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Feature Image ACLC Event News 2022

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has announced that from 3 January 2022, larger physical work-related events (including general meetings) of between 51 and 1,000 participants will be allowed subject to several conditions including notifying the authorities before the event as well as other Safe Management Measures (‘SMM’) to be complied with.

Co-ops may continue to hold virtual or hybrid general meetings by relying on the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Alternative Arrangements for Meetings for Charities, Co-operative Societies and Mutual Benefit Organisations) Order 2020. Please refer to the Guidelines and updated FAQ for co-ops under “Resources and useful links”. Co-ops are additionally advised to refer to the Ministry of Manpower’s website for the latest Requirements for SMM at the Workplace (https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19/requirements-for-safe-management-measures) before planning or holding any physical/hybrid events.

Here, a summary of some of the requirements: 

  1. The event organiser must notify the authorities at least 5 days before the event.
  2. Attendees must maintain at least 1-metre safe distance between one another. Attendees must be in zones of up to 100 persons per zone, with 2 metres between zones.
  3. There must be no mask-off activities during the event, such as the consumption of food and beverage.
  4. The event must be static, with participants predominantly seated or standing in a fixed position (e.g. meetings, conferences, award ceremonies).
  5. All attendees must be subject to Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS), i.e. every attendee must be fully vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 within the past 180 days, or medically ineligible for vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme.
  6. Non-compliance with these Safe Management Measures, including the failure to notify, will be met with firm action.

Feature Image ICA 2021 Year End Message

Dear cooperative friends,

We are nearing the end of a complex year, where the pandemic continues to affect our lives and the activity of our enterprises.

The unequal distribution of vaccines impacts many countries and allows the virus to strengthen and remain a global threat.

This affects our health and our economies, given the struggles many families face to acquire income as well as the difficulties that exist in obtaining household goods and interrupted supply chains. 

Meanwhile, cooperatives continue to demonstrate our resilience, demonstrating that our service to each community and the entire planet our proven track record of almost two centuries.

The business model we embody is the only one capable of recovering the productive and community fabric without leaving anyone behind.

As we said this year when we celebrated our day, we want to Rebuild Better Together this world affected by multiple social, economic, health and environmental challenges.

Despite this difficult scenario, we have advanced our levels of integration and continue to strengthen our Cooperative Identity, as we demonstrated in our historic 33rd World Cooperative Congress.

In 2022, I invite each of the one billion members of three million cooperatives that inhabit each continent to continue working together to drive a just recovery in each territory and on a global scale.

I ask you to continue to take care of ourselves and our communities. I wish you a happy end of the year and the beginning of the new year with your families and friends.

Cheers!

Ariel Guarco
ICA President

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This was originally published on International Cooprative Alliance on December 20, 2021. 

Feature Image Teachers Day 2021

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.

On September 3, 2021, Singapore celebrated Teachers' Day — a day to commemorate the collective efforts of teachers as well as their selflessness. In the spirit of expressing our gratitude to the nurturers, SNCF has reached out to some of our co-operatives and a scholar who penned their tributes to the teachers. Read on to find out the responses from Mr Daniel Chua (NTUC First Campus), Ms Phebe Kwek (POLWEL Co-operative Society), Mr Vincent Ng (A Good Space), and Ms Denise Ong (SNCF scholar). 

Who was the teacher that made an impact in your life? How did he or she inspire you? 

Daniel Chua: I have many wonderful memories of teachers from my school days. If I had to pick one who impacted me significantly, it would be my Kindergarten teacher. This story is from 55 years ago! Her name is Ms Tang and I will always remember her kindness and understanding. As a child, I had separation anxieties about going to school. My parents would send me to school in the morning and my routine was I needed to see them leave the school compound before I settled into the school day. Ms Tang observed this and each morning, before I arrived in class, she placed a chair by the window so that I could step on it to see my parents leave the compound. This chair was always in place before I arrived in the classroom.

As a young child with anxieties, this thoughtful act made a big difference. Having been inspired by such a caring teacher, I try to pay-it-forward by being kind to people I come across. I never had the chance to show my appreciation to Ms Tang. Wherever you are, Ms Tang, I would like to thank you for having a heart that understood the anxieties of that little boy, which enabled him to discover the joy of school and learning. 

Phebe Kwek: I met Mr Loong during my Secondary School days. He was my Sec 3 and Sec 4 Principles of Accounting teacher. He was very engaging when he was teaching the class and was always sharing about his experiences in the finance sector before he was a teacher. It was those talks that piqued my interest in the finance industry. As such, I went on to pursue a banking and finance diploma and a banking and finance degree.

