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E-Volunteerism to Help Realise a Connected Singapore for Everyone

Mr Philip Heah, Senior Director for Online Development, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore - Speech e-Filing 2003 Appreciation Ceremony for e-Ambassadors, IRAS Auditorium ...

Mr Philip Heah, Senior Director for Online Development, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore - Speech
e-Filing 2003 Appreciation Ceremony for e-Ambassadors, IRAS Auditorium

Singapore, 5 July 2003

Mr Koh Cher Siang, Commissioner of Inland Revenue
Mr Willie Cheng, Chairman, National Volunteer Centre
Distinguished guests
Ladies & gentlemen

Good afternoon.

Coming of Age

IDA had the pleasure of working with IRAS and the People's Association in the e-Filing project this year. It was the first time that our e-Ambassadors were engaged to help out in nation-wide e-Filing. Despite the unexpected SARs outbreak during the volunteer deployment in March, the tripartite collaboration was a success. More than 500 e-Ambassadors stepped forward to volunteer their time and assisted more than 3,000 Singaporeans to e-file.

This was a significant achievement and it testified to the e-Ambassadors' coming of age - a movement that was started 3 years ago.

Back in March 2000, IDA announced 5 key strategies to "dot-com the People Sector". One of these key strategies was to recruit and nurture a pool of 2,500 volunteers. The volunteers will evangelise the benefits of an e-lifestyle and help their families and friends embrace Infocomm for work, learning and play. Together with 10 Volunteer Hosting Organisations, or VHOs, IDA launched the e-Ambassador programme in August 2000. Today, I am proud to share with you that the target has been exceeded with a pool of 3,800 strong infocomm savvy volunteers.

Growing Demand for e-Volunteerism

As volunteerism takes on a different dimension in this Information Age, we see a growing demand for volunteers who are infocomm savvy in our society.Out of the 2 million Internet users in Singapore, more than 80% are aware of online services for e-Communications, e-Transactions, e-Learning and e-Entertainment. Though usage of email is very high at over 90%, the usage of other online services however, is hovering at an average of 30%. This can be improved.

Under the banner of e-Celebrations 2003, IDA will organise e-lifestyle promotion activities with industry and community partners to encourage Singaporeans to become savvier in using Infocomm.

Traditionally, volunteer work was mainly carried out in the areas of social services, community work and education. Today, 5% of volunteers in Singapore help out in IT-related work, as revealed by a 2002 survey conducted by the National Volunteer Centre.

Our pool of e-Ambassadors will therefore continue to be highly sought after by the community to inspire and help fellow Singaporeans get connected to embrace an e-lifestyle.

National Volunteer Movement Gathers Momentum

The National Volunteer Centre was set up in July 1999 with the mission to promote and develop volunteerism across all sectors, and at all levels of society. NVC has done a wonderful job in promoting volunteerism in Singapore. About 15% of Singaporeans are volunteers in 2002, up from 9% in 2000. This marked an impressive 60% growth in just over 2 years.

am sure that NVC, with their wealth of experience in volunteerism development and extensive network, will be able to help the e-Ambassador Volunteer Hosting Organisations and bring e-volunteerism to greater heights.

Conclusion: Connect - Unleash - Realise

On behalf of IDA, I would like to thank you - the 18 VHOs and 3,800 e-Ambassadors - for your commitment and dedication to e-volunteerism for the past three years. I hope that you will continue to share and care for the non-Infocomm savvy, and that your volunteer experience in the Infocomm space will give you immense satisfaction.

Have fun connecting with the non-Infocomm savvy - help them unleash new opportunities and realise the potential of a connected lifestyle.

Thank you.