GAIA-BFFP Asia Pacific Comms Officers Fellowship

The GAIA-BFFP Asia Pacific Communications Officers Fellowship is a 4-month program that will bring together twenty (20) Communications Officers on GAIA and BFFP’s Programmes (Zero Waste, Anti-Incineration, and Plastics) and beef-up their knowledge on traditional media, new media, and institutional communications.

The Fellowship is an intensive program on Communications that provide participants with the chance to evaluate their skills and their organization’s communications strategy.

Participants are mentored by established journalists and communications professionals from NGOs, the private sector, and funding institutions. The Fellowship culminates with participants pitching a communications activity within their communications plan for possible funding. It is expected that, with the fellowship, participants will integrate their skills and learnings into the current and future strategic plans of their organizations.

Who can apply:

The GAIA-BFFP Asia Pacific Communications Officers Fellowship is exclusive to GAIA AP and BFFP AP members only.

How it works:

The Fellowship runs for four (4) months with 1.5-hour lectures and 1.5-hour group mentoring sessions weekly. To facilitate your learning, 20 mentors from GAIA and BFFP and 20 established journalists or communications professionals from other NGOs, the private sector, and funding institutions share their knowledge and skills. Each fellow is matched to one GAIA mentor and one external mentor based on their expressed communication needs.


  • Must be a member of GAIA AP
  • Submitted application form
  • Endorsement letter from the head of the organization. Click here to download our endorsement letter template.
  • Stable internet connection
  • Commitment to devote three (3) hours/week for the duration of the training

MODULE 1: Understanding the campaigns

Develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of GAIA AP and BFFP AP’s campaigns. From Zero Waste to waste incineration aka WTE to plastics, this module establishes GAIA AP and BFFP AP’s approach to issues and campaigns.

MODULE 2: Communications Strategy, Planning, and Campaigning

This section is devoted to strengthening the participants’ skill in developing communication campaigns and seamlessly integrating it into the organization’s strategic plans.

MODULE 3: New Media

This section introduces the role of digital media and the tools that can be utilized by NGOs for advancing campaigns.

MODULE 4 Traditional Media

Explore the ins and outs of traditional media. From news releases to OpEd writing, this section is a look into how traditional media outlets work and how NGOs can capture traditional media’s attention and interest.

MODULE 5 Institutional Comms

Establish the personality of your organization and discover how you can project your values, brand, and campaigns to a larger audience.

MODULE 6 Pitching Your Story

The exciting part! Here, the participants will get the opportunity to pitch their communication product for possible funding. Additionally, participants will receive tips on how to pitch stories and practice their persuasion skills in a fun and engaging way.

A. Vancer Dipatiakur Communications Officer, Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI)
Siti Dzakiyyah Communications Officer, Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI)
Trinh, Nguyen Thi Dieu Project Officer, Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD)
Thái Thị Lệ Project Officer, Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD)
Nguyen Thi Nhat Anh Researcher, Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD)
Tranh Thi Trang Project Officer, Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD)
Samina Khondaker Junior Program Associate, Environmental and Social Development Organization (ESDO)
Khalilur Rahman Project Associate, Environmental and Social Development Organization (ESDO)
Nguyen Luu Ngoc Han Co-Founder and Director, Green Hero
Hung Bee Ling Communications and Advocacy Officer, Hara Makers Initiative
Rohini Malur Documentation and Communications, Hasiru Dala
Sujata Singh Program Associate, Health Environment and Climate Action Foundation (HECAF 360)
Pragyesh Bajracharya Graphic Designer Health Environment and Climate Action Foundation (HECAF 360)
Yvette Mariz Balayon Knowledge and Management Officer, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) - Davao
Huynh Thi Thu Trang Communications Staff, Management Board of Cu Lao Cham
Gerald Jintalan Communications Officer, Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) Philippines
Raphael James Villavicencio Program Manager, Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) Philippines
Nindhita Proboretno Zero Waste Program Officer, Nexus3 Foundation
Belmiro Soekarno Communications and PR, Nexus3 Foundation
Rehan Tirmizi Coordinator: Story Telling and Communications Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group
Amogh Bongale Outreach and Communications Executive, SWaCH Seva Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit
Anju Babu Program Coordinator, Thanal
Priya Gupta Intern, Paryavaran Mitra
Phạm Phương Thảo Program Assistant, Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance (VZWA)
Ismail Rayadi Zero Waste Campaigner, Perkumpulan Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB)
Isna Muflihah Mulyaningrum Human Resources Officer, Perkumpulan Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB)
Alida Naufalia Aribah Zero Waste Campaigner, Perkumpulan Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB)
Abishek Pradhan Communications and Coordination Officer, Zero Waste Himalaya
Swastika Thapa Project Coordinator, Zero Waste Himalaya
Kevin Karl Escosar Projects and Communications Strategist, Zero Waste Youth Negros
Priyanka Kadam Project Officer, Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS)
Sachin Thikekar United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Project Officer Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS)