Vincent Ng: The teacher that made an impact in my life is Ms Lucy Oliver Fernandez, my English Literature teacher from 2007 - 2008 when I was in Sec 3 and Sec 4 in Catholic High School. Looking back, taking English Literature was the first decision I made where I followed my heart. Many of my friends took Geography and I had wanted to take it to be in the same class as them but deep down, I knew that I liked Literature better. 

Through the different books, plays and poems she brought us through, she opened up a world of rich characters, stories and life lessons that have stayed with me ever since. She taught us to ask questions instead of only seeking answers and from her, I learnt the value of being curious. She taught me to be a person of integrity, to have empathy and to always look beneath the surface to uncover fresh perspectives. 

In 2017, just before I graduated from University, I had co-authored a book with a friend and I managed to find Ms Fernandez again. She was no longer teaching at Catholic High, but had been assigned back to National Institute of Education to teach the next batch of teachers. I had lunch with her and passed her a copy of my book. I would not have developed a love of literature and for reading (and all the benefits that followed) if it weren't for her. 

Denise Ong: "A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.” I’ll never forget my secondary school form teacher, Ms Joanne. Thank you for helping me see the strength and the good in me. Thank you for inspiring me to be brave and be kind. Thank you for coming to class cheerfully. In your own spontaneous and caring ways, you made me excited to grow and embrace the different experiences in life to learn, to help, and to live. Happy Teachers’ Day!

 

 

 

On October 10, we commemorate World Mental Health Day. That was a day when we raise awareness on mental health issues and kickstart conversations on or efforts in support of mental health. For the past two years, World Mental Health Day took place amid a special time – that is, during a pandemic where the bulk of our lives have been drastically affected.

By now, we know that our mental health is equally important as our physical health. As conversations on anxiety, burnouts, and depression proliferate, along with the courageous stories of many mental health advocates, we now know that it is okay to not feel okay. And that our emotions, fears, anxiety and challenges are valid. At SNCF, we believe that it is important to keep the discourse on mental wellness, whether it’s on burnouts, or unpacking the murky feelings within you, or what it means to be mentally healthy, going.

Championing Mental Wellness with The Ubuntu Space

SNCF Workshop EDM

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of the everyday man and impacted the mental health of many. To better support our co-operatives, SNCF has partnered with A Good Space (AGS) Co-operative alongside one of their members, The Ubuntu Space to conduct a hands-on and experiential Mental Wellness Workshop: ReDiscovery through Play (see attached image).

Exclusive for fellow affiliates of Singapore National Co-operative Federation, the event will explore mental wellness in a workplace context, seed actionable steps for your well-being, and create a space to lean into yourself and onto others. Admission is free while venue is subjected to safe distancing measures and regulations. 

For more information, reach out to Hayley Lim here

IYD 2021 Image Feature 1 of 1

On August 12, 2021, we commemorate International Youth Day. Inaugurated by the United Nations in 1999, this special day celebrates the qualities of young people and recognises the multi-faceted challenges youths face in society today.

At SNCF, we interviewed three outstanding youths – our very own scholars Mohamad Raihan, Alycia Wong, and Raena Leang – on what being a youth today means to them, the social causes they champion for, and how best to navigate the social media landscape.   

In your personal capacity, what are some social causes you are championing for at the moment? How do you go about doing it?

Raihan: I volunteer weekly to help tutor children from less privileged backgrounds.

I am a firm believer that everyone should be given equal opportunities to perform and excel. In the field of education, some children may require additional support due to financial constraints or other external factors. Providing tuition and one-to-one guidance is one of the ways to make a difference to their lives.

Alycia: I am currently involved in NTU’s Welfare Services Club (WSC), a volunteering Co-curricular Activity (CCA) that supports vulnerability groups in Singapore. I have spent a bulk of my time helping primary school children from disadvantaged families by conducting weekly tutoring lessons and activities. I will be starting my role as Vice Centre-Head in one of the centres this academic year. Some of my new responsibilities include handling the student volunteers from NTU, planning and conducting CCA sessions, and working closely with the social workers in-charge of the children.

Raena: I have been involved in projects for two main causes this year: promoting inclusivity for people with disabilities and reducing the impact of socio-economic inequality.

