Regional Alumni Workshop 2017

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Applications for the workshop are now closed.

Regional Alumni Workshop 2017

Australia Awards Alumni Women Leadership Network


Australia Awards South and West Asia conducts one Regional Alumni Workshop each year. Each workshop is intended to be uniquely conceived to focus either on a particular sector or on participants from a particular interest group. This will be the third such workshop that the Program has organised, after the Women in Leadership Workshop in Colombo in November 2015, and the Inclusive Education Workshop in Kathmandu in November 2016.

Regional Alumni Workshops present an opportunity for Australia Awards alumni in the South and West Asia region to present their work, share their experiences with peers formally and informally, and build and strengthen relevant professional networks across the region. This extends the alumni experience beyond the national level and brings an enhanced professional development aspect to alumni engagement.

Workshop Topic: Alumni Innovation Challenge

“Innovation can improve the lives of poor people. The poor in developing countries face substantial challenges in accessing basic services, finding jobs and lifting themselves out of poverty. Innovative development solutions, such as oral rehydration therapy, childhood vaccines, conditional cash transfers and higher-yielding and disease-resistant crops, have saved and improved millions of lives.”

– Australian Aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability

The Australian Government has allocated AUD 140 million over four years to encourage innovative development solutions. This innovation funding is used to identify, evaluate and help scale up innovations with high potential to generate significant development results. In March 2015 the Australian Government established the InnovationXchange to revolutionise the delivery and effectiveness of Australia’s aid program, and mainstream innovation throughout DFAT.

In addition to establishing a separate innovation hub within DFAT, Australia has also become a partner in the Global Innovation Fund (GIF) (along with the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Sweden), which invests in social innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world.

The GIF definition of ‘innovation’ broadly includes new business models, policy practices, technologies, behavioural insights, or ways of delivering products and services that benefit the poor in developing countries – in short any solution that has potential to address an important development problem more effectively than existing approaches.

In November 2016, the Government launched the Global Innovation Strategy, a whole-of-government approach to advance Australia through international collaboration. The Strategy supports economic and science diplomacy efforts and, amongst other benefits, will leverage Australia’s global alumni to foster new ideas to respond to emerging global opportunities and challenges.

The Australia Awards South and West Asia Alumni Innovation Challenge will support the Australian Government’s objectives in the field of development innovation; Australia Awards program outcomes; the Global Innovation Strategy; and the Global Alumni Engagement Strategy, by connecting, mobilising and celebrating development innovators amongst the Australia Awards alumni in the region.

Through this activity, Australia Awards alumni from each country program in the region will be invited to submit proposals to receive a small grant with which to pilot a development innovation in any DFAT priority area. Applications can be from individuals or groups of Australia Awards alumni. Applications from groups comprising alumni from different South and West Asian countries will be considered favourably. Each grant will be worth a maximum of AUD 3,000. The best five proposals from each country will each receive a grant – making a potential total of 35 innovations being piloted. The proposals will be assessed based on feasibility (technical and political); relevance to the country; potential impact on community; and how the project uses the skills/networks that the alumnus developed during their time and study in Australia.
Detailed guidelines for application and Small Grants can be found here.


The Regional Alumni Workshop 2017 is designed to:

i) Enable the selected Australia Awards alumni to pilot their innovations by providing them financial, networking, and mentoring support;
ii) Foster linkages between development innovators amongst the Australia Awards alumni in the South and West Asia region;
iii) Provide a professional development opportunity for grantees to present their development innovations, and be exposed to other development innovations from the region;
iv) Provide an opportunity for DFAT Posts to examine and select development innovations for further funding and mentoring from the Australia Development Accelerator, managed by InnovationXchange for DFAT Posts;
v) Form a Community of Practice for development innovators from South and West Asia.

Workshop Structure:

Each selected grantee will be linked with a mentor who will advise and support the grantee to pilot their development innovation. The mentors will be selected from the BRAC Social Innovation Lab’s professional network.

Every two months, each grantee will be required to submit a brief, 30-second video update on their pilot initiative to the Australia Awards South and West Asia Program.

In October 2017, the grantees from the region will mobilise in Dhaka for a five-day Regional Alumni Workshop.

The first two days of the workshop will be an internal Design Sprint held at the BRAC CDM in Savar. During this Sprint, expert mentors from Bangladesh will sit with each grantee to examine their pilot innovations and provide advice on how the innovations can be refined and scaled up.

The third and fourth days of the workshop will be a conference where the grantees will showcase their innovations through presentations to Heads of Mission from South and West Asia, Government of Bangladesh Ministry Officials, International Development Agencies, fellow Alumni, and other key stakeholders and sectoral experts.

An exhibition showcasing the outcomes of the innovations will be also organised at the Lakeshore Hotel on Day three and four.

The fifth and final day of the workshop will be an Innovation Tour, where participants will be divided into groups and go on field trips to experience first-hand DFAT- and/or Australia alumni-supported development innovations in Bangladesh.

