North-South Initiative (NSI) is a Youth-Adult Partnership (YAP) modelled initiative based in Malaysia which aims to build synergy between the North and South in addressing human rights, social justice and sustainable development issues. In the era of globalisation, bridging the gap between the North and South requires a more holistic approach between the North-South and South-South peoples. Our primary mission is the empowerment of marginalized groups, i.e. the Indigenous Peoples, Minority Students, Youths Living in Conflict Zones, Migrant Workers, Refugees, Small Farmers, Interfaith/Intrafaith Actors, and other disenfranchised minorities who need solidarity. We believe in the empowerment of the marginalised/disenfranchised as when given the strategic tools and analytical frameworks, they can bring about sustainable positive change in society. NSI also provides a safe training and working space for grassroots. NSI was set up in 2011 with the help of a small grant from the British Embassy in Malaysia to run a small training for our Patani counterparts. Only in 2015 did we start operating autonomously as a full-fledged civil society organization.
Our Vision: To Build A Society That Prioritizes Social Justice
Our Mission: To Empower Marginalized Communities with Strategic Tools For Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
- To Analyze the Current Political Economy Model And Propose New Sustainable Systems Based On Solidarity, Social Justice and Sustainable Development Goals
- To Ensure Marginalized Communities Have Direct Access To Development Planning And Policy Making Using Rights Based Approach
- To Build Cross Sector and Interdisciplinary Collaborative Networks and Solidarity For Sustainable Social Justice
1. Strategic Organizing and Protection of Migrant Workers in Malaysia
Malaysia as a destination country has around 2 million documented migrant workers and an estimated 4 million undocumented migrant workers. All are highly vulnerable to various human rights abuses including forced labour, trafficking, smuggling, abuses by enforcement agencies, labour violations, victims of corruption/extortion, unlawful detention, racism, xenophobia and many more inhuman treatments. In collaboration with different actors, we aim to build a national coalition of migrant workers for a stronger consolidated effort to improve the rights of migrant workers, in particular, their labour rights, security rights, health rights and socio-cultural rights. Besides policy advocacy in Malaysia, we also do advocacy work at the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) and contribute inputs to the International Labour Conference (ILC-ILO) and the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). We are currently the local NGO co-coordinator for the Malaysian AFML consultation process. NSI founders have been participating in the AFML since 2013. We also contributed in the early stages of the Migrant Recruitment Advisor (MRA) project of the ITUC-ILO and are currently the Malaysian Shuvayatra partner. Shuvayatra is a safe migration application which helps Nepali migrants have access to various information which will make their migration experience safe and successful. Together with Management and Science University (MSU) Malaysia, we have developed a Migrant Workers Health Research Network to further study the impact of harsh working and living conditions on migrants. Together we organize the annual Migrant Workers Health Congress. We also play a role in Labour law reforms via the “Decent Work Working Group” and the Domestic Workers law reform coalition, “Towards C189”.
2. Empowering Local Farmers With Knowledge On The Impact Of Globalization On Agriculture and Developing Natural Farming Based Solutions
Empowering local small-scale farmers to cope with the commoditization of food in the age of large scale agribusiness. We collaborate with various partners like Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP), Sri Lovely Organic Valley- Sik, Kedah (agroecology specialist), Japanese Fund For Global Environment (JFGE) and many others actors to develop and promote sustainable agroecology based solutions to help farmers of Kampung Sungai Sireh, Tanjung Karang, Selangor. We do community-centred research on the current agricultural system and propose alternatives which are pro-farmers and pro-environment. We utilize the Community Pesticide Action Monitoring (CPAM) tool and other data collection tools which were developed by PAN AP to document hazardous pesticide usage by farmers and the impact on their health. We then follow up with advocacy with the Ministry of Agriculture and other related departments to ensure farmers have a safer and sustainable working environment. We also advocate Natural Farming as a sustainable way of farming which can ensure food security and food safety in Malaysia. We currently have a smart partnership agreement with the Seri Gambut Primary School of Tanjung Karang to develop an organic garden incubator in the school jointly.
- Capacity Building of Youth for Social Action and Environmental Justice
Empowering and building up a movement of a young activist who strives to preserve their cultural rights and identity amidst vast unsustainable, aggressive development and urbanisation in Malaysia. We collaborate with the School Of Acting Justly, Loving Tenderly and Treading Humbly (SALT), our youth partners. Malaysia has lost a considerable portion of her natural rain forest due to plantations, logging, construction of mega dams and other unsustainable and aggressive development projects. The indigenous peoples are probably the last people on the planet who fully understand how the ecosystem works and how to conserve and restore the forest and hence our partnership with them. We have other international partners like Pax Romana IMCS Asia Pacific and Diplomacy Training Program of UNSW which provides opportunities for our leaders to build their capacity and then participate in environmental justice campaigns to ensure that nature is preserved and to prevent the catastrophic impact of climate change. Till date, we have organized 5 series of SALT youth training and have actively campaigned against the destructive Kaiduan (Sabah), Telum(Pahang) and Baram(Sarawak) mega-dams.
