Inaugural NGO Bootcamp kicks off at Yale-NUS College

14 May 2014

Nearly one-third of Yale-NUS students will work side-by-side with practitioners from NGOs to learn how to make an impact in their communities in Singapore and beyond

Leveraging sports to develop communities in Timor Leste; strengthening palliative care to children in Indonesia; campaigning to end violence against women in Singapore. These are among the ambitious endeavours that Yale-NUS College students will take on as interns in nine countries including Singapore during the mid-year break from May to July 2014.

The College is spearheading Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bootcamp, a five-day workshop-style program which will bring together over 10 local and regional non-profit, public sector, and corporate leaders from organisations such as the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), World Relief, ThinkPlace Foundation, Bain and Company, Credit Suisse and Shujog. For the first time, NGOs from diverse fields have teamed up with a tertiary education institution in Singapore to facilitate a training program that equips undergraduates with foundational perspectives and skills for community service or to advance social change.

“The NGO Bootcamp and the subsequent internship programme reflect the College’s broader ethos – to enable the students to hone skills, make connections between theory and practice as well as draw from multiple traditions to catalyse change. These foundational skills can also be applied across various sectors. We hope to inspire our students to align their talents with society’s greatest needs, while creating a community of practitioners and future leaders who share common goals for the public interest,” says Fiona Kanagasingam, Director of Leadership and Global Citizenship at the Yale-NUS Centre for International and Professional Experience.

More than 50 undergraduates, including close to a third of Yale-NUS’ pioneer batch of undergraduates as well as students from various NUS faculties and schools such as the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, have signed up for the program. About 20 Yale-NUS students will subsequently go on internships with NGOs during the summer break. Daryl Tan (Yale-NUS Class of 2017) says, “I believe this bootcamp is a unique program that will equip me with the necessary skills to be an asset to these NGOs in future. In addition, the large range of trainers and participants from corporate, NGO and entrepreneur sectors gives a great opportunity for networking and sharing of best practices.”

Through dynamic and interactive discussions, case-studies and hands-on activities on topics such as contemporary social issues and solutions; ethics in community development and service; and the capacity to do good well, the student participants will pick up essential knowledge and skills on how to work effectively and ethically in nonprofit settings. A number of NGOs from Singapore and in the region have also enrolled their staff in NGO Bootcamp, alongside the students, as they believe the training could build capacity in their organisations.

Laurence Lien, CEO of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre says, “Creating safe spaces for deep reflection and discussion of our society’s biggest challenges and opportunities is a starting point for advancing change. The NGO Bootcamp is a great platform for initiating dialogue among the public, private, and people sector on social issues and for involving young people in these discussions. I am very encouraged by the involvement of this diverse group of organisations, the wide interest from the Yale-NUS student body, and the rich range of topics covered. I hope participants will not only learn how to do good well, but also be inspired to catalyse change in their communities.”