Eligibility Criteria:

Alumni may apply for a small grant either as individuals, or as groups consisting of two to five alumni. Applications from groups comprising alumni from different countries in the region will be viewed favourably. To be eligible for a small grant and to participate in the Regional Alumni Workshop, alumni must meet the following criteria:

Be an Australia Awards alumnus, from either:

  • the DFAT-funded Australia Awards Scholarships, Australia Awards Fellowships, or Short Course Awards;
  • the former AusAID-funded Australian Development Scholarships, and/or Australian Leadership Awards programs, (or earlier programs like the Colombo Plan, John Crawford Scholarship Scheme, or Australian International Development Assistance Bureau (AIDAB) Scholarships);
  • the Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships Program; or
  • the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research Scholarships Program.
  • Be registered on the Australia Global Alumni Website at the time of application: 
  • Be residing in, and intend to use the grant to pilot an innovative activity in an Australian Government priority sector in one of the seven participating program countries;
  • Agree to participate in a Fraud Management and Child Protection briefing prior to receiving the grant, and use and acquit the grant according to DFAT and Program guidelines provided during the briefing;
  • Be available to travel to Bangladesh for the Regional Alumni Workshop and have a reasonable expectation that they will be released by their employer to attend the Workshop.

Small Grants Scheme:

Grants can be used for the following:

  • Piloting new and innovative technologies, designs, or approaches that have potential to contribute to national or regional development;
  • Organising in-country professional workshops or short training courses, focusing on innovative activities in Australian Government priority sectors, to share knowledge/skills gained in Australia;
  • Advocacy activities aimed at improving community awareness of issues relevant to advancing development in Australian Government priority sectors;
  • Piloting new technologies, designs or approaches that have the potential to empower women and girls, people from traditionally marginalised groups, and/or people with a disability;
  • Supporting in-country small scale development activity, which contributes towards the development of one or more Australian Government development priorities;
  • Activities that will further foster people-to-people links between Australia and countries in the South and West Asia region.  

Grants will not support:                                           

  • Pre-investment/feasibility studies or pilot demonstration projects related to potential commercial activities;
  • Purchase of non-expendable supplies or equipment, unless essential to the conduct of the project or program, and listed in the approved grant proposal;
  • The implementation of Development Impact Plans, Return to Work Plans, Reintegration Plans, or Re-entry Action Plans;
  • Travel to other countries;
  • Bank bonds or collateral for taking loans;
  • Activities that have already received full funding from other sources;
  • Fees/salaries/per diems to alumni who are involved in the execution of the approved proposal for any work/tasks carried out;
  • Academic or short course training for individual alumni (i.e. the grants will not be awarded for personal capacity building of the applicant);
  • The publication or public presentation of personal research articles or papers;
  • Activities that require the granting of intellectual property rights; or
  • The purchase of services and/or supplies not listed in the approved grant proposal.
  • The proposed activity in the grant application MUST align with an Australian Government priority sector in the country or region in which it is to be implemented.  Priority sectors are presented in Australian Government Aid Investment Plans which can be found on Australian Embassy and High Commission websites and the links below:


Afghanistan Nepal
Bangladesh Pakistan
Bhutan Sri Lanka

Small grants schemes as an Australia Awards alumni engagement activity

Small grants schemes have been run by several Australia Awards programs globally, including Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Africa.

Some examples of successful innovations piloted through Australia Awards small grants schemes include:

  • An “Ask the Dr” initiative, which delivered e-health services to Ugandans through short message services (SMS), Facebook and email. Through this initiative which has reached thousands of people, a team of three medical doctors responds to medical queries, thus reaching people who for various reasons are not able to access medical information.
  • A ‘Micronutrients for Better Health’ project in Cameroon, which aimed at alleviating micronutrient deficiency among children under five years of age. Distribution targeted schools, health units and communities, reaching over 10,400 children, and built the capacity of health workers and volunteers who can support subsequent distribution campaigns.
  • Household-level biogas plants in Pakistan, which have helped reduce health and safety hazards, provide beneficiaries with a steady supply of gas for cooking, reduced food preparation times, and generate income through the production of slurry that can be sold in the market as organic fertiliser. The pilot was taken up by the local government, which constructed 100 more plants in the area.
  • A project in Pakistan that educated farmers to produce, market and sell their products directly into the markets in order to generate higher profits. The project focused on training young female farmers to develop packaging for their products. This not only assisted the farmers in generating more income but also empowers them as decision makers within their households.
  • In the Philippines, Alumni Grants supported the Pushpin Movement. This is a global social enterprise, formed by Australia Awards alumni, that connects and inspires individuals and communities through immersive volunteer experiences and meaningful travel in the Philippines. The Movement supports Australian “voluntourists” to undertake social development activities in selected areas in the country.

Application Process:

The application form can be downloaded from the download section of Australia Awards South and West Asia website at  Applicants must complete the Application Form, Activity Work Plan Template (Annex 1); Budget Template (Annex 2); and Application Checklist (Annex 3) and submit them, along with relevant supporting documentation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wednesday 19 April 2017. 

Applications received after this date will not be accepted.  Applications should be typewritten on A4-sized paper and be no more than eight pages long (excluding annexes). When presenting the Budget, please provide a breakdown of budget items where applicable.  Applicants – either individuals or groups – can only submit one proposal for this initiative.

Approval Process and Selection Criteria:

The Australia Awards South and West Asia Regional Hub will oversee the shortlisting of eligible proposals and the Australian High Commission or Embassy in each program country will select the successful proposals.  Decisions on applications will be announced by mid-May. 

Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • The proposal is realistic and supported by a well-defined work plan and timeline for execution.
  • The proposed activity is in a thematic area closely aligned with Australian Government development priorities in the country or region.
  • The proposal clearly demonstrates how the activity could add value to existing systems or processes that deliver developmental benefits.
  • The proposed activity is clearly linked to the knowledge and skills the alumnus gained through the Australia Award completed.


Australia Awards will cover all expenses related to travel such as return economy-class airfares, local transport, accommodation, airport transfers, visa fees, travel insurance, per diem and other workshop related expenses of the selected participants for travel to Bangladesh.