Get to know the people who are making a difference in the world of international development and philanthropy
2. How Seed Funding Gave Life to an Innovative Idea During Covid33:17Oxygen is essential for life, and plays a key role in medical care. During the Covid-19 pandemic the need for oxygen had never been greater. However, in many low-income countries bottled oxygen is not readily available. Consequently, oxygen concentrators (a device used to increase the percentage of oxygen by removing nitrogen from room air) become vital. However, due to high maintenance and limited supply chains oxygen concentrators are often prematurely written-off as no longer repairable in the Majority World.It was in this urgent context that Dr. Gerry Douglas and Dr. Timothy Mtonga, Founder and Director of the Global Health Informatics Institute of Malawi and Open02 respectively, realised there was a life saving fix that could breathe new life into Malawi's health care system. Rather than throwing out the whole oxygen canister - you can refresh the zeolite crystals - the chemical responsible for removing the nitrogen.During the second wave of Covid-19, their innovative idea truly came to life through a new partnership and catalytic seed funding from the DAK Foundation under the leadership of Marnie Rickards, DAK Foundation’s Operations Director. By December 2021 - Open02 had repaired 649 oxygen concentrators servicing 58 hospitals, making an additional 657,860 cubic metres of oxygen available - enough to support up to 34,553 babies with a continuous flow of oxygen for one week.The team at AIDN are thrilled to launch this special edition of #philanthropod, where host Anubha Rawat sits down with Gerry, Timothy and Marnie to discuss this pioneering global health initiative. Tune in to learn more about Malawi’s health sector, the challenges of working in the development sector during Covid-19, and the importance of creative ideas and flexible partnerships. Gerry finishes with advice to others who may have a simple yet effective idea about how to approach life-saving seed funding.
1. Leading a humanitarian engineering charity as a woman leader in the face of the growing climate crisis28:08In our first episode of our new season, Philanthropod’s host Anubha Rawat sits down with Eleanor Loudon.Eleanor is an experienced international development leader with a deep, lifelong commitment to social and environmental justice. She has spent over 10 years in professional leadership roles, including in Sri Lanka (ChildFund International), and Cambodia and Thailand (Australian Volunteer Program). Eleanor is also on the board of the social enterprise ATEC.Eleanor is currently the CEO of Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) – a humanitarian engineering charity that uses the power of engineering to help create a more equitable and sustainable world. They work with communities in Australia, Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu in need to provide access to clean water, renewable energy, disaster recovery and develop sustainable infrastructure. At the heart of their programs they ask: How do we engineer differently? How do we engineer sustainably? How do we engineer with community?In the episode, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about EWB’s huge remit - from being integrated into university engineering curriculums, to building technical capacity of in-country engineers, to challenging gender norms and supporting women engineers, to working on major infrastructure projects in Timor-Leste. A focus on Indigenous outreach is also core to their ethos. The episode, launched on IWD 2023, is also a must-listen for those interested in the intersection of gender, engineering and women's leadership more broadly. Eleanor and Anubha discuss women’s leadership in a sector where women’s representation drops from 70% across the sector to 40% at a senior level. Eleanor provides sound advice for other women looking to take up leadership positions in the international development sector and beyond. Eleanor sheds light on her experience of a changing ecosystem – it is now the private sector who come to EWB to ask about Sustainable Development Goal 2030 strategies. For Eleanor, this represents the fact that issues like climate change are no longer ‘dirty words’ in the urgent development context of today. To learn more about Engineers Without Borders follow the link: https://ewb.org.au