Main Mentor

Dr Paz Diaz Vice President for Academics, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication

Internal Mentors

Sonia G. Astudillo Senior Communications Officer II, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) - Asia Pacific
Dan Abril Communications Associate, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) - Asia Pacific
Jed Alegado Senior Communications Officer, #breakfreefromplastic (BFFP) - Asia Pacific
Arvin Alvarez Digital Media Campaigner, #breakfreefromplastic (BFFP) - Asia Pacific
Carissa Marnce Communications Coordinator, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) - Africa
Chuck Baclagon Regional Finance Campaigner,
Claire Arkin Global Communications Lead, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific
Edel Garingan Resource Mobilization Associate, GAIA Asia Pacific
Felicia Dayrit Zero Waste Program Associate, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific
Froilan Grate Regional Coordinator, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) - Asia Pacific
Geri Matthew Carretero Communications Officer, #breakfreefromplastic (BFFP) Project
Janssen Calvelo Southeast Asia Network Organize, #breakfreefromplastic (BFFP) - Asia Pacific
Jenny Tuazon Global Digital Campaigns and Organizing Specialist
Joyce Sienna Communications and Media Campaigner, Oceana
Miko Aliño Program Manager, GAIA Asia Pacific
Patricia Parras Network Development and Campaign Associate, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) - Asia Pacific
Sherma Benosa Knowledge Management Officer, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) - Asia Pacific
Shibu Nair India Coordinator, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific
Yobel Novian Putra Climate and Clean Energy Campaigner, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific

External Mentors

Adelle Chua Assistant Professor, Department of Journalist, College of Mass Communication University of the Philippines - Diliman
Adi Marsiela Freelance Journalist/Member Alliance of Independent Journalists
Aditya Heru Wardhana Supervising Editor, CNN Indonesia
Anthony Esguerra Multimedia Journalist, Vice Asia
Arulldas Sinnappan Journalist, Penang Hyper Local
Deck Villanueva Writer and Science Journalist, The Philippine Star
Dewi Safitri Standards and Practices Specialist, CNN Indonesia
Dorris Lim Designer and Blogger,
Ian McIntyre Journalist, The Vibes
Imelda Abano Environmental Journalist and Media Trainer
Julian Cirineo Content Producer, Rappler
Maria Jessica Rey Business Reporter, Rappler
Mark Salazar TV News Producer, GMA News
Melvin Gascon Journalist, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Ping Manongdo Southeast Asia Partnerships Manager, Eco-business
Purple Romero Multimedia Journalist, Freelance
Rio Tuasikal Multimedia Journalist, Voice of America (VOA), Indonesia
Tarra Quismundo Journalist, Educator, and Radio/Podcast Host ABS-CBN News
Tri Joko Her Riadi Journalist, Bandung Bergerak
Yogi Tujuliarto Correspondent, CNN Indonesia

I’m new to the organization and I do both Communications and Program Work, am I qualified to apply?

Yes, you are qualified to apply as long as you are endorsed by the Executive Director/Head of your organization.

Additionally, you should be doing communications work in the future.

My organization does not have a budget to send me to trainings, can I apply/do I qualify for a scholarship?

This Comms Officers Fellowship Training may be availed by GAIA Asia Pacific and #breakfreefromplastic Asia Pacific member organizations

We don’t have a Communications Officer and none of our staff have any communications background, can we still apply because we want to start doing work on communications?

Yes, provided that you can devote time and attend all sessions. We will be providing two mentors for each Fellow who can guide you throughout the Fellowship.

