"I have the product, but I don't know where to sell it," complained Puan Saadiah to a group of UniKL Business School students. Puan Saadiah or better known by Kak Ani Kosam in Desa Impian, Merbau Sempak, Sg Buloh, Shah Alam, Selangor. Kak Ani's problem is among the problems of community product entrepreneurs. "I only sell at the night market" commented Kak Emah when asked about the inspiration to grow their business. Realizing these problems, the students of UniKL Business School's marketing program have approached the Desa Impian community to find a solution to market the community's products to a wider market. These students consist of classes in Consumer Behavior, Advertising and Promotion Strategy, and Customer Relationship Management under the coordinating lecturer Dr. Muhammad Shahrin. Various products are selected to be promoted in this program from agricultural produce, school equipment, tilapia fish to machinery repair service products.
The Community Product Marketing Program "From Community to Community" was launched on March 18-19 at Desa Impian and will run for 14 weeks. This program has received support and contributions from YB Tuan Mohd Khairuddin bin Othman, Exco Young Generation, Sports and Human Capital and Assemblyman of Paya Jaras, and Shah Alam City Council (MBSA). The launch ceremony was attended by Prof. Associate Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Hizam, Dean of UniKL Business School, and Dr Mohd Faizun, Head of Marketing and International Business Department. The two-day program is packed with product knowledge briefing sessions by community product entrepreneurs to students, a briefing on the coffee business by Puan Faridah, a representative of the Selangor Coffee Association, and a sustainable living briefing by Mr Rashdan, a representative of the Persatuan Lestari Alam Malaysia.
Through the interweaving program between students and foster mothers on these two days, we have also successfully established relationships between students and the residents of Desa Impian. 40 female students were handed over to 6 adoptive families consisting of residents of Desa Impian. This 'foster parents-students' program gives university students the opportunity and space to feel the pulse and the voice of the community. "Our adopted mother and father's house is 10/10", said Nurin, a student in the Advertising and Promotion Strategy class.
Puan Kamisah, one of the adoptive mothers in this program has taken care of her adopted child who is not as healthy as her own child. Puan Kamisah sent her adopted child to the clinic and always looked after the welfare of Tengku Izzatuzzahra, the student who became her adopted child. "I am excited about this program because this is the first time I have a program with the community" commented Tengku Izzatuzzahra, a semester 6 student of the marketing program when asked if he wanted to go home. Puan Kamisah's motherly nature touched the hearts of the students who felt like they were at home.
While female students are pampered by their foster parents in their respective homes, male students pass the time with congregational prayers at the surau and try their hand at fishing in the catfish pond to be grilled during dinner. Dinner was enlivened with a briefing on sustainable living by Mr Rashdan from the Malaysian Environmental Conservation Association while the students enjoyed grilled catfish donated by the Desa Impian community.
This two-day program is "Small steps big impact" as stated by Mr. Rashdan. It is a small step towards sustainable living under the 11th goal of United Nation’s Sustainable Goals of creating sustainable communities through community-based efforts. The students also take small steps in promoting community products. It is a small contribution of the university student community to the Desa Impian community. In future, the results of this program can be highlighted to other communities and replicated in other communities. We are building a sustainable life from community to community for community, one community at a time.
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