4. Perseverance despite the unimaginable: a commitment to education, community and peace in the DRC and Uganda40:34Content Warning// trauma, violence, gender-based violencePlease be advised that listener discretion is advised as some parts of this conversation are distressingIn 1995, Benson Wereje's village in the Democratic Republic of Congo was attacked by rebels. He was separated from his parents and he endured unimaginable bloodshed before reaching a refugee camp in Uganda. More than five million of Benson's friends and countrymen have been killed in his home area. Dedicated to empowering youth and imbued with a deep admiration for the transformative impact that education can provide his country, Benson co-founded and became Executive Director of CIYOTA in 2005. Today, CIYOTA educates thousands of children and youths in refugee camps, focuses on community building and strives to unite tribes in the DRC to bring enduring and sustainable peace. Join Philanthropod’s host, Anubha Rawat, in an eye-opening and honest discussion with Benson about experiencing and overcoming trauma, how a commitment to equality, forgiveness and education was instilled in him by his father, and how he continues to be inspired by his wife - a modern ‘heroine’. Benson leaves you with a powerful message as to why he believes it is his mission to train young people in responsible leadership and create a unified vision for their country.For his work, Benson has been awarded the Desmond Tutu fellowship with African Leadership Institute at Oxford University in 2013, an Echoing Green fellowship in New York, the ASHOKA fellowship in 2015 and was a Tony Elumelu Foundation awardee in 2019.To learn more about CIYOTA follow the link: https://www.coburwas.org/
3. Yevu Clothing: realising the transformative impact of economically empowered women34:41Anna Robertson first travelled to Ghana as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development. With a natural interest for entrepreneurship, innovation and accessible finance for the financially excluded and underserved, Anna quickly learnt that 80% of populations in developing contexts earn a precarious and often dangerous living in the informal sector, and the most vulnerable in this group are women. Inspired by the transformative impact of economically empowered women, Anna founded Yevu in 2012. Yevu is a for-profit social enterprise, manufacturing and selling its clothes online to a global customer base, whilst economically empowering women in Ghana’s informal sector through fair and sustainable employment opportunities. Anna has also worked as the Head of Innovation Labs at Affinity Africa, which delivered a patentable prototype for Ghana's first digital retail bank, and as a Policy Advisor Deputy Lord Mayor at the City of Sydney. Join Philanthropod’s host, Anubha Rawat, in discussion with Anna who reflects on privilege, power and the role that she can play in connecting the bespoke and beautiful Ghanian textile industry to overseas markets. Anna highlights the importance of always centering the Ghanaian women who work with Yevu at the core of the business, collective and transparent decision-making, shared learning, and mutual goal-setting. Anna also speaks to the changing social enterprise landscape she has witnessed since Yevu’s inception.
2. Leveraging mass media for social good30:33Roy Head is an innovator and leader in the field when it comes to leveraging communications and mass media for good. Roy started his career as a documentary film director for the BBC, before joining UNPeacekeeping. There, he set up the UN's first radio station (in Cambodia) and its largest TV operation (during the Bosnian war). Roy founded the Health Division of the BBC World Service Trust in 1997, bringing together the BBC and the World Health Organisation. In 2005, Roy founded Development Media International (DMI) which aims to create evidence-based behaviour change campaigns to improve health and save lives. With a focus on delivering campaigns at scale to maximise impact and cost-effectiveness, DMI uses storytelling to motivate change and use scientific methods to test the impact of their interventions.Join Philanthropod’s host, Anubha Rawat, in conversation with Roy to learn how mass media, when employed strategically - with local knowledge and engaging storytelling practice - can be used as a key tool to strengthen public health outcomes and reach millions of people at one time. This episode also comes recommended for those interested in complex monitoring and evaluation and campaign design. Roy discusses the inherent issues in measuring huge public health prevention campaigns through mass media - which strive to measure complex, long-term or intangible outcomes: including changing ‘social norms’ or shifting attitudes towards health practices. To learn more about Development Media International follow the link: https://www.developmentmedia.net
1. Ensuring women are not just surviving but thriving through their childbirth journey in Uganda34:45Twenty years ago Rachel Zaslow practiced midwifery during the Civil War in Uganda. She witnessed the explicit need for more midwives, more resources and better training. On the other hand, traditional midwives and their practices were not being adequately used despite their personal connections to local women. Inspired by her mantra ‘if I wouldn't feel comfortable giving birth with this level of care than I shouldn't expect anyone else to’ she set forth in her mission to improve midwifery in Uganda - in partnership with and primarily learning from the women and traditional midwives around her. Since then, Rachel founded and is now the Executive Director of Mother Health International (MHI), an organization aimed at building and sustaining birth centers and training midwives in areas with the highest burden of perinatal mortality. Her area of expertise is in developing midwifery models of care that blend clinical excellence with culturally specific practice for improving health outcomes in the majority world. This model has proven so successful it is now being taught in Universities in conjunction with Yale School of Midwifery and Makerere University. Join our host Anubha Rawat as she learns about Rachel’s extraordinary journey: including the need for woman-centered care, passion for maternal health and how she balances this work with being a mother to her own ‘global citizen’ daughter Amaya. To learn more about Mother Health International (MHI) follow the link: https://motherhealth.org
