15 Mar 2017
An initial three-month project to help an anti-trafficking charity set a sustainable growth path grew into a longer volunteering effort for Macquarie’s Michael Tan, whose work normally centres on corporate reporting and business analysis in Singapore.
Tan was introduced to the small charity CLinked in early 2016 as part of a skilled team volunteering program at Macquarie, run by local capacity building firm Conjunct Consulting.
CLinked works at a grassroots level to increase awareness and prevention of commercial exploitation of women and children through education and leadership development. It has conducted workshops in the areas of human trafficking, community organizing, life skill development, sex education, financial literacy, personal safety and resilience for at-risk females in Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Its work aligns with several other organisations focused on combatting modern slavery that are supported by Macquarie staff and the Macquarie Group Foundation across Asia, including the Justice Centre and Fair Employment Foundation in Hong Kong, the Visayan Forum in the Philippines and Hagar International based in Cambodia.
Six Macquarie staff participated in the three-month volunteering program with CLinked, which aimed to enhance the efficiency, scalability and accountability of its operations. The program covered a broad range of topics from remittance mechanisms, to policies and procedures, record keeping, budgeting and reports. Tan himself focused on investigating and recommending appropriate options for CLinked’s accounting system to improve its financial compliance, budgeting and administration.
Following the system’s acquisition, Tan subsequently further assisted CLinked founder Junko Yoda with implementation and policy support.
“Junko’s background is not in accounting or software so I worked on and off with her after the formal project to work through some operational issues,” Tan says.
“It’s the first time I have volunteered for a charity and I found it very interesting. The best thing is being able to help someone using my skills, which can ultimately help many more people around south-east Asia.”
Approximately 100 hours of skilled volunteering time was spent developing CLinked’s financial and communication tools over the three months, incorporating monthly face-to-face meetings and bi-weekly telephone calls.
"Macquarie got us past our recurring roadblocks and Michael’s help has been essential,” says Yoda of the Macquarie team’s work. “This project was a real turning point for us to scale our service with our partners and donors."
She estimates that removing the organisation’s uncertainty over appropriate remittance mechanisms saved her six months’ work alone, and freed up her time to focus elsewhere, including a new shelter program in Singapore and initiating a new workshop program in Cambodia.
The new integrated accounting system has also enabled CLinked to qualify for new funding opportunities.
Image caption: A training workshop in human trafficking prevention, organised by CLinked in northern Myanmar.