Youth pow-wow to create a better Singapore

Teams successful in Idea Jam event will get seed funding of up to $3,000

Bringing young people together to dream up ideas for a better Singapore is at the core of a four-day event co-organised by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and The Straits Times, which starts today.

In the first MCCY-ST Idea Jam, some 50 participants aged 17 to 30 will pick up skills such as interviewing and research, to generate fresh ideas to help local civic groups and voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs).

The event will culminate in a pitch session on Saturday at ITE College Central, where groups of participants will present their ideas to a judging panel.

Successful teams will receive seed funding of up to $3,000 from the Young ChangeMakers grant, run by the National Youth Council (NYC), a partner of the event.

On why Idea Jam was being organised, an MCCY spokesman said: "Service learning is a vital component of holistic youth development.

"We want to empower our youth to be active citizens and contribute to building our 'democracy of deeds'."

Ms Serene Goh, editor of the ST Schools weekly magazines IN and Little Red Dot, said: "Above all, we want to empower young people with the necessary skills and insights to develop workable prototypes to benefit various communities in Singapore.

"By connecting intention with invention, we want to inspire progressive solutions to diverse social issues, and we're looking forward to seeing some really great ideas come out of this."

Participants will be "hothoused" at 10 Square @ Orchard Central - a new arts training centre for young people by The RICE Company.

They will go for a "human-centred" design workshop led by Mr Christopher Sopher, founder and director of Miami-based civic incubator WhereBy.Us, which aims to get them to think of how to create solutions based on the needs and experiences of people.

They will also receive training in research skills from the Singapore Press Holdings' Information Resource Centre. ST journalists or NYC staff will act as facilitators to get people working together in teams.

Participants will put their interviewing and research skills to good use when meeting representatives of 10 local VWOs, including Waterways Watch Society, Beyond Social Services and Bizlink.

Mr Gerard Ee, executive director of Beyond Social Services, which aims to curb youth delinquency, said: "We believe the community has a stake in social issues.

"By partnering organisations and other people, it is one way to invite youth and involve youth."

ayiying@sph.com.sg

laremyl@sph.com.sg

Follow the action at www.straitstimes.com/idea-jam