5. The Ripple Foundation’s guiding philosophy and their ‘people first’ approach to philanthropy33:35Eight years ago, Angus Grinham and his wife founded The Ripple Foundation - a philanthropic fund focused on poverty alleviation. Philanthropod host Anubha Rawat chats to Angus about his guiding philosophy that all lives are equal and how this has led The Ripple Foundation to primarily fund international projects that are focused on health, education and income for disadvantaged people. Both Anubha and Angus are on the board of Partners for Equity so with their funding hats on, they delve into some of the key themes that have been discussed in season four of Philanthropod. From trust based philanthropy to funding early stage international projects, reporting and administration versus project costs, this episode, at its core, is a discussion on how to back the people who have the best solutions to the world’s most long term and complex problems. Notes & LinksPartners for EquityThe way we think about charity is dead wrong TED Talk by Dan PollottaDevelopment Media International
4. Johanna de Burca on the fire in her belly, stories of change and trust-based philanthropy31:50Johanna de Burca left her corporate job in London 9 years ago to apply her skills overseas with organisations tackling poverty in Central America, India and Cambodia. As she began to learn the complexities of poverty in different contexts, Johanna came to the realisation that no-one is more qualified to innovate effective and appropriate solutions for their own communities than local leaders. With a fire in her belly, Jo and her childhood friend set up Just Peoples - a matchmaking service, as she describes it, connecting Australian and Kiwi philanthropists directly with innovative grassroots charity leaders across East Africa, Asia and Mexico. As the Co-founder and CEO of Just Peoples, Jo is working with givers and doers to facilitate collaborations that create lasting and meaningful change. In this interview, Jo chats about her passion for trust based philanthropy and some of the stories of change that keep her motivated. For more on Just Peoples, visit their website: https://www.justpeoples.org/
3. Life in Madagascar, re-orientating the power balance back to the community, and walking in the steps of Paul Farmer to achieve health equity39:24Tara Loyd is the executive director of PIVOT. She has lived and worked in Lesotho, Malawi, and Madagascar with Peace Corps, Partners in Health, and PIVOT across the past 21 years.In this interview, Tara has an open chat with our host Anubha Rawat about her life’s work in providing dignified and equitable health to all. Tara describes the inspiration she took from Paul Farmer, a giant in global public health and what life is like in Madagascar, not only for her, but for women who are seeking healthcare. As the first employee of PIVOT, which is a global health organisations partnering with Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health, Tara has built the team that now consists of over 200 staff. It was early in 2020 that Tara recognised that the way they’d been doing things - they was she’d been doing it - ran contrary to PIVOT’s mission. With newfound knowledge of the importance of decolonising global health, Tara made some big decisions to shift the organisation’s centre of gravity to where it belongs: in Madagascar.Notes:PIVOT is a global health organisation partnering with Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health to transform Ifanadiana district into a model of universal health coverage for the country. Since 2014, PIVOT has supported more than 600,000 patient visits to the public health centres and hospitals which they work to strengthen through adequate staffing, dignified spaces for service delivery, and a robust supply chain. PIVOT is part of the Community Health Impact Coalition, working to establish fair wages and adequate support for community health workers nationwide. They work in a district that contains the World Heritage Site, Ranomafana National Park, and collaborate closely with the local partners who founded it.https://www.pivotworks.org/ Community Health Impact Coalition: https://chwimpact.org/ Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy KidderTara’s article in Stanford Social Innovation Review, ‘Moving Closer to the Problem and Closer to the Solution’