Inspiring changemakers recognised for facilitating access to renewable energy, promoting sustainable agriculture and developing community-based tourism
Three social entrepreneurs were conferred the inaugural ASEAN Social Impact Awards today in recognition of their innovations and impact on the community. The awards were initiated by the Department of Social Work at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in partnership with the Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund, Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC) and Ashoka Innovators for the Public (Ashoka).
The recipients of the inaugural ASEAN Social Impact Awards are:
- Winner – Ms Tri Mumpuni, Founder of People Centered Business and Economic Institute (IBEKA), Indonesia
- Runner-up – Ms Cherrie Atilano, Founder of AGREA Agricultural Systems International, Inc., Philippines
- Runner-up – Mr Somsak Boonkam, Founder of Local Alike, Thailand
These outstanding individuals were chosen from close to 160 applications received. Projects submitted were from diverse areas such as economic development, children and youth, environment, agriculture, community development and human rights. A panel of judges from NUS, APC and Ashoka selected the final 30. Through a community judging day, a group of 30 judges representative of different sectors selected the final 12. The ASEAN Social Impact Awards committee reviewed all finalists, and organised field visits to view the projects of the six finalists to select the winner and runners-up of the inaugural awards.
To help scale up the impact of their work, Ms Mumpuni was awarded a cash prize of S$50,000, while runners-up Ms Atilano and Mr Boonkam were awarded cash prizes of S$25,000 each.
Dr S Vasoo, Associate Professorial Fellow with the Department of Social Work, NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Chairman of the Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund Committee, said, “The three inaugural ASEAN Social Impact Award recipients have demonstrated the creativity and resilience of the human spirit in devising ground-up, sustainable and impactful solutions to pressing social problems faced by their communities. They truly embody the selfless spirit of the late Dr Ee Peng Liang and his commitment in advancing human development in communities in need. It is important that we commend and help scale up the vital work of these individuals to ensure their long-term viability, in addition to broadening and deepening their systemic impact for disadvantaged communities in the ASEAN region.”
Mr Stanley Tan, Chair of the ASEAN Social Impact Awards committee, and APC said, “Often social entrepreneurs are not visible to the strategic enablers, which are governments and philanthropists. We hope these awards in time will create the awareness and be a bridge to match resources to them. They are key agents of social change. We would like to extend an open invitation for sponsorship to support the next round of awards which will continue to strive towards creating a lasting impact for communities all over the ASEAN region.”
Ms Sumitra Pasupathy, Ashoka Malaysia & Singapore Country Director, and ASEAN Representative for Ashoka, said, “Individually, social entrepreneurs realign incentives to help society shift mindsets, create new models to show what is possible, architect new fields to change the status quo, and build systems that encourage participation and leadership by all.”
ASEAN Social Impact Awards
The ASEAN Social Impact Awards was established in May 2017 to recognise individuals who have a strong drive and vision to resolve social issues and create positive social impact in their respective communities in ASEAN countries.
Inspired by the selfless drive of Singapore’s Father of Charity the late Dr Ee Peng Liang in uplifting communities in need and supporting causes that make a lasting change, the awards’ long-term objective is to build an ecosystem of social changemakers who work together to transform society and design new ways for communities to be more entrepreneurial, productive and connected.
Candidates were required to fulfil three key criteria: benefitted the disadvantaged community in the ASEAN region; achieved a demonstrable scale of impact, and in operation for at least three years.
Ms Tri Mumpuni, Founder of IBEKA in Indonesia, won the Award for her efforts in providing access to electricity and economic infrastructure in remote villages of Indonesia. She worked with local communities to build micro-hydro plants to produce electricity, as well as trained villagers to run the plants independently.
The runner-up for the Award, Ms Cherrie Atilano, Founder of AGREA Agricultural Systems International Inc. in the Philippines, was recognised for her role in increasing farmers’ access to finance, technology and information on farming best practices for the purposes of fair trade, as well as for her work with farmers on sustainable farming methods to protect the environment and farmers’ future livelihoods.
Mr Somsak Boonkam, Founder of Local Alike in Thailand, is the other runner-up for the Award. He was recognised for his work with local communities to build their capacity for community-based tourism, thereby using it as a form of development tool to solve local issues, preserve local culture and generate additional income for local communities.
Please refer to the Annex for more information on the award recipients’ social initiatives and impact.