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About This

Purpose

1. To seek the partnership of the community to understand the social needs in Singapore.

2. This project uses a wiki platform to consolidate inputs from various agencies operating in the same space.

3. This is a collective project that belongs to all the organisations and individuals who care to be involved. For ease of reference, participants involved will be part of an informal network that we have called ‘The Social Collaborative’ (SocialCollab).


Background

4. Understanding client needs and service gaps is a crucial preliminary step required for planning public services and informing policies.

5. Typically public agencies, non-profits, researchers and practitioners do this type of work, but in isolation and not necessarily coordinated with one another.

6. Not only are there are many benefits to a more openly collaborative way of doing this, it has become feasible given the easy access to online platforms and easy to understand needs assessment frameworks.


Benefits of Open Collaboration

7. Quality of knowledge: All reports are static once they are completed, but the wiki platform is live and stays constantly relevant as long as partner organisations continue to contribute to it. New policies and services emerge all the time, and reports cannot reflect them in a timely fashion. A wiki page if well managed can provide a constantly update knowledge base.

8. Growth of knowledge: Facilitating open collaboration will help to shift the incremental gains of independent efforts to a more exponential growth in knowledge when more can contribute in a coherently accumulative fashion. It will also reduce the burden on individual agencies and VWOs to do needs assessment and asset mapping, since they have access to a coherently accumulative collective knowledge.

9. Ownership: Open collaboration facilitates greater sharing so that needs assessments do not become proprietary knowledge of agencies or researchers, but free content that more widely shared to the communities and practitioners involved. Public agencies, VWOs and researchers sometimes compete with one another to for thought leadership and authority in a specific domain of knowledge. However, no single agency no matter how well-equipped has monopoly over useful knowledge. An open collaboration system democratises this work and allows all to contribute.

10. Culture: When an organisation produces a report, its credibility and reputation is at stake. This may lead to defensiveness about the knowledge produced, and deliberate glossing over of limitations and gaps. Since no single organisation can claim credit for the knowledge produced via open collaboration, a more conducive ethos of working is possible where participants are transparent about their ignorance and willing to have others fill in those gaps for them.


The Wiki Platform and How to Contribute

11. A wiki site has been created to crowdsource social needs and indicate possible solutions. http://wiki.socialcollab.sg/

12. Individuals from partner agencies can register with a user id and a password and will be able to edit the wiki pages to insert information.

13. The wiki site is designed specifically to help participants contribute the following information in a coherent manner: 1) the profile and various needs of a particular client group; 2) existing communal resources available to address those needs; 3) assessments of service or policy gaps; 4) potential reasons or known causes of the gaps; and 5) ideas and possible solutions

14. While the system does allow us to track what user provided what information, we do not focus on who has contributed what, and only focus on the quality of information provided (i.e., accurate, from a credible and verifiable source). When an organisation chooses to share relevant administrative data from their services—e.g. profile of clients, waitlists, performance data—they should indicate the organisation and insert a contact person so that this can be verified. This information should not disclose personal data that identifies individuals.

15. The online platform helps to facilitate the coherent accumulation of knowledge, but this will be complemented by Roundtable meetings with other contributing organisations in the same sector twice a year. (Roundtable meetings will be hosted by IPS till other organisations are ready to take over).

16. At the first Roundtable meeting, a facilitated dialogue will be conducted to run through the existing knowledge base with participating organisations so as to check whether the overall structure and key information is adequate. Knowledge gaps will be identified and prioritised. Then, individual organisations can decide whether to investigate further into key knowledge gaps. By the next Roundtable, new information will be shared into the platform, and a Needs and Gaps Report will be written collectively.

17. The Needs & Gaps Report can be written annually to paint an overview of the landscape of their sector. This landscape view will be comprehensive because it can include the contribution and meaningful participation of all relevant partners in this space. Even government agencies and experts are not able to have a full and updated view of the diversity of developments in each sector. This will not only facilitate the strategic planning for each organisation, but also act as policy advocacy if it is shared with the relevant Ministry. E.g. The Needs & Gaps Report on Distressed Migrant Workers 2017 can be shared with MOM, MSF and TAFEP. It will also allow NGOs in that space to coordinate with one another what areas to investigate and research on.


What Resources and Commitment is Required?

