Project Accelerator: Laying the Foundation for Project Success

Equity Fellows undertake six 1-week learning sessions over the course of an initial year. Even as a Fellows’ cohort completes its initial year, selection of the next cohort is announced. After orientation, Global Learning, and Asia Trek, the Fellows go into retreat in a Project Accelerator, which focuses on their second year projects. Through these projects, CMB’s Equity Initiative Fellows get the chance to translate their leadership and communication training and their understanding of health equity into meaningful collaboration.

At the Project Accelerator, held October 27 – November 3, 2019 in Penang, Malaysia, Fellows in the 2019 cohort took steps to move their project concepts beyond shared areas of interest to effective frameworks for collaboration. They used self-analysis to better understand their own work styles and those of their project partners; experimented with theater techniques to rehearse the difficult conversations that may arise over the course of a project; described the risks they might encounter and identified steps to mitigate them; and presented their project ideas for feedback. EI Senior Fellows Jeremy Lim (2016) and Law Aritao (2017) were among the resource persons who facilitated consultations with Fellows on their project concepts.

The hard work of Fellows was evident in the first drafts of their project proposals, which they submitted to EI staff for review on November 18. Collaborative teams of Fellows designed project proposals that addressed health equity from a number of angles, including the following:

  • improving access to primary care for indigenous, hard-to-reach, and marginalized groups in Cambodia;
  • creating an art-based health literacy toolkit for migrant workers in Malaysia;
  • studying the feasibility and effectiveness of the “5S” (sort, systematize, shine, standardize, and sustain) healthcare quality improvement tool in the Indonesian context;
  • addressing the “nutrition resilience” of children in disaster-prone areas of the Philippines;
  • increasing self-awareness of implicit biases among Equity Fellows; and
  • developing a short video on the challenges of access to sexual health services of men living with HIV in Laos and Thailand.

The Equity Initiative is a long-term program to nurture the development of a new generation of leaders for health equity in Asia and to build a network of multisectoral actors to advance health equity. It was launched in 2016 with funding from CMB and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Further information can be found on the Equity Initiative website.