SG Discuss
Published in

SG Discuss

SG Discuss

National Day Edition

For the first time ever since independence, the National Day Parade in Singapore was decentralised to the homes of Singaporeans. It was a fitting reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic poses problems from the top-down but also presents opportunities to discuss solutions from the bottom-up.

From left: Joseph Schooling and Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale

SG Discuss

Bridging the intergenerational gap in Singapore was crucial for the mental health and wellbeing of seniors, especially during a time when activities in senior activity centres were suspended.

Image credit: SG Discuss

Supported by Youth For Causes, Meaningful Sunday, RSVP Singapore, and many small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a team of senior and youth volunteers have been working together — since the start of their “Circuit Breaker” in April — to introduce SG Discuss, a ground-up movement in Singapore that facilitates community discussions for all age groups.

With a vision of bringing together youth volunteers and senior volunteers in Singapore, SG Discuss made use of a popular instant messaging app and various productivity solutions to support volunteers, ground up movements, social enterprises, and non-profit organisations in the area of digital transformation.

Image credit: SG Discuss

Given an increasing number of senior volunteers — who can empower the next generation of youth volunteers with their valuable life experiences and wisdom — there is a need to create equal opportunities for youth volunteers and senior volunteers to innovate social services of the 21st century.

This is just the beginning of an innovative journey enabled by a close working relationship among a partner network of organisations, beneficiaries, sponsors, and volunteers doing good together.

Charity Classic Car Drive

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

Hustle & Bustle — a local SME that punches above its weight — organised a charity classic car drive on National Day that saw the likes of Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling and Minister Dr Tan See Leng working hand in hand with fellow Singaporeans, as they delivered bento boxes from the hands of executive chefs at The Fullerton Hotel to the hands of 60 families from WeCare@MarineParade (See the full video here).

Image credit: Hustle & Bustle

Following the on-site community engagement is a frictionless transition to an online community engagement. Moderated by SG Discuss, a community discussion for members of the public was conducted by youth volunteers and senior volunteers — in the comfort of their own homes. The benefits between online and on-site community engagement were clear; all members of the public were able to join in anytime; from anywhere convenient; together with anyone — so did the AMA panellists, some of whom joined in online while also being involved with the activities happening on-site at the same time.

Image credit: SG Discuss

At SG Discuss, the participants of a community discussion — as well as the associated Q&As — change constantly. Such changes are healthy because they lower the barriers to entry for any member of the public to be involved in the discussion and all volunteers can benefit from their own experiences of doing good together wherever they are.

Community Projects

Outcomes of National Day Edition:
- 30 employees from 10 organisations participated
- 60 lower-income families with children benefited
- 297.5 hours of volunteer service by 24 senior and youth volunteers
- 176 online activities conducted, on average 96 minutes per activity
- 87 AMA responses, 4,548 words, 21,433 total reads, 35 minutes airtime
- 300 bento sets delivered by 50 members of the public

There are many ground up movements, social enterprises, and non-profit organisations, etc. that are serving the same community today (the “community projects”).

It is increasingly difficult for many of them to build their own community without duplicating each other given the small population in Singapore, in addition to the existing People’s Association as described by a former staff. It is also unsustainable for them to compete for engagements using the same digital marketing channels (e.g. Instagram, Telegram, TikTok), not least because community projects have limited financial resources and most of them are relying on the same grants from governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Today, many grant applications evaluate community projects based on engagement metrics such as the number of participants, survey responses, likes/shares/views or similar vanity metrics. Naturally, many community projects resort to paid digital marketing channels (e.g. paid/sponsored Instagram posts) for the purpose of meeting grant requirements and for vanity sake.

From a cost perspective, grants funded by taxpayers and donors are being expensed to bolster the business models of digital marketing channels — which carry with them online falsehood/fake news, hate speech, cancel culture, cyber bullying, scams, misinformation/disinformation, weakening democracies, among many negative externalities which are unaccounted for by community projects.

For instance, if community projects focusing on mental health are using digital marketing channels to raise awareness on their cause, yet these are the same channels that cause mental health issues in the first place, is this a community service or a disservice?

Image credit: SG Discuss

In view of the above-mentioned, the purpose of SG Discuss and many other upcoming solutions by our Partner Network is to share all of its resources with community projects in areas such as partnership, community, metrics, expertise, project, and more to come (see image above for an example).

Doing Good Together #DGT

“Informed giving is designed to ensure that donations are aligned with the interests of beneficiaries.”

Willie Cheng

Image credit: ABM

By initiating discussions for the benefit of community projects and providing a frictionless transition between online and on-site community engagement for the benefit of the public, SG Discuss hopes to encourage an informed giving of time, talent, treasure and voice among people in Singapore.

In view of future #DGT possibilities, SG Discuss will facilitate discussions among passion projects coming together on World Together Day™ to be held at Ten Square, Landmark of Good @ 1 Short Street.

Image credit: Ten Square, Landmark of Good

More details will be released here. If you would like to co-create bottom-up solutions that positively impact the lives of millions, please feel free to feedback to us here.

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Bringing together senior volunteers and youth volunteers in Singapore

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Derek Cheung

Derek Cheung

I build communities. I serve communities.

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