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News > Profiles > ISKL Alumnus Offers App Pro Bono During MCO

ISKL Alumnus Offers App Pro Bono During MCO

In true Panther spirit, ISKL Alumnus, Rowan Pearce ('00) is offering his online logistics App pro bono to NGOs and governments to help them connect quickly.

22 Apr 2020
Profiles
Rowan is on the right with !Kontakte co-founder, Marc Wohling on left)
Rowan is on the right with !Kontakte co-founder, Marc Wohling on left)

In true Panther spirit, ISKL Alumnus, Rowan Pearce (‘00) is offering his online logistics App pro bono to NGOs and governments to help them connect quickly with workers and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rowan says, “Offering !Kontakte pro bono wasn’t ever a debate we had - we have a platform that could help organize more people on a daily basis, resulting in more supplies reaching the frontlines and the vulnerable communities. If there ever was a time for the community to come together, it is now.”

!Kontakte has been taken up by one NGO that delivers essential food to disadvantaged communities around KL, but Rowan hopes more will take up the offer.

After completing K to Grade 7 at ISKL, Rowan moved to Jakarta where he attended Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS), graduating in 2000. With a wealth of experience in providing project support services to the energy sector and living again in Kuala Lumpur, Rowan says he and his co-founder had a “lightbulb moment” that led to the development of this exciting App.

ISKL’s Director of Development and Alumni Engagement, Lynette MacDonald, asked Rowan about his motivation for sharing the !Kontakte App and, of course, his time at ISKL.

LM - You moved to Jakarta from Kuala Lumpur in 1995. What brought you back to KL?

After I left ISKL in 1995, I moved to Jakarta and attended JIS until I graduated in 2000. After graduating I returned to Australia and attended the University of New South Wales double majoring in a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and Political Science. In 2007 I was offered a job back in KL working for an Oil & Gas consultancy. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to get back to Malaysia - how it had changed!

LM - Where did the idea for !Kontakte come from?

The company I worked for did a lot of recruitment for ad-hoc, short notice call out work. We tried every recruitment platform in the market - LinkedIn, Jobs boards, an internal database - none of them could get you someone with one, two or even seven days’ notice. My business partner and I had our lightbulb moment during a phone call. We spent the next three months developing the !Kontakte platform where active job seekers could update their availability via a mobile app.

LM - Why is it important to you right now, under the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, to provide this platform pro bono? What do you hope to achieve?

What is happening with COVID-19 and the MCO has caught the world unprepared and off guard. Governments are having to make wartime decisions involving protecting their people and the economy. A lot of the volunteers on the frontlines making and delivering essential supplies, food and medicine are ensuring we all can stay home healthy. Thousands of people, and soon to be millions, may lose their jobs. 

We know our platform can help frontline organizations manage their large databases of volunteers and workers. Imagine having 500 volunteers and you need to know who is free tomorrow to cook 600 meals - !Kontakte can do this in seconds.

Offering !Kontakte pro bono wasn’t ever a debate we had - we have a platform that could help organize more people on a daily basis, resulting in more supplies reaching the frontlines and the vulnerable communities. If there ever was a time for the community to come together, it is now.

LM - Tell me about the relationship with SESO - how did you make the connection? How is the App helping them?

My wife does some volunteering and had a list of NGO’s actively helping during the MCO. I reached out to all of them and SESO got back to me. They understood immediately how !Kontakte would help them. They already had lots of volunteers send in their details, but without some way to manage them, they lacked the ability to manage their volunteers efficiently. Using !Kontakte, within 5 seconds they would be able to filter through hundreds of volunteers and see who was immediately ready to pick up some supplies in a specific area.

LM - What are your favorite memories of ISKL?

I have super fond memories of everything ISKL from Connie’s curry puffs (30 cents) and cinnamon rolls (60 cents!!), Sammi the soccer field attendant, Mr Goh at the swimming pool, all the ISKL teachers who taught there for 20+ years developing a world-class curriculum (all are retired now), IASAS, Malaysia Week, UN Day….the list goes on.

I had a wonderful experience and am still in touch with teachers and friends from as far back as elementary.

LM - A final word?

Any organization or volunteers, wherever you are, please reach out to us. More information on !Kontakte can be found at www.kontakte.io

 

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