On June 10, 2022, The Asia Foundation’s Coalitions for Change (CfC) program, with support from the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, hosted its third online course, “Development Entrepreneurship: 12 Keys to Successful Policy Reform.” The four-week course brought together 74 development professionals from 19 countries across Asia to learn adaptive management and entrepreneurial principles. The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in the Philippines, Sam Chittick, described the course as fit for anyone interested in pursuing positive policy changes in their communities. “We hope that by sharing what we’ve learned from combining the technical and political dimensions of our practice, you (learners) can adapt these experiences to achieve your own development goals,” he added.
Chittick also shared his insights on the characteristics of those who successfully apply the Development Entrepreneurship approach: (1) they identify the change they would like to see in the world and work tirelessly to pursue that; (2) they work with collaborators and partners throughout the change process; and (3) they find ways to marry the technical and political aspects of the change they are pursuing.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J Robinson AO congratulated the graduates for their commitment to learning about Development Entrepreneurship. He also left them with a challenge: “While this marks the end of the course, it signals the beginning of your future as development entrepreneurs, ready to take up opportunities to create meaningful and impactful change in the Philippines and across the Indo-Pacific.”
Ambassador Robinson remarked on Australia and The Asia Foundation’s shared vision of helping and working with local leaders towards Philippine development, prosperity, and stability. The Development Entrepreneurship online course is part of a shared vision to impart leaders with approaches to selecting and pursuing technically sound and politically feasible reforms. The course is informed by CfC’s experience delivering policy solutions to intractable development challenges and other international development cases.
Learners sharing their reflections upon completing the course convey hopefulness and its relevance.
Anastasia, a Strategic Partnerships Officer of International Care Ministries based in Hong Kong, shared how the course inspired her and her team to “start in any capacity, seize the right opportunity, work with unexpected allies, and be open-minded in reform work.”
Likewise, Joan Armada-Urieta, Strategic Support Manager of Unilab Foundation in the Philippines, appreciated the Development Entrepreneurship concepts of making small bets, embracing the unknown, and building on the partnerships and collaborations that one currently has.
Junily Toata Wanga, Chief Dental Officer of the Honiara City Council Health Service of the Solomon Islands, hopes that after applying the principles of Development Entrepreneurship, dental health care in her country will be made more accessible for ordinary people.
Deidre Joyce Dalawampu, from the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde shared that the course encourages her to take small bets and work on equal rights for persons with disabilities. “I would be happy to share this with my deaf colleagues, and hopefully, they can be part of the future learners — as they continue to advocate for themselves.”
This is the third cohort of learners graduating from the Development Entrepreneurship online course since July 2021. The cohort is a mix of development professionals from NGOs, academe, government, and research institutions from Australia, Bangladesh, China, East Timor, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Nepal, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.