For the former, I have been involved in organising Purple Outreach, a series of eight activity sessions, for students with special needs at Mountbatten Vocational School (MVS). I joined this initiative to understand more about interacting with individuals with special needs which is key to promote inclusivity. With my team, I planned the programmes for the volunteers and student beneficiaries to include a range of interactive lessons, such as urban farming. For the latter, I take time off to tutor children from lower-income families and organise occasional holiday programmes. Being able to support these children by developing their character and improving their academics is something I am passionate about.

As a youth, what empowers you?

Raihan: Surrounding myself with like-minded people who are goal-oriented and passionate about the things they do. I feel that it creates a healthy environment for me to learn more about others and the world around me. It also encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and strive towards a better society.

Alycia: I am empowered by the opportunities and platforms youths have in Singapore to try and make a difference to the community. I started volunteering since I was a Secondary One student and despite my tender age, I have never once felt dismissed. The community here has been encouraging and supportive, especially towards youths who have interest in community work. 

Raena: Being a youth means having energy and time to pursue what I find meaningful and joy in. I also have a safer space to experiment, make mistakes, learn from them, and try again. To me, this is a precious phase of my life where I get to explore and learn. These empower me to have courage to pursue what my interests are.

When we speak of youths, the use of social media comes to mind. How can youths today better make use of social media to learn more about the world?

Raihan: Information is so readily accessible these days with the Internet. Besides being a source of entertainment, social media can also be used for educational purposes too. We can use them to learn about pressing issues happening elsewhere in the world, and all you need to do is to follow accounts that promote these current affairs. Sharing these posts on our social media can also help raise awareness on these issues. On top of that, social media can be used as a platform to express personal opinions and views, allowing us to learn about different perspectives from others.

Alycia: Social media has become such a powerful medium for youths to glimpse a world outside of their own. For instance, we can follow organisations that champion different social causes on Instagram. Many of these accounts post weekly happenings pertaining to their causes or updates on the activities youths can participate in.

Raena: The very idea of what social media aims to do is to allow us to share what’s going on in our lives. Youths may leverage these platforms to understand people with various backgrounds and develop understanding, empathy, and take on less critical and judgemental lenses.

Having interned with us for a while, what are your takeaways from SNCF and of co-operatives in Singapore?

Raihan: It has been really enlightening and insightful to see what SNCF does behind the scenes for co-operatives in Singapore. In particular, there are frameworks that SNCF has established or are striving to put in place for the best interest of co-operatives. Overall, I find it meaningful that SNCF and co-operatives have the goal of doing good for the community, and I aspire to do the same as well.

Alycia: My internship at SNCF has allowed me to better understand SNCF’s vital role in Singapore’s co-operative scene. As the apex body, SNCF is responsible for disbursing grants to co-operatives to help them in their business development or through hard times, especially with the pandemic impacting all sectors. Throughout my internship, I caught a glimpse of the needs different co-operatives from different sectors have. It was a very enlightening experience on the whole for not only did I get to learn skills related to my degree, but also things like grant processes. 

Raena: Being highly involved in the grants review process and planning women outreach activities made me realise the great power that SNCF can have in guiding our affiliates to improve. Our actions and decisions have a ripple effect across co-operatives and greatly help our co-operatives improve. Through research, data analysis and discussions, I have also learnt in greater depth of how different co-operatives in Singapore can have feasible business ideas and still show concern for the community.

These interviews have been edited for clarity.

Creathon2022 Eventbrite 2160x1080

The only co-operative social enterprise business challenge saw a whopping 520 participants last year, the highest since its inaugural run in 2019.

If you like Shark Tank and have a heart for social good, this is for you. Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) is excited to announce the return of Creathon 2022!

Following its previous successes, Creathon 2022, the only co-operative social enterprise challenge, is back for its third run. This time, it is expected to see even more teams competing with one another as they develop innovative solutions to address social challenges around us.

From today to November 30, 2021, registration for Creathon 2022 will open. Interested parties can head here to sign up.

What Would You Need To Do?

Whether you are a student, a fresh graduate, or have been employed for a while, the competition serves to be an incubator where you ignite your creative juices, formulate solutions to tackle real social problems and kickstart your dreams.

Interested citizens (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) should form a team, comprising only 4-5 people, for Creathon 2022. They can choose to register under the Student Category (for youths aged 17-26 years old as of 2022) or Open Category (for anyone aged between 17 and 35 years old).

Once registered, teams will proceed to the Preliminary round, and they will then be tasked to send in video applications of their ideas. These video applications will be judged by a panel of SNCF staff members based on their creativity and the feasibility of the solutions.               

