Updated: Feb 3, 2021
Humanitarian engineer back from a tour of Southeast Asia as part of competitive Australian-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program
2019 A2ELP cohort pictured at the Australian Consulate-General, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Photo courtesy of Asialnk)
Masy Consultants Co-Founder and social impact enthusiast Thomas Da Jose, left Sydney on 10 August 2019 for an eight-day intensive workshop based in Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Jakarta focusing on the theme of “Smart Cities”.
The Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP) is a prestigious three-month leadership program for 15 social entrepreneurs from ASEAN and Australia. It is funded in partnership by the Australia-ASEAN Council (AAC) and Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) and delivered by Asialink at The University of Melbourne. Thomas was one of five Australians selected to participate in the program.
The A2ELP program allows participants to build their knowledge of scalable and sustainable business models, develop skills to engage a range of stakeholders, learn from innovative social ventures in Southeast Asia, discuss the latest thinking and ideas in social impact with academic experts and industry leaders, and foster connections through mentoring and alumni engagement.
During the program, Thomas Da Jose, an alumnus of University of Technology Sydney, took part in workshops, networking events, field visits, cultural activities, and gained support for the implementation of his social enterprise idea committed to providing an efficient and affordable septage management programs in under-resourced municipalities in the Philippines.
Thomas, whose family roots are from the Bulacan province in the Philippines, believes that improving sanitation through proper treatment of household wastewater, is vital to improving water quality and preventing the spread of water-borne diseases. In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation, Thomas believes that all families should have access to sanitation services, particularly disadvantaged communities.
Through his organisation Masy Consultants, Thomas is exploring public-private partnerships to promote innovation and collaboration between the private sector and local government units towards the design and delivery of an efficient and affordable septage management program.
Thomas’ idea came off the back from his previous visits to the Philippines after observing the inadequate sanitation services available in many households. As contamination of untreated wastewater is viewed as a driving factor of the high under-five mortality rate of 28.1 per 1000 live births, Thomas hopes that his initiative will enable the timely implementation of septage management programs, which will encourage other municipalities across the country to take action.
"I’m humbled to be recognised as an emerging leader in this Smart Cities space across Australia and the ASEAN region. I am excited to make this project happen as it syncs my professional skills with my passion to improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged and vulnerable families. The program was a great opportunity for me to strengthen my capabilities and networks, so that I am well-positioned to make a difference in communities”.