The Constellations Awards: Collaborating for Social Impact (AVPN)

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Asia is big, diverse, and complex – and so are its challenges. Our members meet those challenges by collaborating to pioneer solutions at scale.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the cracks in economies and the social sector but the social investment sector has responded unflinchingly to the unfolding crisis in the short term, and is nurturing systemic solutions for the long run. Our members have established shared aims and harnessed the strengths of different stakeholders to meet the moment with imaginative action. The Constellations Awards 2022 celebrate the ingenuity and effectiveness of our members.

The projects we recognise in the Constellations Awards are inspiring, but more importantly, they are action-oriented. We seek to illuminate the ripples of positive impact they have triggered, share their game-changing point of view, and provide these projects new means of accessing capital.



Climate Action Winner


Bringing Sustainable and Equitable Sanitation Services to Small and Medium Towns in India

The Challenge at Hand

Wai and Sinnar, two small towns in Maharashtra, India faced distinct challenges across their sanitation value chain – access to toilets, containment of excreta, collection and transport, treatment, disposal and /reuse. Like most small and medium towns, they had limited technical and financial capacity to address these issues with conventional solutions.

In both the towns many households were dependent on community toilets or defecated in the open. The practice of open defecation endangered health and also polluted the environment. Both towns are dependent on onsite sanitation systems such as septic tanks. Faecal sludge from septic tanks was emptied once in 8-10 years, when the septic tanks overflowed. This resulted in widespread pollution. Also, the collected septage was dumped on open ground without treatment leading to pollution of ground, water and environment.

Collaborative Solutions

In 2013, preparation of City Sanitation Plans was initiated in both cities by CWAS through a consultative process with the local governments. This eventually led to support for these towns in making them Open Defecation Free (ODF) and implementing citywide Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) services. The city-level improvements were identified which also aligned with programs of the state and national government. Many stakeholders were involved in service planning. The cities engaged private operators and self help groups (SHGs) for provision of services, sector experts and consultants for training and project development; and mobilized citizens and leaders for demand driven toilet construction programs and acceptance of scheduled desludging services. Funding was mobilized from the city’s own budgets as well as philanthropic funds. Rigorous monitoring of services is done through digital monitoring systems.

CWAS also supported the cities to introduce a first-of-its-kind ‘scheduled desludging service’, where all septic tanks are desludged once in 3 years. This is implemented through a Performance linked annuity model (PLAM) by engagement with the private sector (link). The town of Wai has just completed the first cycle of three year scheduled desludging covering all septic tanks with 95% acceptance rate. It has helped to improve the quality of ground water and river water. It also ensures safe disposal of faecal waste to treatment facilities. The design of these services helps to ensure inclusive and equitable access, including especially for vulnerable areas such as slums.

Wai and Sinnar have become model cities in sanitation for the state of Maharashtra and their experiences have contributed to policy, guidelines and program design at state and national levels.


  • AVPN members: Center for Water and Sanitation (CWAS), CEPT University, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
  • Other project partners: British High Commission, New Delhi (earlier DFID), Local government of Wai and Local government of Sinnar.

Type of Resources Pooled

The total grant for this project was around USD 1 Million, from BMGF and DFID. This was leveraged over three times (USD 3.4 Million) by resources from various stakeholders. This included public funds from local governments (38%) , and the remaining (62%) from households and the private sector. These total resources have contributed to new toilets, scheduled desludging services and treatment facilities.



Youth Co:Lab

The Challenge at Hand

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the significant role of youth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and calls for action against the challenges faced by young people that limit their economic, social, and political inclusion. Today, young people are more connected, creative, informed, and persuasive than any previous generation. At the same time, of the 660 million young people in the region, around 160 million are not in employment, education, or training (NEET), facing dire economic insecurity. In addition, many young people are left out of decision-making processes, which further contributes to their marginalisation and exclusion.

