ASSIST in India
First significant move was the establishment of an ASSIST office in Chennai, India. This does not only facilitate communication with Indian partners but was also a strategic step to extend partnership networks in the South Asian region. Executive Director Platosen Samarasam is now working with new partners in India, while Ms. Lisa Aldrian, ASSIST Program Manager formerly based in Manila, moved in to India to pursue PPPs.
PPPs, EU Projects granted
Second gear to strengthen ASSIST presence in Asia was the acquisition of 15 new projects which increased the number of ongoing projects to 22. Nearly half of all current projects are so-called Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), co-funded and implemented by ASSIST in cooperation with German or Western European private companies or their subsidiaries in developing or emerging countries, with funding received from German development aid organizations.
Furthermore, ASSIST has also been entrusted with new action grants funded by the European Union (EU) and by system organizations of the United Nations (UN) such as UNEP and UNIDO. The current number of projects funded by these multilateral bodies is therefore much higher than ever before, four and three projects respectively.
Most of the ongoing projects have a strong focus on sustainable transformation and help participating companies implement future-oriented business approaches, such as energy and resource efficiency, responsible consumption and production, food safety, data security, quality management and sustainability reporting. Currently, two projects deal with social improvement areas, more specifically with the empowerment of women victim survivors of domestic violence and with gender-sensitive justice and healing. The geographic region in which the ongoing projects are implemented is limited to Asia
The majority of projects, more than 40 % (or nine projects), is carried out in the Philippines, followed by India with nearly 20% (or four projects). Some initiatives in China have just commenced while a project in Vietnam was recently accomplished.
More people, more opportunities
Aside from Sheena Carmel Opulencia, currently the Project Manager for Social Improvement thematic areas, and Margaret Neena, Partner and Networks Manager and Project Manager for Sustainable Transformation, who both joined ASSIST during the first semester, new additions to the team last November are: Paula Bianca Lapuz, Melba V. Tutor, Marivic S. Mamaradlo, and Margaret P. Yarcia (please see sidebar for their profiles).
Moreover, ASSIST also guided two student interns from Austria, Ms. Katharina Hofstätter (from February to July 2010) and Ms. Andrea Weinzirl (from July to December 2010), both of them currently pursuing their bachelor’s degree in Export-oriented management at the IMC Krems, Austria. Currently, Lukas Stummer of Austria is also serving as a student intern from the University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria.
A new team for the 24×7 Guru Philippines, an ASSIST Initiative, has been set-up to provide special learning opportunities for the high school students in the Philippines.
Bracing for the future
As ASSIST strengthens its manpower and extends its initiative, the team is now eyeing the founding of an ASSIST office in Indonesia.
Mr. Sreenivas Narayanan, Group Managing Director for ASSIST, is also positive in establishing ASSIST presence in Africa. “ASSIST strives to get more opportunities and provide social improvement and sustainable transformation in Africa. 2011 is a promising year for all of us, and we intend to become bigger and better with the hope of bringing ASSIST to the rest of the world especially for our People and our Planet.”