We aspire for Singapore to be a democracy of deeds. A society that forges strong bonds, a strong Singapore spirit, and partnership in addressing complex problems. Singapore Together started in 2019 to mark a shift towards deeper partnerships between the Government and Singaporeans, and among Singaporeans. The movement has provided more opportunities to:
- Co-create and shape aspirations;
- Turn ideas and aspirations into action; and
- Build a united and cohesive society together.
Co-creating and shaping aspirations
The Government has been actively creating more opportunities for Singaporeans to share their views and aspirations on issues they care about.
- 16,900 Singaporeans shared their aspirations for a post-pandemic Singapore through the Singapore Together Emerging Stronger Conversations between June and December 2020.
- Nearly 6,000 people – women and men – contributed to the nationwide Conversations on Singapore Women’s Development, held over 160 sessions between September 2020 and September 2021. This culminated in the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development, which has set out 25 action plans by the Government and the community, to build a fairer and more inclusive society. These included introducing workplace fairness legislation, encouraging and enabling flexible work arrangements as a workplace norm, forming community-based peer support networks for caregivers, and enhancing protection for victim-survivors of family violence.
- More than 15,000 Singaporeans participated in the public engagement sessions on Long-Term Plan Review between July 2021 and May 2022. They contributed their views and ideas on how to shape a liveable and sustainable built environment over the next 50 years, and to steward our environment for future generations. These ideas and views were exhibited around Singapore and on the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s website for further feedback between June and August 2022, reaching close to 200,000 people.
- REACH has expanded its engagements through e-Listening Points on mobile applications, virtual dialogues, and interactive comics. These, together with existing efforts, gathered feedback from over 70,000 Singaporeans in 2021, up from 59,000 in 2020. REACH has also worked with corporate and community partners to reach out to groups such as healthcare workers and food delivery riders to understand their concerns.
Turning ideas and aspirations into action
In response to the Emerging Stronger Conversation themes and other issues, 35 Singapore Together Alliances for Action (AfAs) were formed between June 2020 to July 2022. The AfAs have brought together more than 140,600 individuals and 1,590 organisations to co-create and implement over 160 projects.
- To position Singapore as the regional and global leading carbon services and trading hub, the AfA on Sustainability engaged more than 70 organisations, including carbon credit buyers and sellers and academia, to identify gaps in the voluntary carbon market that Singapore could plug. This led to the development of Climate Impact X, a carbon marketplace to facilitate price discovery, improve liquidity, and verify the integrity and source of carbon credits; and GreenPass, a one-stop solution for companies to measure, mitigate, and offset their carbon footprint.
- The AfA for Lower-Wage Workers brought together 50 individuals from different backgrounds including the unions, businesses, community groups and youths, and launched 13 projects as at July 2022 to improve opportunities and support for lower-wage workers. One of these projects was the “Makan&Shine” programme for volunteers to learn about the lives of lower-wage workers over casual meals and offer them guidance on jobs and skills.
- The Youth Stewards for Nature AfA had more than 80 youth stewards aged 18 to 25 years undertake 16 biodiversity, conservation, and horticultural projects in 2021. One such project, “Responsible Interactions with Wildlife”, sought to understand the public perception of wildlife feeding through surveys and development of education and outreach initiatives.
Read more: Progress of Singapore Together Movement
The Government has supported Singaporeans to lead their own initiatives in response to national and community challenges.
- Through the annual Youth Action Challenge, more than 700 youths have formed about 180 project teams since 2019 to tackle issues related to the environment, future of work, mental well-being, and vulnerable groups. For example, Urban Origins, which registered as a company after the challenge, raises awareness about the SG Green Plan, food security, and local producers through events and community outreach sessions. They have partnered over 50 merchant partners and over 20 partner organisations on solutions for more sustainable activities in the workplace.
- Singaporeans have initiated many ground-up efforts to show everyday acts of care to their neighbours and to care for vulnerable groups, with support from Our Singapore Fund. In 2020 and 2021, $2.35 million was committed to support 118 ground-up projects. Another $5.1 million has been set aside to support 400 new projects over the next three years.
Engaging seniors during the Circuit Breaker
3Pumpkins, a non-profit arts company, developed “Say Louder Teahouse” to encourage seniors living alone during the Circuit Breaker period, with support from Our Singapore Fund. This radio programme series, available in Chinese dialects, Malay, and Tamil, was loaded onto donated radios and distributed by volunteers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has animated a strong spirit of care, cohesion, and active citizenry. The Government continues to support Singaporeans in strengthening their “gotong royong” spirit by facilitating avenues to donate and volunteer for causes they are passionate about.
- SG Cares Volunteer Centres have been appointed progressively since November 2018 to cover all 24 towns. The centres help to grow and coordinate town-based volunteerism, build volunteer management capabilities and broker partnerships to meet community needs. This includes channeling donations-in-kind such as masks, sanitisers, and essential items to vulnerable households, and matching corporates to serve rental flats through donations and volunteering. Since the initiative started, over 30,000 volunteers have been mobilised to serve 240,000 beneficiaries.
- Many Singaporeans have stepped forward to partner our public agencies, with more than 100,000 volunteers supporting various national causes led by agencies such as Sport Singapore and the National Arts Council.
- To encourage philanthropy through matching grants for donations, the Cultural Matching Fund for arts and heritage causes, and the One Team Singapore Fund for sports causes were extended to Financial Years 2024 and 2026 respectively.
Building a united and cohesive society
Based on the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s Social Pulse Survey in 2021, about four in five Singaporeans felt that we are one united people. Nevertheless, achieving our vision of unity in diversity remains a work in progress. Incidents of racial and religious intolerance continue to persist, with police reports on incidents involving racial or religious friction.
All of us have an important part to play in building a united and cohesive society.
- To strengthen racial and religious harmony, more than 700 religious organisations have affirmed the Commitment to Safeguard Religious Harmony since it was launched in 2019.
- In 2021, the National Integration Council launched four AfA projects involving 20 partners and 15 organisations from the public and private sectors, to address issues from supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, to helping foreign professionals settle into and contribute to the community.
- 140 Singaporeans participated in citizen workgroups on our National Symbols and the Singapore Citizenship Journey in 2020 and 2021. Some suggestions from the participants include promoting the appreciation of our history and values through the use of national symbols and reviewing the content of the citizenship journey to better help new citizens settle in and understand our values and norms.
Taking Singapore forward together
The journey ahead will not be easy. The Forward Singapore exercise, which started in June 2022, will help us to reflect and act on both our aspirations and our anxieties so that we can strengthen our solidarity and mutual responsibility as one united people. If we have a strong sense of belonging to our nation, and continue to maintain strong bonds with each other, we will be able to build a better and stronger Singapore for many generations to come.