

“Throughout the programme they will learn how to build a project, then they’re go- ing to pitch to us and we’re going to support them by providing a mini grant along with the US Embassy.”

Both Shaima and Siti were participants of the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI).

Shaima was a Brunei rep- resentative at the YSEALI Sea and Earth Advocates Camp in 2017, where she had her first snorkling experience, which sparked her passion in ocean conservation, while Siti took part as a Brunei representative in the YSEALI Seeds for the Future 2021 programme, through which Kilang Reroot began as a pas- sion project.

As Cultural Affairs and Alumni Coordinator at the US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Bilal Hasan explained in the same interview, YSEALI is a signature youth programme launched by the US government in 2013. “Through a variety of programmes and engagements, YSEALI is seeking to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, especially to strengthen ties between the US and Southeast Asia and to nurture the ASEAN community.”

With regards to BIBD’s support for Kilang Reroot, Siti said, “Hopefully BIBD can be a marketing partner as well as support us in terms of having that exposure across Brunei as well as other countries, since BIBD is a well- known bank. We hope to get the marketing and expand our network to get our message across the targeted customers as well as the community.”

For SOA Brunei, Shaima said, “BIBD has been quite helpful, because they promoted us through Community for Brunei, and they’re one of platforms that help us recruit team members, connect us with people who are just as passionate as we are, and we are so grateful for that.”

“I hope for future collaboration that they would be open to involve us to collaborate in school outreach, to talk to more companies and entrepreneurs.”

Sharing their views on the significance of BIBD’s involvement with sustainability ef- forts, Siti said, “In our digital era and how climate change has been a big topic as well, having BIBD to work towards that sustainabil- ity as well as Wawasan 2035 is an inspiring movement.”

“When we heard that BIBD was reaching out to us about sustainability, our team, Kilang Reroot, was very excited to have that oppor- tunity, because now we can expose ourselves in a much bigger scale. It will help us in a very long term, because there are going to be different levels of consumers out there along with Community for Brunei.”

Shaima added, “As someone who start- ed volunteering initially as just an individual, it’s very daunting to face an issue as a youth alone. To be able to get support from a big company and a very stable platform such as BIBD and YSEALI from the US Embassy, I’m grateful for that support, because that gave me the confidence and the springboard to create more impact within our community.”


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