4. Conflict Resolution and Peace Building
As there are forgotten and hidden armed-conflict areas in the South East Asia region like West Papua(Indonesia) and Patani(Thai-Malaysia border), it is vital, we respond in solidarity to ensure peace and stability is restored to the region. We provide grassroots communities and movements of these two areas with a Rights-Based framework to conflict resolution and human rights protection. We work closely with friends from the community and also various youth-based associations in ASEAN to ensure the local communities are equipped with the best tools for conflict resolution and peacebuilding via exchange programmes and international representation. We also take in interns from these areas to ensure they get comprehensive training and an opportunity to practice what they learn. NSI founders have been actively advocating peacebuilding in Patani since 2007 and West Papua since 2011. We currently have an MOU with the Prince of Songkla University, Patani for Cooperative Education Collaboration.
5. The “Roots to Fruits” Manual Production and Training on Integrity.
Promoting integrity in governance, democracy and development are vital to ensure social justice, human rights and best practices are promoted and protected in every sector. Lack of integrity can be catastrophic to the economy, tear social fabrics and prevent inequality from being resolved by keeping the poor from accessing essential services and having their fair share of the economic pie. To help Malaysians understand the values and principles of Integrity, NSI and our partners Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI) are developing an Operational Manual which “socializes” the ideas and principles in the original ” Roots to Fruits” publication by Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM) among various stakeholders i.e bureaucrats ,business sector, politicians, town councillors, academicians, youth and local residents. We hope the manual which will be produced using action research methodology will help Malaysians understand integrity deeper and put the values into practice. For sustainability, we plan to develop a movement to promote and socialize integrity at all levels.
6. Regionalism for Social Justice in South East Asia
As ASEAN continues to be one of the preferred trade blocks in the world, we see a need for harmonising the trade and globalisation agendas with the human needs agendas, i.e. the human rights, labour and environmental concerns and the impact of investment have on them. We aim to ensure that the most marginalised communities in the region also have a voice and decision-making power in the ASEAN circle. We do this by actively participating in the ASEAN Civil Society Conference(ACSC)/ASEAN Peoples Forum(APF), organised every year in parallel with the ASEAN Summits, which brings a civil society of South East Asia together to deliberate and submit our policy recommendations to the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Member States. Founders of NSI have been participating in the ACSC/APF since 2006, and we see regional platforms as a vital space for building solidarity and exchanging ideas between movements and communities.
Sustainable Activism with Integrity
NSI tries it’s best to remain autonomous and independent by keeping development aid dependence minimal. Malaysia is a very challenging place for human rights organization funding as we are an upper middle income developing nation and many donors don’t see Malaysia as a priority. Alas, human rights abuses are many, and we have little resources to address them sustainably. So hence, part of our income generation includes leasing out our training hall [10 to 50 pax] to other civil society and corporate entities who want to conduct meetings and workshops with an NGO rate that is way below corporate rates. We were lucky to inherit a full setup office infrastructure(except for the office rental which we struggle to pay for) from an NGO which closed down, Dignity International. We also lease out the workspace to small and medium NGOs or enterprises who need a space to start up their work. NSI strives to be as self-sustaining as possible as we want to operate base on solidarity and people’s needs and not be donor driven. This we have proven by operating with integrity despite receiving minimal funding since 2011. Our formula to be effective with impact is by building strong grassroots movements and collaborating with competent actors over the years to ensure the sustainability of the advocacy.
Executive Director: Adrian Pereira [firstname.lastname@example.org] +60122900756(hp)
Director of Programmes: Anne Beatrice [email@example.com] +60142498003(hp)
Address: A-2-7, Pusat Perdagangan Seksyen 8, Jalan Sungai Jernih 8/1, Seksyen 8, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Phone:+603 7663 5466(o) / +60122900756(hp)
Links to our work:
https://nsinitiative.net/nsi-development [organisation page]
Bank Details ( For solidarity support to ensure NSI can run independently)
- Name of Beneficiary: NORTH SOUTH INITIATIVE
- Account Number of Beneficiary: 514253507656
- Bank: Maybank