The race is on: bright minds, big data and social good

After an intense selection process, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (“Digi”) has chosen its two participants to represent Malaysia in the upcoming Telenor Youth Forum (TYF) 2018 in Oslo, Norway.

Felicia Yoon and Rachel Loh will join other accomplished young leaders from seven of Telenor’s markets across the world for the sixth installment of TYF, a six month-long global programme designed and hosted by Telenor Group and the Nobel Peace Centre. This year’s delegation will be challenged to address inequalities in health through the use of digital technology.

Digi’s Head of Sustainability, Phillip Ling said, “This year’s Telenor Youth Forum aims to bridge health with technology by leveraging on the power of mobile network and digital innovation to reduce inequalities in health as well as the access to health services.  We’re excited for both Rachel and Felicia to use their experience in championing their own causes here in Malaysia, to contribute and share ideas with their peers at the forum. They are both passionate about effecting change in the world, and we are positive that this experience will only enhance their passion and energy to address the much needed social change further.”

Yoon, 28, is one of the co-founders of social enterprise Arus Education, which focuses on providing education to underprivileged students with digital skills, empowering them to find solutions instead of waiting for it to come to them.

“I’m looking forward to sharing what I already know, as well as what my students have created. At the same time I want to listen to what others have to say and see what I can bring back to my country, my students – I’m constantly looking for better ways to engage with my students and the exchange of knowledge will be very useful,” she expressed.

Psychology final-year student Loh Rachel, 21, is the Chief Strategy Officer at Rice Inc, a social enterprise that aims to tackle food insecurity and farmers poverty. They are currently running a pilot project in Myanmar which looks into ensuring farmers are not shortchanged and are able to use the existing technology provided by Rice Inc to eradicate poverty where they can.

“I am really passionate about reducing inequalities, and for me, to gain exposure to international ideas at the forum – to work with them and connect with industry experts to tackle these social issues are some of the things I am most excited about,” she elaborated.

The duo edged out the competition of 90 other participants and will head to Oslo, Norway on December 8-11, 2018 to work with their assigned teams. Yoon and Loh are among the 16 youth, aged 20 to 28 from Telenor’s markets selected from a pool of 5,000 applicants from Bangladesh, Denmark, Malaysia, Myanmar, Norway, Pakistan, Sweden and Thailand to represent their countries at TYF.

The delegation will be divided into four teams, each posed a unique health-related challenge to be announced at the forum. Each team will be assigned an expert mentor from Telenor Group to provide them with coaching and mentorship for the entire six-month programme.

Throughout the programme, the four teams will be scored based on concept proposals in Oslo in December, on progress between Oslo and the forum’s finale in Bangkok in May 2019 as well as on their final pitch at the finale. The winning team will be awarded NOK 100,000 (RM50,400) to further develop their solutions. The four teams’ challenges, journey and final concepts will then be featured in a digital exhibition sponsored by Telenor Youth Forum and the programme’s partners at the Nobel Peace Centre.

Since the inception of TYF six years ago, the programme’s alumni have gone on to make a name for themselves – some have been listed under Forbes’ 30 under 30 issues and won international humanitarian awards. Last year’s winners Ida Thien and Shaun Adam Abdullah, along with their TYF 2017 peers have taken on the challenge of tackling issues on online safety, digital identity, decent working conditions and using big data for social good.

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