Catalpa News | 2021 is off to flying start

This month, we take a closer look at two Catalpa projects which have now progressed to the implementation phase of work.

Social Protection
maternal health
Education & Skills Training



January, February, March… Oh my! Now well-adapted to COVID ways-of-working, we’ve been collaborating with our dispersed team and partners to ensure communication remains strong and our projects on track.

Last week the Timor-Leste Vice Minister of Health and Australian Ambassador officially launched the Liga Inan program in Dili, marking the program’s availability nationwide. This is a remarkable milestone for a health program which began with a small pilot in 2013, and has now reached over 80,000 women across Timor-Leste.

Across the wider Asia-Pacific, we continue to grow our team and build local expertise for our programs. We currently have a number positions available in various Pacific Island locations, so be sure to check them out.

Maternal health Liga Inan
The Liga Inan program is now available to women across the entirety of Timor-Leste.

Program supporting PNG Department of Implementation & Rural Development

In Papua New Guinea, the Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) plays a critical role in the oversight and administration of funds for projects in local communities.

With 87% of the PNG population living in rural areas, this is a significant mandate with huge potential to contribute to national development and much needed improvements in standards of living.

We are working in close partnership with the PNG Government to support the development of an integrated platform to improve oversight, efficiency, transparency and impact of decentralised projects and district/provincial information.

The platform includes tracking government spending, visualisation and monitoring of local development indicators, and will assist PNG decision makers to better understand the effectiveness of key policies and programs across the country.

In 2020, a “proof of concept” Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the integrated platform was developed. Following review, the PNG Government and DFAT have agreed to proceed, jointly funding and supporting Phase Two.

Over the next two years, the new platform will be extended in a phased approach to strengthen project management and capture priority development and service delivery data across 111 electorates, tracking projects totalling an estimated A$650m per year.

Engaging in a complex, changing, uncertain political & sub-national context

An iterative and adaptive approach — led by DIRD — provides the best opportunity to secure buy-in from complex and fragmented stakeholders, embed the program in local frameworks, and manage key sustainability issues including ownership, capacity building, technology & long-term financial viability.


Fit-for-Purpose Technology: The DIRD Program technology is built with Catalpa’s Knowledge Management System, Openly. Openly is empowering leaders to make informed decisions backed by evidence.


Thanks to GoPNG, DFAT and Australian Aid for supporting this program.

Pacific eLearning program

Pacific eLearning Program

As the new year rolled in, Phase 2 of the Pacific eLearning Program did too. The MFAT-funded program aims to improve science learning outcomes for year 10 students across Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa. It will contribute to creating confident, critical thinkers in science, and support teachers through professional development and greater access to teaching tools and resources.

In close collaboration with the respective education ministries, relevant science subjects have now been selected, the elearning MVP prototype has been completed, software engineering is underway, and ICT equipment purchased.

This means we are moving swiftly into the fun stuff… getting ready for the program to be implemented into the first selection of schools from July.

We have welcomed Teacher Fellows from each of the 4 participating nations who will review and advise on science content to ensure every example, case study and learning resource is contextually relevant and meaningful in the classroom.

Each Teacher Fellow brings experience in their respective education system, as well as an eclectic mix of experience in practical sciences — we can’t wait to learn more about their expertise in renewable wind energy, zoology, beer brewing and more!

Contextual relevance at the heart of the program

Human-centred design workshops revealed a shared sentiment that “a scientist” in Pacific Island communities is a practical, hands-on individual with knowledge and experience relevant to the local environment.


Fit-for-Purpose Technology: The Pacific eLearning Program technology is built with Catalpa’s eLearning Management System, Bero. Bero is used across the Asia Pacific for professional development, and a range of adult and student learning programs.


As always, thanks to our partners Nanogirl Labs and Wintec, and to MFAT for supporting this important program.

Until next time…

Thanks for reading. We hope your 2021 is off to a great start too. If you’re interested in learning more about our projects, jump onto our website and take a look around.

We work across the Asia Pacific region (and sometimes beyond) in areas such as health, student and adult education, social protection, transparency and governance, infrastructure and more.

For more updates on our projects and our general musings, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You can sign up for our quarterly news at

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