A distinguished, Malaysia-based independent publisher and expert in participatory information and communication processes, Mr Chin Saik Yoon, has won the UQ School of Journalism and Communication’s 2008 Communication and Social Change Award.
Announcing the Award, the Head of School, Professor Michael Bromley, said that Mr Chin was internationally known for his long-term commitment to communication for social change, especially as a regional pioneer in the use of information and communication technologies to empower the poor and disadvantaged.
"Mr Chin’s publishing house, Southbound Press, is based in Penang, but its reach extends around the world," Professor Bromley said.
"Southbound is renowned for its promotion of works by authors from developing countries and its specialist focus on titles that address key development communication issues, while Mr Chin himself is recognised as a long-standing and consistent activist in communication and social change issues, especially in the fields of publishing, advocacy and non-government organisation development."
The award, which comprises a plaque and A$2500, was made by an independent jury which chose Mr Chin and Southbound from 16 nominations received from organisations and individuals in Pakistan, USA, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Iran.
Given the high-calibre of the entries received, the CSC Jury also awarded a special Meritorious Commendation for Communication and Social Change Award to Nigerian CSC activist John Dada.
Mr Dada is the founder and Program Director of a rural NGO called the Fantsuam Foundation, which aims to build rural Nigeria’s knowledge economy through the use of information communication technology (ICT) for human development.
The awards, which commenced in 2006 and are administered by the UQ School of Journalism and Communication's Centre for Communication and Social Change, recognise outstanding achievements by individuals or organisations in the field. CSC is a fast-growing social science discipline which promotes the use of various forms of communication, including community media and ICTs, to bring about positive participatory development and social change.
The 2008 CSC Award Jury was chaired by Professor Ken Wiltshire, AO (JD Story Professor of Public Administration, The University of Queensland).
Other Jury members were: Ms Annmaree O’Keeffe (Deputy Director-General, AusAID), Mr Hugh Leonard (former Secretary-General of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union), Dr Zala Volcic (Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland) and Associate Professor Pradip Thomas (Research Director, School of Journalism and Communication, The University of Queensland.)
Mr Chin and Mr Dada’s achievements will be honoured at the 2008 CSC Award presentation ceremony in Brisbane in November.
Additional details of the winners are attached.
Media: Ms Marsali MacKinnon, Centre for Communication and Social Change. Email: email@example.com telephone: +61 7 3365 1393.
• 2008 CSC Award winner Chin Saik Yoon/Southbound Press, Malaysia
Chin Saik Yoon is the founder and Managing Director of independent Malaysian-based publishing house Southbound Press. He works across the Asia Pacific region at community, national and regional levels in a wide variety of roles as a publisher, technical consultant, project designer and evaluator, analyst, researcher and advocate in development communications.
The 2008 CSC Award citation reads:
"The award is made to you in recognition of your clearly demonstrated credentials as a long-standing, consistent and proactive promoter of communication and social change issues globally, especially in the fields of publishing, advocacy and NGO development. The CSC award jury is especially cognisant of your not-for-profit efforts, your volunteer roles in support of South-South communication and social change issues, your pioneering work in ICT for development fields, and your tireless promotion of the works of authors from developing countries."
As well as his involvement with Southbound Press, Mr Chin is currently Principal Technical Consultant to an ASEAN Foundation project (designing a regional communications and information initiative to monitor animal-borne diseases such as Avian Flu), and is a Board Member of UNESCO-ORBICOM (the International Network of UNESCO Chairs in Communications.)
Southbound Press is an independent scholarly publishing house based in Penang, Malaysia. Founded by Chin Saik Yoon in 1990, Southbound was one of the first publishers in the world to specialise in development communication topics.
Its collections of publications and papers research and analyse themes such as development communication, information and communications technology (ICT) and the Internet, media, and research and development.
Southbound Press titles come from the Asia Pacific, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the USA and Latin America. They are often published in collaboration with other organisations to encourage greater
involvement by authors, civil society organisations, researchers and international development agencies.
• 2008 CSC Merit Commendation winner John Dada/Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria
John Dada founded the Fantsuam Foundation, a Nigerian rural women’s NGO, in 1996. Currently the Fantsuam Foundation’s Program Director, he is also its longest-serving volunteer.
Through his work with the Foundation, Mr Dada aims to build the knowledge economy in rural Nigeria through the use of radio, community theatre and multimedia, in order to give farming communities better access to health and education information.
The 2008 CSC Meritorious Commendation citation reads:
"The Meritorious Commendation Award is made to you and the Fantsuam Foundation in recognition of your clearly-demonstrated commitment to communication and social change and you role in promoting ICT development in remote rural communities. The award jury is especially cognisant of your volunteer work in furthering the cause of development in Africa."
Mr Dada is a Master of Public Health (Nuffield Institute, and University of Leeds, UK), and has a PhD in Crop Protection (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria). John Dada is also a Visiting Scholar to Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and the ECWA School of Health Technology, Kagoro, Nigeria.
He is also a founding member of the Peoples’ Open Access Education Initiative, which aims to offer low-cost, high-quality online education and training courses to disadvantaged communities in low and middle income countries.
The Fantsuam Foundation delivers ITC community development programs to around 300,000 people in Northern Nigeria – predominantly women farmers and their families in remote regional and rural communities.
The Foundation’s projects include Nigeria’s first Community Wireless Network, and a Knowledge Resource Centre commissioned in collaboration with IDRC-Canada.
The Foundation also runs a wide range of formal and informal education programs such as teacher training, a Computer Club for vulnerable children, economic management and microfinance training and informal training on nutrition, hygiene, community health, reproductive and other health-related issues (through the Positive Concern HIV/AIDS support group).
Another Fantsuam Foundation project, Teachers Talking (TT), connects teachers in rural Africa who have limited access to the Internet with individuals and communities in countries where there is easy Internet access.