AT TAYLOR'S: Cheryl Nicholson (CherylAnne.MarieNicholson@taylors.edu.my)
PROJECT PARTNER: World Toilet Organization (online@worldtoilet.org)
Kampung Temasek is defined by its creators as “an open-source learning location where we promote learning by doing.” Using the slogan ‘Less is more,’ this rural environment learning space seeks to educate its visitors on the importance of using available resources in a less wasteful and more creative way. Kampung Temasek is the brainchild of renowned Singaporean architect Tay Kheng Soon and internationally famous environmentalist  Jack Sim, the Founder of the World Toilet Organization.

Kampung Temasek is being built on 11 acres of land in Ulu Tiram, about 30 minutes from the Malaysia/Singapore border. The objective is to bring back an earlier kampung neighbourhood spirit with its sense of community. Its founders describe it as a 'gotong royong' project (community project like barn-raising) where all are invited to work together to build from available materials by using community effort.

In order to inculcate a community spirit, Taylor’s Business School provides opportunities for its students to have an impact on society through socially responsible projects, such as entrepreneurial and community outreach programs, while applying knowledge learned in class. These initiatives enable students to be globally responsible leaders of society when they graduate.
One such opportunity made available by Taylor’s Business School (TBS) was the Kampung Temasek Community Development Project. This is a 10-week project which aims to empower the community of Kampung Temasek in Ulu Tiram, Johor. Dean of Taylor’s Business School, Ms.Vinitha Guptan, explained that the Kampung Temasek Community Development Project is an initiative through TBS’ BizPod to enable students to engage in the practice of service learning. This important aspect of the teaching and learning pedagogy at Taylor’s covers the education of the head, heart and hands. Students are taught to develop their sense of civic responsibility and become global leaders who can look beyond profit margin to the enduring value of contributing to the community.

“Taylor’s Kampung Temasek Community Development Project is run and managed by TBS degree students to brand and create awareness of the village, its people and their stories as well as to market the products the villagers develop,  while creating a sustainable business model for them to continue to market their goods and services,” Ms. Guptan noted. The students worked with the community to brand and create awareness of the food products and tourism services available in the village. For their part the villagers, after hearing from the students of the importance of adding a personal touch to their products, have since revamped their packaging to include stories from the community and have reported an increase in sales revenue. This recommendation from the students came after they carried out market research for similar products.

Participants from Taylor’s University included about 50 students from its Community Service module as well as its ExecuTrack Programme. The ExecuTrack programme, conducted in collaboration with Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA) and KPMG, aims to empower participating students to become individuals who lead with purpose, wisdom and empathy. Dean Guptan notes, “By initiating opportunities such as this, TBS creates platforms for its students to grow and extend their knowledge outside of a classroom setting, while at the same time empowering the local community to excel in their chosen areas of interest. It is a win/win situation.”