Girl Guides Association Malaysia (GGAM) Perak Branch helmed by its President DYAM Raja Puan Muda Perak Raja Nor Mahani Binti Raja Haji Shahar Shah organized the national organization annual conference for 200 Commissioners and Guiders representing the 17 branches in the country on 27 May 2012 in Ipoh. She is also GGAM Deputy President.
Hosting the annual conference which precedes GGAM Annual General Meeting by rotation among the branches has worked well for the association. Delegates always look forward to visiting and experiencing the warm hospitality offered in different states every year. This year, the conference focuses on strengthening the spirit of voluntarism for a sustainable environment.
In line with the World Thinking Day 2012 theme “We can save our planet’ and UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7: ensuring environmental sustainability, a series of talk by a team of accomplished speakers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, followed by a workshop certainly provided motivating messages to the delegates.
The aim is to raise awareness of the environment and the impact our lifestyles and choices have on it. Volunteering can make a positive difference for the environment by speaking out, taking action and influencing decisions made by others.
YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr Saran Kaur Gill and her colleagues Dr. Fatimawati Halim, YBhg Prof. Datuk Shaharuddin Ismail, Prof Dr. Hazita Azman, Ms Maye Yap dan Dr Wan Juliana spoke on `Instituting The Spirit Of Volunteerism’ and `Inspiring Environment And Community Engaged Initiatives’.
“The conference was an opportunity to share and discuss a wide range of issues with other Commissioners from around the country. It is difficult to ask people to support our efforts. It’s important for us to let them see our cause, that we are really doing something”, said Tek Mohamad, GGAM Deputy Chief Commissioner.
GGAM Chief Commissioner YBhg Datin Seri Hajah Zalillah Bte Mohd Taib closed the one day conference. “The conference provides opportunities for Girl Guides to discover their potential through collaborative effort, fun and friendship. The environmental element reminds us to strive our best in saving and preserving mother nature.” she said.
The Menteri Besar of Perak hosted a dinner for the delegates at his official residence.
The following day, delegates and 50 Queen’s Guides visited the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve & Eco Learning Centre, one of the best managed tract of mangrove forest in the world with an area of more than 40,000 hectares.
After listening to a talk on how the mangrove ecosystem functions by officers from the center, they learned about nature and environmental sustainability first-hand by planting 300 mangrove saplings, going on boat rides along the river to soak in the tranquil ambience of the mangrove forest and taking a guided excursion to see how freshly cut trees are stacked and loaded into large baking kilns to produce charcoal. Strolling on the boardwalk was really great as it took us into the mangrove swamp for close observation of the forest structure and the animals that live in the muddy coastal floor of the mangrove ecosystem.
“It was really fun, stepping in the mud and planting the saplings. I feel proud for what I did as it’s really important for nature. This is a very meaningful activity as it reminds us to take care of our environment. Mangrove trees can reduce erosion and also the impact of any natural disaster”, said Ivy Lee, 27.
It was fun and laughter in the evening where five representatives from each branch competed in a karaoke competition named “GG Supernova” . Each group of `artists’ had to come up with a tagline on saving the planet before their presentation. 50 Queen’s Guides who received their award from the Queen this year put up a colourful display of harmony and grace with their 1Malaysia dance for the finale.