We don’t have a dedicated Communications Officer and we can not commit to the sessions for four months, can we still have access to the materials?

We would like to prioritize the Fellows but we would be willing to share the resources and materials upon request.

NGO work is quite unpredictable, what if I miss a session?

Four missed classes may result in disqualification for the fellowship and future fellowships. Complete attendance is a prerequisite to the awarding of your certificate, exceptions may be given in certain situations .

Are all sessions held virtually or will there be face-to-face sessions?

We will use Zoom for all the group sessions. One-on-one sessions and the mode of communication may be decided by you and your mentor.

My English is not so good. Can I still join the sessions?

The sessions will be conducted in English. Those who may need language assistance, please contact us prior to the start of the fellowship.

You mentioned in your promo that I will be mentored by one GAIA or BFFP AP staff and one journalist, do I have the option to choose which mentor? How do I get in touch with them?

The mentors will be assigned by the Fellowship Team based on your organization’s needs as expressed in your application form.

It is your responsibility to schedule one-on-one sessions with them based on yours and their availability. The one-on-one sessions will be the space for you to ask more questions and tips on how to move forward with your communications work.

Since this is a virtual fellowship, will I have the opportunity to meet other Fellows?

You will be assigned one buddy for the full duration of the fellowship. Aside from having a constant friend within the fellowship, you and your buddy may share notes and share your progress in the fellowship. At the end of the sessions, you will pitch your buddy’s communications activity for possible funding by GAIA and BFFP and your buddy will do the same for you.

On top of that, we will create a room for the fellowship. is a virtual space where we can gather to meet with other fellows. There will be private rooms if you want to have one-on-one calls with the other fellows or with your buddy. This is open to all fellows and the Comms Fellowship Team (Sonia, Jed, Dan, Froi, and Dr. Paz). You may use that space to hangout with the other fellows or to virtually meet with your buddy.

In your promo materials, you mentioned funding opportunities. Can you tell me more about it?

A funding opportunity will be available to the fellows. You will be asked to choose one communications activity from all that you have learned during the fellowship. You need to want this activity so much that you want it to be funded by GAIA and BFFP. Be ready to find the sizzle in your activity and sell it to us for possible funding.
The communications activity will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the campaign 35%
  • Uniqueness of the project 20%
  • Chosen platform (TV, radio, broadsheet, online, multi-platform) 20%
  • Potential audience reach 15%
  • Cost-efficiency 10%

Can I share the materials/resources with my friends?

All materials in the fellowship are for your personal and office use only. Please do not share outside the network. As a participant, make sure you abide by the Disclaimer on Course Material Use.

I’m all set and excited to attend the Fellowship, what do I need to prepare?

You need to have the Zoom app installed on your computer or mobile device. You would also need a stable internet connection. You may want to have a dedicated notebook for this Fellowship as the jot down tips from our facilitators and our amazing consultant.

GAIA-BFFP AP Comms Fellowship Testimonials


The GAIA-BFFP AP Comms Officers Fellowship has helped me to grow both personally and professionally. Through the various exercises, materials and guidance, I have learned to think and see things differently. I was able to gain confidence and became more comfortable to communicate with different stakeholders. The most valuable win is the endless support from the networks, knowing someone have my back in whatever situation, it really helps me to summon the courage to move forward.

– Hung Bee Ling, Hara Makers Initiative

It has been a transformational journey for me despite not having a formal communications work background.

– Rap Villavicencio, Mother Earth Foundation Philippines

The fellowship gave me a lot of new skills which are very useful and sometimes very foundational for our work in VZWA.

– Pham Thao, Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance


Journalist Mentors

Thanks for coming up with this program, the exchange of knowledge, best practices and experiences was very helpful, I believe, not only to the mentees but also the mentors too.

– Purple Romero, Mongabay

It’s time to collaborate on waste issues!

– Yogi Tujiliartom CNN Indonesia

Yes, because has given me an opportunity to share my experience in journalism, especially in investigative journalism. It would be my contributions to my career where I was in my life journey.

– Arulldas Sinnappan, Penang Hyper Local

Happy that I could contribute in any professional capacity. So good to see that the little contribution made means something to other people/org/cause.

– Dewi Safitri, CNN Indonesia