Collaborative Solutions

Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for Asia-Pacific countries to invest in and empower youth to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs through leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship by developing 21st skills, catalysing and sustaining youth-led start-ups and social enterprises across the region. Youth Co:Lab also works closely with multiple stakeholders across the region, including governments, civil society, and the private sector, to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem and policy support.


  • AVPN members: United Nations Development Programme, Citi Foundation, Accelerating Asia, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Ashoka, ChangeFusion Institute, China Alliance of Social Value Investment (CASVI), Damson Capital, LinkedIn, Makesense (Philippines), Microsoft Operations, Social Enterprise Academy International CIC, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), TheVentures and UNICEF
  • Other project partners: Some other partners include 500 Global, CVC Capital Partners, Impact Hub, YGAP (Bangladesh), Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, The Commonwealth Secretariat, LinkedIn, Samsung, Facebook, Intel, Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV) .

Resources Pooled

  • By collaborating with their 200+ partners, Youth Co:Lab has mobilised 50 million USD, supporting 1240 youth-led social enterprises, and produced 11 research and knowledge products.
  • 200,000 youth participants have been trained on innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship.
  • The Movers Programme – a regional movement to develop SDGs awareness, entrepreneurial mindsets and 21st century skills – has reached 45000 youth in Asia Pacific.


Yaring Pinay

The Challenge at Hand

Yaring Pinay aims to promote women and men’s participation in non-traditional technical-vocational education, training, and employment. To influence gender norms around job segregation, on women and men’s roles at home and at work, towards a more gender-responsive Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector in collaboration with education institutions, employers, and students, the program consists of three pillars, namely a research, capacity-building of TVET players, and a year-long online communications campaign targeting Edukasyon’s Gen Z audience.

Collaborative Solutions

The program served and continues to serve as the connector between the TVET academe and industry by fostering a gender-responsive community in tech-voc. In addition to partnerships with schools and companies, they are closely working with the government agency overseeing the country’s technical-vocational education and training. The partnership with TESDA helped them reach institutions around the Philippines and facilitated the program’s sustainability by equipping TESDA trainers with gender communication skills and practice.


  • AVPN members: Investing in Women, Schneider Electric
  • Other project partners: Edukasyon, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), TESDA Women’s Center, Primary Structures, Primary Structures Educational Foundation (PSEFI), School of Knowledge for Industrial Labor, Service and Leadership (SKILLS), FIRST Industrial and Technology School, Negros Occidental Language and IT Center, Teleperformance, Maayo Hotels & Resorts, Maayo Medical, La Salle Green Hills, Adult Night School – TVET Department, Joji Ilagan Career Centre Foundation, Inc., Bulacan Polytechnic College, Primona Holy Infant, Healthcare Information Management Association Of The Philippines, German – Philippine Chamber Of Commerce, Women in Infrastructure Foundation, Inc., Porsche Training And Recruitment Center Asia, Saint Peter Academy Of Alegria Foundation Inc., St. Louise De Marillac College Of Bogo, Cebu, Inc., Enchanted Kingdom, Inc., Cargill Philippines, Vistaprint Manila, Concentrix, Pointwest Technologies, Quantrics, Asian Institute of Technology And Education, Inc.

Resources Pooled

  • The program has trained 116 professionals from 35 TVET schools and 13 companies/employers in the Philippines.
  • The launch of the Gender Communication Toolkits in March 2021 gathered 195 participants.
  • For their student-targeting initiative called Tech-Voc Ready Fair, which aimed to equip TVET students and graduates with essential skills to help them secure employment in a non-traditional sector, they upskilled 23 students in resume writing and interview skills through a mock interviews session with TVET industry professionals.
  • The Yaring Pinay nationwide online campaign reached over 29.7 million users, 123.7 million+ impressions, and 3.5 million+ engagement. The program took on a 360 degree approach by engaging with the three important stakeholder groups in TVET, namely the academe, industry and student

Primary Healthcare (PHC) Tech Challenge

The Challenge at Hand

India suffers from an under-resourced and unregulated health system, with significant shortages of skilled healthcare workers, adequate supplies, quality-assured diagnostic services at the primary healthcare level and disparate data management systems. These gaps are amplified in rural areas and drive a poorer patient experience. PATH’s vision through this challenge is to accelerate deployment of near-ready solutions in public health settings to improve access to primary health care in India and similar low- and middle-income countries.