 10 shortlisted teams, five from each category, will advance to the FINALS taking place at Hilton Hotel on 22 January 2022, where they will be invited to compete with one another and impress a panel of guest judges.

Throughout, teams will receive exclusive mentorship too. 

Prizes Galore!

Winning team will get to take home $10,000* seed funding and cash prize.

Creathon2022 EDM 920 1

 

 

 

  

What does it mean to write a National Day Parade (NDP) theme song that speaks for a nation amidst a global pandemic? For singer-songwriter Linying, 27, and music producer Evan Low, 31, it’s both a daunting and difficult task.

Under the supervision and direction of Music Director Dr. Sydney Tan, the duo joined hands to write and compose the piece, The Road Ahead. The theme song is performed by Linying, former Singapore Idol winner Sezairi Sezali, up-and-coming artiste Shye-Anne Brown, and Singapore Youth Award winner Shabir.

Memorable, heartfelt and echoing the ethos of resilience, the NDP 2021 theme song has since garnered plenty of praises from locals and foreign fans alike. Some of whom have compared it with the Kit Chan classic, Home.

Since its release on YouTube on July 2, 2021, the music video has amassed a whooping 1.7 million views (as of this writing), with many viewers commending the composers’ and organiser’s creative efforts. The music video was directed by film-maker Huang Junxiang, 33, and animation film-maker Jerrold Chong, 30.

In one of Evan’s Instagram posts, he revealed that conversations of a possible collaboration surfaced over the dining table when the composers were having sushi. Regardless, the duo hoped that the NDP theme song would serve as an apt reminder for listeners to press on during times of crisis, especially in today’s pandemic-fuelled climate.

NDP 2021 Social Media Post Evan 1

In an exclusive interview with SNCF, the composers shared with us their creative inspiration and how the chorus evokes the spirit of ‘Emerging Stronger’.

We find the chorus (See this island, every grain of sand // Hear this anthem, it’s the voice of our friends // Come whatever on the road ahead // We did it before, and we’ll do it again) memorable and we do see the theme “Emerging Stronger” surfacing here. What went on in your mind when penning this?

Evan Low: I think what went on in both of our minds, was the idea of what it truly means when you say that there's strength in the collective. The theme of unity and strength isn't something new. But I hope our honest perspective on the theme, based on the needs and concerns of the people during these times, has represented our generation's voice well.

Linying: Getting the lyrics for the chorus right was particularly important to me because that portion of the song will be most remembered by the people. I wanted to drive home the idea that every single person matter, no matter how diverse our backgrounds and experiences are. Strength isn’t about brute tenacity and displays of power, it’s in the quiet resilience we’re capable of practising when we acknowledge one another’s contributions; it’s this understated side of Singapore that I had hoped to expound upon in the lyrics.

The music video has since received 1.7 million views and many Singaporeans have expressed their love for it. On the YouTube comment section, some even said: “We’ve found our new ‘Home’.” How are you feeling when you see such outpouring of support?

EL: I'm honestly really overwhelmed, and very humbled. We were definitely not expecting this level of positivity and support from the public. I must say, it feels really validating, because we wrote it as honestly and sincerely as possible.

LY: I feel affirmed, and also a little surprised! But I’m mostly thankful that my personal sentiment seems to have been shared by so many others. It’s heartening to see.

NDP 2021 Social Media Post LinYing 1

What are your hopes for the nation?

EL: At this point in time, it's for us to have a staunch perseverance amidst any obstacles that come our way. We've overcome hardship before, and we'll do it again.

LY: I hope we can practice compassion for one another, especially in times of difficulty. Unity is meaningless until we acknowledge the importance of one another’s wellbeing. We only have one another to count on. Only by remembering that and treating each other with mutual respect and empathy can we truly overcome adversity.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

News Highlight

Co-ops may proceed with larger work-related events...
Co-ops may proceed with larger work-related events after notifying authorities

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has announced that from 3 January 2022, larger physical work-related events (including general meetings) of between 51  [ ... ]

Read More ...
End of Year Message from International Cooperative...
End of Year Message from International Cooperative Alliance's President Ariel Guarco

Dear cooperative friends,

We are nearing the end of a complex year, where the pandemic continues to affect our lives and the activity of our enterp [ ... ]

Read More ...
Mental Wellness Month Event: ReDiscover Through Pl...
Mental Wellness Month Event: ReDiscover Through Play

On October 10, we commemorate World Mental Health Day. That was a day when we raise awareness on mental health issues and kickstart conversations on o [ ... ]

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