RCE Greater Gombak - 2021

MY SENSUS - Mother and Youth Social Entrepreneur for Sustainability
Basic Information
Title of project : 
MY SENSUS - Mother and Youth Social Entrepreneur for Sustainability
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Gombak
Contributing organization(s) : 
PSPK - The Association of Services and Community Development
IIUM - International Islamic University Malaysia
Yayasan Khasanah
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zainal Abidin Sanusi
Organizational Affiliation: 
International Islamic University Malaysia
Organizational Affiliation: 
International Islamic University Malaysia
Henry Sandanam
Organizational Affiliation: 
PSPK - The Association of Services and Community Development
Format of project: 
Capacity Building, Community Empowerment, Social Enterprise
Language of project: 
Malay and English
Date of submission:
Friday, October 15, 2021
Geographical & Education Information
Selayang, Selangor
Address of focal point institution for project: 

Suburban Community
Target Audience:
Community, Youth (Informal)
Single Mothers
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Selayang is a town in Gombak district, a semi-urban area with 410 315 population, which resides not only multiracial citizens but also a shelter for immigrants and non-citizens. Although Gombak is listed in top 10 districts with the highest median household income in Malaysia, the income gap is huge as a high percentage of residents fall below poverty line and absolute poverty. COVID-19 further exacerbated the situation with a larger group of residents faced unemployment and loss of source of income.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
The relation between poverty and lack of education is widely accepted globally. This situation could clearly be witnessed here where the residents are struggling to be employed for having a lack of skills and knowledge. This is further challenging when they become single mothers and have to be the sole breadwinner for the family. While the hit of COVID-19 to the economy is seen in the entire nation, the impact is extremely huge for this underprivileged group as they never get to prepare themselves with emergency funds or savings prior to this, and they are fully dependent on daily wage. It is harder to find alternative sources of income due to lack of knowledge and skills.
May, 2019
The statistics show a significant increase in the rate of unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More families are struggling to survive and making ends meet leading to various social, health and wellbeing issues. This is especially true for this group of single mothers, and underprivileged women and youth in Selayang, who were already facing pre-pandemic financial struggles. While the government’s financial assistance suffice as a quick fix, a more concrete action is needed for a sustainable solution to their unemployment issue. This is the reason behind the establishment of the social enterprise bakery with the name of Bites and Beans Cafe. The project first started with a capacity building program to equip these underprivileged women with baking, entrepreneurial, business, marketing and customer service skills. The cafe was then set up to provide an avenue for them to practice their skills and make a living. Continuous teaching and learning took place involving experts from academic institutions and industry professionals in an informal learning setting to further expand their knowledge and skills especially in a post-pandemic business setting. In essence, it is the translation of the four pillars of education: learning to know, to do, to live together and to be, into real actions on the ground.
1. To equip participants with entrepreneurial and baking skills to upgrade their employability. (learning to know and learning to do)
2. To provide job opportunities for the underprivileged group of single mothers for their financial sustainability. (learning to be)
3. To bridge the gap between universities and communities towards co-creating a “Communiversity” (learning to become)
4. To strengthen partnership and collaboration among academia, industry, government agencies and local communities in solving local sustainability issues. (learning to live together)
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The initial idea to set up the cafe was led by The Association of Services and Community Development of Gombak District, Selangor (PSPK) in 2019 but it could not progress due to resource constraints. In 2020, a grass-root research by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia on Sustainable Development Goals (APPGM- SDGs) was conducted in Selayang in 2020 and identified the issues of financial struggles of this group of underprivileged women.It was identified then that ESD is the best solution for them. With the help of APPGM-SDG and Selayang Member of Parliament, a capacity building was designed and conducted by experts from UniKL and IIUM to equip these underprivileged women with baking, entrepreneurial, business, marketing and customer service skills. This is in line with the UNESCO pillars of ‘Learning to Know’ and ‘Learning to Do’. The set up of Bites and Beans as a social enterprise platform helps provide the avenue for them to practice their skill and gain incomes.While the Cafe successfully launched on 16 September 2021, the capacity building program continues with the IT Literacy Workshop conducted by IIUM and PSPK with the funds from Yayasan Hasanah.
Size of academic audience: 
More than 150
There are 19 underprivileged women and 10 youth hired at the cafe, and 25 have successfully completed the training on IT Literacy. While they were unemployed before, now they are earning around RM 2000 monthly and this is expected to increase as the project expands further later. This project also involves students from IIUM volunteering to organise the workshop. It is also a showcase of collaboration between multiple stakeholders such as OSK Foundation, The Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor (KLSCCCI), CIMB Foundation, Biji-Biji Initiative and Pastry Pro apart from the main partners of the project mentioned before.
Lessons learned: 
In transforming a community, the effort should not stop at transmitting knowledge and skills as in “Learning to know'' and “learning to do” but the equipped skills must be put into practice and contribute towards social development as in “learning to live together”. The whole project then transformed the life of underprivileged women not just in their financial sustainability, human development, but also their wellbeing as a person, which is in line with “learning to be”.
Key messages: 
SDG-based cafe Bites and Beans is not just about providing job opportunities and financial stability, but it aims at transforming the whole community towards working together to build a better future for and through the underprivileged women and their families. Through a contextualised ESD, what seems to be impossible, is possible when multiple stakeholders work together towards a common goal of benefiting the society - SDG 17
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
1. The initial research conducted in 2020 and the capacity building project was funded by the Ministry of Finance Malaysia through All Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia for Sustainable Development Goals (APPGM-SDGs).
2. The set up of the cafe was led by PSPK supported by Pastry Pro as they provided some bakery equipment, OSK Foundation, The Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor (KLSCCCI) and Selayang Member of Parliament’s office.
3. The second workshop on IT Literacy is funded by Yayasan Hasanah, an independent grant-making foundation.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon SDS_1356.JPG (5.63 MB) Bites n Beans Cafe IIUM
Image icon SDS_1419.JPG (5.38 MB) The launching of Bites n Beans Cafe
Image icon SDS_1469.JPG (5.99 MB) Inside Bites n Beans Cafe IIUM
Image icon SDS_1686.JPG (4.74 MB) IT Literacy Workshop IIUM
Image icon SDS_1724.JPG (4.88 MB) One with the Participants IIUM
Image icon SDS_1668.JPG (6.08 MB) IIUM
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level