Collaborative Solutions

Through the PHC Tech Challenge, PATH along with global partners have laid the foundation of a platform that brings together promising MedTech, digital health, and cold chain innovations for strengthened primary healthcare.

The project’s focus areas are:

  • Innovative MedTech solutions in screening, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and management of physical, mental, and social health aspects at primary care level,
  • Digital health innovation including telehealth, capacity building of health care providers and community engagement for increasing learning, knowledge, awareness, and driving behaviour change and participation,
  • Cold chain system strengthening innovations in temperature-controlled packaging, remote temperature monitoring (during storage and transportation), real-time data monitoring (temperature, data reporting) at the last mile for vaccines/immunisation and other pharmaceuticals, and
  • Any other technology that improves overall operationalization of PHCs either by bridging a required skill gap or by reducing cost.


  • AVPN members: PATH
  • Other project partners: Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Social Alpha, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), Swasth, The Stanford Centre for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford Byers Centre for Biodesign, ACT

Resources Pooled

After a rigorous selection process that involved evaluation of more than 115 applications, 17 groundbreaking innovations from countries including India, the United States, Canada, China, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands with the most potential to create significant impact in public health were selected as the winners along with four notable mentions. The evaluator panel consisted of national and global domain experts from government, industry, academia, donors, and the development sector. In addition to featuring in a compendium for showcasing to global stakeholders, the winning solutions are provided with an opportunity to access PATH and program partner’s support for implementation on the field as well as a chance to receive expert advisory in refining their operational plan, navigating regulatory landscape, and understanding national and global market dynamics.


Learn From Home Initiative

The Challenge at Hand

The COVID-19 pandemic had the devastating impact of not just seeing educational institutions closed for almost two continuous years, but also a severe loss of learning among school-going children. A loss exacerbated among the underserved and vulnerable children. At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, with all schools closed across Malaysia, YTL Foundation saw the need to provide access to online learning for students. To do this, internet access and quality learning resources needed to be provided for all school-going children from preschool to Year 11.

Collaborative Solutions

YTL Foundation provided internet access by providing free 4G SIM cards, smartphones and nationwide access to appropriate online educational resources based off the Malaysian national curriculum. The programme was initially launched in March 2020 with entities of the YTL Group, FrogAsia and YTL Communications, as a coordinated emergency response, with particular focus on low-income families. Shortly after, content partners were brought in to help develop online lessons and quizzes, the principal ones being Teach For Malaysia, MyReaders, UKM, Kindity (a pre-school) and Pelangi (which had a readymade bank of quizzes). Most recently, CIMB Foundation became a partner, co-funding the development of lessons in new subjects. This came to be known as the Learn from Home Initiative.


  • AVPN members: CYTL Foundation
  • Other project partners: YTL Communications, FrogAsia, Teach for Malaysia, MyReaders, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kindity School, Pelangi Publications, CIMB Foundation

Resources Pooled

  • By giving out 100,000 smartphones and 450,000 data SIM cards and subsidising another 730,000 phone and data plans, they have increased equitable access to online educational resources for students and their families over the past 2 years.
  • The foundation has curated digital lessons with the help of FrogAsia – an edtech social enterprise

About AVPN

We are a leading ecosystem builder that is increasing the flow of financial, human, and intellectual capital from Asia and around the world into the social sector in Asia. We provide a network of peers, rigorous learning programmes, and innovative capital mobilization opportunities that make sure resources are more effectively deployed.

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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