Technology-centric, supported employment for vulnerable youth in the Philippines and Nepal.

We provide comprehensive workplace programs & services to enable vulnerable youth to achieve career & personal success.

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Melinda Gill

Initiative's representative date of birth

August 27, 1973

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Philippines

Where are you making a difference?

Philippines, Cebu, Cebu City. Kathmandu, Nepal.

Website or social media url(s)

When was your organisation founded?

September 2017

Focus areas

  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO
  • Hybrid

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

After living in the Philippines for four years, we encountered organizations working to support victims of human trafficking. It was immediately apparent that, whilst rescue operations and immediate aftercare were established, there were few opportunities for survivors to secure decent, long-term, supported employment to enable sustained recovery and reintegration. Six years ago, our partnering social enterprise was started to provide technology-centric employment to survivors and other vulnerable youth. It quickly became clear that this population required significant support to acquire the broader employability skills required for holistic success & wellbeing. Thus, Renewsiya Foundation was formed to provide these programs & services.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Survivors of abuse and exploitation and other vulnerable youth require significant support upon entering the workplace to be successful. Whilst the acquisition of technical skills may be relatively straightforward, they often struggle with the broader core and employability skills required for success, not only in the workplace, but in all aspects of their lives, including their finances, health, and family life.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Renewsiya Foundation Inc. supports employees to be successful in both the workplace & in their personal lives through a range of strategies including enhancing company culture, mindfulness, formalized core skills curriculums, workplace counselling, capacity building for senior staff, and research. Our strategies include: 1. Supporting the company to intentionally create a calm, supportive, and predictable work environment with clearly articulated expectations about performance and behaviour, consistent with a trauma-informed approach. 2. Formal core skills curriculums which include a) Basic learning and problem-solving skills, b) Health and wellbeing skills, c) Financial literacy and capability skills, and d) Positive psychology and self-care, interpersonal, and relationship skills. 3. Daily mindfulness practice for all employees. 4. Workplace counselling with mental-health professionals who provide individualized ‘support sessions’ using a range of therapeutic approaches to enhance recovery and core skills development for employees with more complex issues. 5. Research in partnership with external academic partners, reflecting our commitment to evidence-based programs.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Because research pertaining to core skills development within the workplace for survivor and highly vulnerable populations within developing countries is lacking, Renewsiya has needed to significantly adapt existing resources and innovate new approaches. Sarah was among the first employees supported by Renewisya who, although able to acquire technical skills quickly, lacked the core or employability skills to meet other workplace expectations due to her childhood experience of abuse and neglect. Through our group educational programs and individual support, she gradually grew professionally and personally and is now a team leader and virtual assistant, leading a team of fifty junior employees.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

We impart employability skills through a range of strategies. This includes formalized core skills curriculums which include both general skills such as planning and organization, problem-solving, focus, teamwork, and interpersonal communication and more specific skills related to health and wellbeing and financial literacy. For those who require additional support, they are referred to a workplace counsellor to address not only the immediate challenges but also the underlying trauma or mental health issues influencing the employee. We also support the managers of the social enterprise to implement trauma-informed, intentional coaching and feedback strategies to address employability challenges which may result in issues such as impaired performance, absenteeism, or tardiness. Furthermore, we provide partial college scholarships for suitable employees to enable career progression.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Because the nature of work is changing, employees must be adaptive, life-long learners with strong thinking, communication, and teamwork skills to remain successful in the workplace. Our formal curriculums support strong independent learning skills including self-awareness, curiosity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and willpower. We embed concepts concerning learning from failure, embracing challenges and struggle, and having a growth mindset to ensure the employees have the character traits associated with success, such as grit and resilience.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

As part of their employment, employees have bank accounts and access to online banking, social security, health insurance, and government loans. Renewsiya has developed a 10-session, comprehensive financial wellbeing program to enhance the capability of our employees and enable them to take charge of their financial futures. It includes skills such as budgeting, financial planning, savings, debt management, and communication and negotiation skills. It is undertaken during the working day to reduce barriers to participation.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

Our formal curriculum focuses on imparting a range of financial literacy skills to enable a strong financial future. Employees that require individual financial coaching are able to see a workplace counsellor. We are currently conducting a program evaluation, seeking formal feedback from previous program graduates. Our longitudinal employee social impact survey collects data about the financial wellbeing of the employees. Thus, over time, we will be able to document the impact of the program and, if needed, further enhance the program.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are few workplace-based programs providing technology-centric employment to survivors of abuse and exploitation. Similarly, those that employee vulnerable youth often lack holistic, research-based programs to enable the acquisition of strong core or employability skills and financial capability. Renewsiya not only provides intentional, tailored programs within the workplace but simultaneously conducts world-first research to document the experiences of the employees and the characteristics of workplaces and programs which enable vulnerable young people to be successful.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Renewsiya currently supports about 220 vulnerable youth within the workplace in Cebu, Philippines. We are also supporting the development of a similar workplace in Nepal. Our longitudinal research demonstrates significant transformation in the lives of the employees, including their mental health and wellbeing, personal empowerment, and financial wellbeing. Qualitative research conducted by academic partners confirms that improved executive functioning and an evolving social identity are the leading factors driving the transformation.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Financial support has been received from private donors, family foundations, and from the social enterprise we are partnering with. In the long term, the social enterprise will be able to provide sustained funding to enable ongoing service provision within our current workplaces. However, we need short term support during the current growth phase and further longer-term support to expand our programs to support other similar workplaces around the world who lack the expertise to holistically support their employees.

10. Team

Dr. Melinda Gill (MBBS, FRACGP, MPH) is the organization’s director. She is a family physician a background in family medicine and international health programming. With nine years’ experience in health and development programs, she has been working among survivors of exploitation and abuse and vulnerable youth since 2014. Her team in the Philippines includes a psychology graduate, social worker, and nurse, all with significant experience working with vulnerable populations.

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Evaluation results

1 evaluation so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

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2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

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3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

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4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

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6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

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Attachments (2)


Our research documenting the workplace impact on health and wellbeing

Gill and Tsai 2018 Workplace and core skills development.pdf

An article describing the holistic approach we support to workplace core skills development.


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