Malaysia's social enterprise film finalists showcase their work

Beautiful beaches, wayward backpackers and economic growth – Malaysia is synonymous with all of these things. The OCBC Bank forecasts that it will be the third fastest growing economy in Asia this year. However, rapid growth and a population boom have led to a number deeply concerning social and environmental issues.

Earlier this year Pioneers Post and Matter&Co travelled to Malaysia for a three day workshop hosted by the British Council. The Journalism for Social Good workshop aimed to provide a group of aspiring journalists with the skills needed to successfully communicate underreported social and environmental issues that currently face the Malaysian population.

The British Council and Pioneers Post worked together to deliver specialist training in film-making and story-telling so that the workshop participants could make engaging films promoting the work of some of Malaysia's most successful social enterprises.

The films were then entered into a competition and judged by the Pioneers Post editorial team, staff from the British Council in Malaysia and the Malaysian media organisation ASTRO Awani. The winners of the film competition won the opportunity to take part in a three month internship at ASTRO Awani.

Exploring the Malaysian social enterprise landscape through film...

1. Epic Homes, produced by Sathesh Raj and Clarissa Say

Malaysia is one of the most diverse countries in the world, home to Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indigenous Orang Asli people. It's a country where acceptance and understanding are plentiful resources, but sitting alongside them are the stubborn problems of negative stereotyping and prejudice. 

The daily challenges of indigenous Orang Asli people are rarely voiced but the fact that 82% of Orang Asli are in need of housing aid and 77% are considered to be in poverty helps give some context to the sorts of lives they live.

EPIC Homes brings diverse people together to build houses in Orang Asli communities. "Whether you're Orang Asli, Chinese, Indian, a professional or a student, no one cares, let's work as a team," says John Son Oei, EPIC Homes' CEO and co-founder. The organisation aims not only to construct homes but to deconstruct the barriers between people from diverse walks of life. Watch online.

2. Recovr, produced by Nicole Ong Mun Yin and Lim Chooi Yen

In 2013 Malaysia produced 33,000 tonnes of solid waste – that's the weight of 20,000 cars. On average only 5% of this waste was recycled. Tackling this issue head on is Recovr, a social enterprise driving the uptake of recycling and upcycling.

Working with an organisation that supports vulnerable individuals, Recovr transforms discarded items into goods that people can buy. As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Watch online.

3. PT Enterprise, produced by Albert Ang and Agatha Politeia Kody 

In parts of Malaysia sex is considered a taboo subject. This lack of openess can have a detrimental impact – making sexual health a badly misunderstood issue, surrounded in stigma. For more than 25 years the PT Foundation (Pink Triangle) has been working to eradicate HIV and AIDS in Malaysia but in order to do this a shift in attitude has to occur.

The PT Foundation provides education, support and shelter to people who have contracted or are at risk of getting HIV and AIDS. Since 1987 it has been fighting the stigma that began to spread with the first instances of HIV. It used to be an NGO and is now in the throes of becoming a social enterprise to support its ultimate goal of an AIDS-free generation in Malaysia. Watch online

4. Social Enterprise Alliance Malaysia, produced by Nurul Oyun Mohd Salleh and Luqman Sujak

In Penang and Klang Valley (Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs), there is a heady mix of modernity, business and traditional culture. There are also around 70 social enterprises that have been identified by the Social Enterprise Alliance Malaysia (SEAM).

The organisation was set up to provide start-up assistance for social enterprises and to act as a one stop shop for both established and aspiring social entrepreneurs in Malaysia. Working with a range of small businesses, it aims to research the space and deliver the support to help drive the progress of social enterprise in Malaysia and inject it with the energy typical of Malaysia's dynamic small business space. Watch online.

5. Eats Shoots and Roots, winner of Best Video, produced by Beatrice Yong Sujin, Syarifah Anita Ibrahim and Wong Jac Ying

When did it become unfashionable to grow your own food? Eats Shoots and Roots is driving a renaissance in farming and vegetable growing in the urban setting of Kuala Lumpur. As well as encouraging people to grow their own food to avoid over-consumption and reduce waste, Eats, Shoots and Roots also promotes healthier eating options through its initiatives. Watch online

6. Empowering Youth Endeavours Project (EYE), produced by: Eng Ze Ru, Joseph Yong Chin Earn and Chuah Chia Nie

Government and the private sector have a big role to play in the Malaysian social enterprise space. EYE is a social enterprise focused on youth empowerment and instilling leadership skills. EYE’s founder Christopher Tock explains how the programmes and collaborations with government and private sectors have achieved this. Watch online.


Photo credit: Matthew Herring