From August 9 to October 11, 2021, ABROADER co-organized with Authentica to run the Virtual IT Programs for students from Western Sydney University, Australia. The program included the engagement of 9 Vietnamese local NGOs and Social Enterprises from the North to the South of Vietnam and 52 students from Western Sydney University working on 18 IT projects. The project themes ranged from Livelihood Development for Women and Girls' Education, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Livelihood, Women Entrepreneurship, Traditional Culture Preserving, Arts & Crafts, Economic Development to LGBT+ rights. 

Continue reading to find out more about the  IT internship for the social change program and what our students had contributed to the betterment of the Vietnam local community in a virtual setting. 

 

Virtual IT Internship for the social change program

PROGRAM GOALS & ACTIVITIES

Program Goals

The main goal of this experiential learning program is to bring IT impacts in community development in Vietnam. Students will gain skills both in the field of IT and soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and understanding how to work with organizations in a developing country and enrich their knowledge about local cultures.

Program Activities 

Students worked on assigned projects to help local host organizations solve their difficulties in terms of digital solutions (two-month projects) and website development (10-day projects).

Weekly meetings with hosts

Apart from the intensive work, these students had a chance to immerse in Vietnamese cultures like Vietnamese language, Cuisine, Martial Art: Vovinam, and Egg Coffee and expand their knowledge about the IT field in Vietnam by joining a guest speaker session held by a top-notch IT company in Vietnam.

Guest speakers from NashTech

Western Sydney students and guest speakers from Nash Tech

                                               

Learning Vietnamese with the locals!

THE SOCIAL CHANGES

In 10 days, NGOs in Vietnam received international students support in improving their websites

After two months, many effective, low-cost digital solutions were proposed to help the local organizations solve their issues. Students presented their suggestions together with a wireframe and prototype for the digital solution. The impacts include: 

  • A mobile app sketch designed to help the local NGO collect data using technology instead of the manual methods using papers.
  • A prototype for a news forum hosting updates regarding climate issues and educational programs for the local community.
  • An online website was designed fluidly, responding to being viewed on a desktop or smartphone which allows better management for the system of local libraries. 
  • Wireframes and prototypes for a system that can be turned into a fully functional website that allows direct connection and interactions of local NGOs and potential human resources.
  • A digital solution designed in order to allow a local NGO in the field of LGBT+ to work toward re-engaging the wider Vietnamese community with LGBT issues during the current pandemic times. 

Surprisingly, social changes can also be made in such a short duration: 10 days! NGOs in Vietnam with limited resources had received international students’ support in improving the user interface, redesigning, and developing new websites.

A digital solution for a system of local libraries that benefits all of the stakeholders

 

VOICES OF STUDENTS & HOST ORGANIZATIONS

The very first remote work experience for local organizations and the foreign students had ended with plenty of takeaways. Let’s learn about their experience in this virtual IT program for social change in Vietnam.

STUDENTS

Overall, the program was exceptionally well-designed and driven, with outstanding passion and support. I thoroughly liked the entire experience, especially the culinary session, which was particularly valuable. It was fascinating to learn about Vietnamese culture (table manners). I was able to develop transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, and collaboration, as well as problem-solving skills. I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished and grateful for the opportunity.”

(Salat Hiris, student)

Students learned Vietnamese Martial Arts, Vovinam and joined a live cooking session with the locals

“I had so much fun during the program, and it was a major learning experience for me. It is a good real-life example of programmers meeting with clients, in which communication is the key to fulfilling the client’s needs. I felt that the most realistic part is the client’s collaboration. The cultural activities were made entertaining and informative, especially when emojis were used and we were given the full rundown of the Vietnamese normal market life. Vietnam is definitely a country I’d love to visit someday. I don’t think that there is something to be improved with cultural immersion, I mean it is already at 100%".

(Hasaan Mohammad Farache, student)

THE LOCAL HOST ORGANIZATIONS

We are very glad to have international students support in 3 IT projects about the environment & green energy, education, and sustainable consumerism. Students are very active and strong in doing research to understand our difficulties, then propose new, creative digital solutions for online marketing. The wireframe that students came up with gave us more directions and options for our social projects to attract our stakeholders. 

I am very impressed with the students' contributions in 10 days. They helped our website have a new, user-friendly look. Besides the assigned tasks, the group also suggested more tasks to carry out which helped to optimize website loading speed. Moreover, working with international students is a great chance for social enterprises like us to improve our communication in English and collaborate globally. I am very thankful for this opportunity. 

(Mr. Le Vu Cuong, CEO & Founder of 1516 Green Energy)

It is a great opportunity for our Bong Sen to meet IT intern students from Western Sydney University. They are smart, skilled, flexible, and open to doing projects effectively. Two IT students helped Bong Sen to design the Mobile App for Households data tracking and storing. They are professional in implementing the project and required little supervision. They are also very active in asking questions and self-researching in terms of Bong Sen’s program activities. Thank you so much for your support. Your patience in explaining to our team members questions related to information technology that we are not familiar with is appreciated. It is so good to work with you”.

(Nhung Nguyen, Head of Fundraising and Partnerships, Bong Sen Center)

 

FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THE SOCIETY

We acknowledge the contributions of the students to all the IT projects for social change are tremendous in both short-term and long-term ones. Moreover, these experiences not only enhance students’ technical and soft skills for the real work environment but also contribute to the development of social enterprises and NGOs in Vietnam.  

Many NGOs and social enterprises in Vietnam are in need of help from IT students. It creates many more opportunities for students with an IT background to take this learning opportunity and better the local community in Vietnam. 

 

 

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