18. Very little. For now, IPS is happy to meet individual VWOs and NGOs to help consolidate the information they have on hand. This might mean visiting the organisation and having a chat with one or two staff about information they have that is relevant and will be able to share. We will then translate them into the online wiki platform. (Talk to us)

19. Subsequently, we will host a first Roundtable to gather all those who have contributed, and invite others who have not solicit their interest. We will facilitate this discussion and identify knowledge gaps. Participants can indicate what the areas of priority are for them. (Show up)

20. Participating organisations are then free to fill in those knowledge gaps if they happen to be able to engage researchers, interns or just do it themselves. There is no obligation to investigate further if there is no capacity. IPS will also dig deeper to find relevant information. (Dig deeper if you can)

21. After this period, IPS will convene another Roundtable to take stock of new information, and help write a Needs and Gaps Report based on the inputs of the participating organisations. A draft will be sent out to everyone for their inputs and refined based on their comments.(Show up again)

22. If required, we can broker connections to policymakers to ensure that certain areas of concern are highlighted. These can be closed door discussions or more public policy forums depending on the issue.


Existing Partners

23. The first call to action was done in July 2016 and there are existing organisations working on various social causes: Disability (Disabled People’s Association, NVPC, A*Star, NYC), Ex-Offenders (SANA), Migrant Workers (HealthServe), Seniors (Tsao Foundation).

24. Other organisations are providing the backbone support in terms of the IT infrastructure, knowledge architecture and community engagement (Lien Centre for Social Innovation, Institute of Policy Studies, Asian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre).

25. The Role of IPS: IPS is happy to facilitate the analysis, help mobilise partners and host Roundtables for sectors that have an interest. We are able to provide adequate support until the organisations are self-mobilised.


Updates

26. Students from some tertiary institutions are willing to help populate pages on certain causes as part of their coursework.

27. We also plan to host ‘wikithons’ where students can come for a half day to search for relevant material to be added to wiki pages.

28. We have started to engage journalists who report on social issues to participate by adding information and links to articles they write. This benefits the community but also brings eyeballs to their reporting.



NOTICE: Due to spam bots, you now have to log in to edit.

We hope to create a 'live' and always updated knowledge base about the social needs in Singapore through the contributions of all who have an interest in these issues.

(add link from all the social cause pages)


This initiative empowers Singaporeans to 1) identify social needs and map out community resources; 2) determine service and policy gaps; and 3) suggest possible ideas and solutions.[1] The objective is to produce a constantly-updated knowledge base by coherently accumulating relevant statistics and trends, track community developments; and crowd-source good ideas. Once a year, practitioners, community partners and researchers can collectively make sense of the existing information to generate a yearly 'needs and gaps report' for informing policy, supporting advocacy and highlighting knowledge gaps to guide further research.

Anyone can contribute to these wiki pages, but each specific social cause (Disability, Migant Workers, Seniors) is anchored by a team from diverse partner organisations who will provide editorial work, solicit expert inputs and also convene sense-making meetings to refine and improve the knowledge base. If you would like to join a social cause team, please click on that page to find the respective contact details.

The broader initiative is a collaborative effort of diverse nonprofit organizations and individuals providing backbone support such as devising editorial policies and guidelines, training users and designing the 'look and feel' of the wiki pages. We also need people who can communicate the purpose and value of this work, so that more can come on board. For more details on who we are and our plans, see our Action plan. If you would like to join us to provide backbone support to this initiative, look at our action plan to select the team(s) you are interested in, and get in touch with the contact person.

We are also looking for volunteers to complete very specific tasks and projects. Click here to see a list of volunteer tasks

Social Needs and Community Assets

Vulnerable or Disadvantaged Groups

Click on the headings below to get to the specific page

Disability

Adults with Autism

Hearing Impairment

Visual Impairment

Ex-offenders

Migrant workers

Seniors

Financially Vulnerable Seniors

Vulnerable Families

Single Parents

Homelessness

Mental Health

Youth with mental health issues

Youth at risk

Animals

LGBT

Community Assets

Caregivers

Community Arts

Localities and Communities

MacPherson

Whampoa

Others

Research Needs

Guide for Contributors

Basic instructions

You can contribute by inserting relevant facts and referencing their source.

We welcome your professional judgment or expert analyses especially if you are able to provide evidence or justification.

Note that this is not a platform for service complaints, but your own personal experiences and anecdotes are welcome as long as you put them within squiggly brackets {...}

We also use square brackets [...] to flag knowledge or information gaps.

Starting a new page

If there is a social cause or client group that is not here yet, you may start a new page. If you want to start a page for a client segment, eg 'Adults with Autism', you can link your page within the main 'Disability' Page.

You may please click on this link to cut and paste the template to help you get started.

Detailed guides

For detailed guidelines, please see Needs Assessment Guide. This is still a work in progress and will be refined over time.

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.