Driving the New Aid Paradigm through the New Colombo Plan

February 14, 2017 Featured

The Australian Government is driving a more creative, entrepreneurial and innovative aid program that seeks to leverage the power of the private sector in recipient countries to deliver economic growth, create jobs and subsequently reduce poverty. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has outlined that “innovation will drive the way we deliver aid… Finding more creative and clever ways to achieve better results. Thinking differently and being more entrepreneurial in our approach.”

Abt Associates has responded to the new direction of the Australian Government and has been finding new ways of working, as well as exploring new and innovative approaches to solving major development problems.  We have recognized that in order to do development differently and adapt to the new aid paradigm, we need to look to a new type of workforce, with non-typical and diverse backgrounds that are able to come up with novel solutions to complex issues.

The New Colombo Plan

The Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan has afforded us access to the best and brightest university students that Australia has to offer. Through the New Colombo Plan, selected students are provided scholarships and financial support to study, intern or research in a choice of 38 countries across the Indo-Pacific region. We advertised internships across three of our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) programs in Indonesia, Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea, and have been blown away by the quality of applicants.

Introducing our first New Colombo Plan intern: Chloe Dempsey

There are many perceptions and labels given to millennials in the workplace: self-interested, entitled, impatient and tough to manage. Chloe is none of these. Rather, she has unique qualities and attributes that in many cases can only be found in millennials. She is a true world citizen, born in Ireland and growing up between West Africa and Australia. As a University of Western Australia student currently working in Beijing, we recognized that Chloe’s prior experience and unique skillset would offer great value, and could be vital in helping develop solutions to the complex challenges faced. We jumped at the opportunity to engage Chloe as our first ever New Colombo Plan scholar.

Follow Chloe’s Journey

Chloe has commenced her internship and is now in Dili, Timor Leste contributing to our Partnership for Human Development program. She will be blogging about her experiences, and you can stay up-to-date via her Linkedin page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloedempsey/