Australia Awards alumni use their leaderships skills and technical knowledge to make a difference in their communities and countries. To support alumni to have greater impact, Australia Awards – South Asia & Mongolia offers alumni the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $5,000 for individual or group projects in key sectors, including gender, disability and the environment.

To respond to the pandemic, since 2020 Australia Awards has offered small grants to alumni for projects aligned with priorities identified in the Australian Government’s Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response framework. These grants created opportunities for alumni to contribute to pandemic recovery and sustainable development in their communities, focusing particularly on economic recovery, health security and stability.

Following the success of the 2020 small grants cycle, further competitive grants rounds were implemented in 2021 and 2022 as the effects of the pandemic continued to be felt.

Grant activity highlights in 2022 included:

  • Eight alumni grants were awarded in Bhutan to a total of 13 alumni in the areas of COVID-19 response, inclusive education, innovation and entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, mental health, and ending violence against women and girls.
  • In Maldives, grants were awarded to five alumni projects that responded to the pandemic, including one which provided six training programs for 168 participants on home gardening and farming.
  • Four alumni projects in Nepal received Climate Change Action Grants, one of which resulted in a two-day intensive training course for 100 engineering students and academic instructors on renewable energy technologies.
  • In Mongolia, four alumni projects were supported, covering sexual health education, support for children with autism, liveable communities and raising awareness of risks associated with domestic stoves.
  • In Sri Lanka, ten projects involving 15 alumni received small grants. One saw 295 women and girls participate in a project which raised their awareness of menstrual hygiene management practices and reproductive health.
  • The Bangladesh program finalised its Partnerships for Recovery Alumni Support Grant initiative.

Alumnus Syed Sadhli Ahmed Roomy was one of 20 alumni in Bangladesh to receive grants to assist vulnerable groups to address the challenges presented by COVID-19. The grant funding enabled Sadhli to scale up basic literacy computer training for 50 young people. “During the peak of COVID-19, we experienced a widespread loss of jobs,” Sadhli said. “This grant enabled COVID-19-affected youths and their families to access and thrive from an alternative income stream.”

Image at top of page: Australia Awards alumnus Syed Sadhli Ahmed Roomy from Bangladesh.