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2017 Member/Volunteer Action Programme Kicks Off

2017 Member/Volunteer Action Programme Kicks Off

Teams of volunteers converge on a void deck nestled between Bedok North residences on a sunny Saturday morning in March. They form a long queue to collect and pack fresh vegetables and other groceries, being distributed by another dozen volunteers. After completing one round – paying attention to bundle halal food for Muslims and pork dishes for Chinese families – each volunteer gets back in line to repeat the process. Afterwards, they divide into teams, steered by local community members, to deliver the food bundles to 130 low-income families living in the neighbourhood.

The project, made possible by a corporate donation and organised on 25 March in collaboration with a local community partner, kicks off the 2017 ONE (SINGAPORE) Member/Volunteer Action Programme.

Some twenty-five ONE (SINGAPORE) volunteers spent the better part of a Saturday afternoon in service to the community, assisting families that one way or another have trouble making ends meet at the end of the month.

"I'm volunteering with ONE (SINGAPORE) because I want to make an  impact in the Singapore community and connect with like-minded people who want to do the same," explains volunteer Omar Rachid.


“I want to thank you all very much,” a recipient, who had been hospitalised for some time and unable to work, tells us.  He shares his family’s story and explains how he instils a sense of gratitude and humility in each of his children.

Many of the families that we visit recount how they face problems paying for groceries, water, and electricity at the end of each month. Singapore does not have an official poverty line, however researchers estimate that some 387,000 Singaporeans do not have the resources to fulfil their basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing and other essential expenditures. That means that more than 1 in 10 Singaporeans is living in poverty.

Another resident in a nearby block impassionately shares how grateful she is for the fresh produce, as she heads out to work. She is the sole income earner for her children and parents. Stories like these repeat themselves as our volunteers knock on doors in different blocks throughout the afternoon.

Even though quite a number of the recipients in the Bedok North neighbourhood are employed, they simply do not earn enough to make ends meet. Their stories are unfortunately not unique. Low-income workers are estimated to account for approximately 60% of all Singaporeans living in poverty. The unemployed, underemployed and the elderly, particularly older women, also face higher rates of poverty.


While volunteers bundled and distributed groceries for the March kick-off of the 2017 ONE (SINGAPORE) Member/Volunteer Action Programme, future events in the series will have a variety of activities in line with ONE (SINGAPORE)’s focus areas.  If you or your organisation would like to sponsor an Action Programme event, please contact us today!  You can also take action by filling up our volunteer form, which provides specific information on volunteer opportunities, here or joining ONE (SINGAPORE) as a member.

If you would like to know when the next Member/Volunteer Action Programme outing will be happening, please follow us on social media where you will get the most up-to-date information on ONE (SINGAPORE) events.

To view more photos, check out this album on Facebook.

This article was written by Katie Powell Rachid.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children and the more vulnerable – have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round.23

A large share of the world population is still consuming far too little to meet even their basic needs. Halving per capita global food waste at the retailer and consumer levels is also important for creating more efficient production and supply chains. This can help with food security and shift us towards a more resource efficient economy.24


As with many issues that are exacerbated by extreme poverty, it’s often the youngest and most vulnerable who are hurt the most. The world’s children are disproportionately affected by food and nutrition shortages. Living with chronic hunger and malnutrition puts children at risk of dying from common colds and infection. And even if children do recover from these diseases, their recovery times are often delayed.

Stunting is even more common than being underweight in the developing world. Globally, 160 million children have inadequate height due to chronic hunger and malnutrition. In the developing world, children from the poorest families fare much worse than those from the wealthiest households; children from the bottom quintile of households are twice as likely to be stunted as those from the top quintile.22

Struggles with poverty and hunger leads to bandwidth poverty, an attention shortage that creates a negative, reinforcing cycle. It is difficult to concentrate at school or at work, when you worry about where your next meal is coming from. Without sufficient cognitive function or “bandwidth” to spend on other tasks that require more thought, low-income families and individuals are more likely to make suboptimal choices that leave them worse off.


  • Nearly 800 million or 1 in 9 people are living with hunger, without essential nutrients for proper development and health20
  • Over 90 million children under the age of five are dangerously underweight.21



“Empowering women and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also has a multiplier effect across all other development areas.”32

“Ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health, and affording women equal rights to economic resources such as land and property, are vital targets to realizing this goal. There are now more women in public office than ever before, but encouraging more women leaders across all regions will help strengthen policies and legislation for greater gender equality.”33


Women and girls are more empowered than ever before in human history, with greater access to education, economic opportunities and political power30. Despite the successes in movement for greater equality, women and girls are still more likely to be affected by extreme poverty and struggle with getting access to paid employment in some regions. Barriers to ending discrimination against women and girls include “sexual violence and exploitation, the unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work, and discrimination in public decision making”31.


  • Women and girls are more likely to live in poverty than their male counterparts.
  • Globally, women earn 24% less than men. They are also more likely to be unemployed, underemployed, or excluded from the workforce than their male counterparts.
  • In developing countries, a woman is 14 times more likely to die from childbirth than in the developed world.
  • 800 women die each day from pregnancy or pregnancy-related complications which have been mostly eliminated in developed countries (2013)
  • 12% of married or partnered women who wanted to avoid pregnancy did not have access to birth control and related health care services. (2015)29