Fourth Batch of Development Professionals Start Their Pursuit of Positive Policy Changes

March 31, 2023 — The Asia Foundation, with the support of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, hosted the commencement ceremony for the fourth batch of completers, the Development Entrepreneurship: 12 Keys to Successful Policy Reform.  

Thirty-three development practitioners completed the four-week online course, representing the Philippines, Cambodia, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.  

“We hope that by sharing what we have learned in combining the technical and the political dimensions of development practice, learners can apply this to their own development goals—whether they are working on environment, transport issues, gender, or working on peace. Any field requires an understanding of the technical dimensions: what you are trying to achieve. This should be matched with the political realities:  where the possibilities for change might be,” said Sam Chittick, country representative in the Philippines, The Asia Foundation.  

Chittick recognized the Australian Government’s support of the learning initiative, “giving us the space to develop this course, and being true partners in implementing Coalitions for Change program in the Philippines.” 

Deputy Head of Mission of the Australian Embassy to the Philippines, Moya Collett, said that Australia is proud to support Coalitions for Change, which has delivered transformative reforms over the years by applying the principles of Development Entrepreneurship. “Australia hopes that our countries can create a future where we feel safe from the threats of climate change, conflicts, impunity, and terrorism. A country where there is an abundance of trade and job opportunities, and where people can access quality health care, education, and social services,” said Collett. 

“Our heartfelt congratulations on completing this course. You are now part of a community of more than 300 participants you can collaborate with. We want to hear more from you on how we can improve the course and how it has been helpful for you,” Collett enthused. 

Learners’ reflections 

The Development Entrepreneurship online course made a mark on its learners. Three graduates reflect on their experience:  

Alexa Yadao of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) is no stranger to Development Entrepreneurship, having worked with Coalitions for Change before on electoral reforms. But she still found the course useful. “This course put things into perspective for me. It introduced me to other development reforms beyond elections and opened up the chance to learn from other reform leaders,” she said.  

Jasmine Castro-Abing of Modern Nanays of Mindanao shared her three takeaways from the course: “First, we do not need to change our goals. We only need to change our strategy. The second is to ‘Just Start’ the work. Looking back at our 2017 Marawi siege experience, we did not have any funds but wanted to build safe spaces for mothers in the evacuation centers. With the principle of “just start”, we were able to set up two mother-friendly safe spaces in evacuation centers and two functional community kitchens. Third is to be prepared to grab the opportunity when it presents itself.” 

Maybelle “Dimple Abogado-Quilnat, Councilor of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental shared that “the beauty of Development Entrepreneurship is that it challenges searchers and dreamers to find solutions. We in public service pursue many reforms, and at times it will frustrate you. We will always need friends and allies, so it is good to know that people are working for a better tomorrow.” 

With the online course, some mentees may be invited to participate in the Development Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program, where individuals or groups will be matched with a mentor to work on policy reform.  

The Development Entrepreneurship Online Course is open to learners from all over the world. Since 2021, the program has yielded 236 course graduates from 22 countries.  

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific. Informed by decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations. 

Related locations: Philippines
Related topics: Coalitions for Change

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Eelynn Sim, Director, Media & Strategy
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