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: Searching and Communicating the Heart and Soul of Your Organization

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: Giving Soul to Your Communications Strategy

Explore the essentials of communications campaigns, from crafting compelling messages to discovering the unique “sizzle” that captivates audiences. This course also covers strategic planning, budgeting, and effective communication with funders, empowering participants to create impactful and memorable campaigns.

MODULE 4: Expressing Your Messages Via Digital Media and Advocacy

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

MODULE 5: Tapping the Power of 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 Special Sessions

Dive into the power of community-led communications and mobile journalism in this course. Learn how to harness community insights, leverage mobile technology, and tell compelling stories that resonate, empowering individuals to be active contributors to the media landscape.

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 Journalism, 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.

Hasiru Dala: Inclusion of Waste Pickers in the Proposed UN Plastic Pollution Treaty of 2022

Chasing Arrows 

A series of infographics and webinars advocating for the inclusion of waste workers and waste pickers in the Global Plastic Treaty:



Countdown to UNEA 5 for a Global Plastic Treaty

Of all the plastic that ever existed: more than half was produced in the last 15 years and 91% has never been recycled”. Plastic Pollution is one of the most urgent and serious environmental issues of our time and this requires a global coordinated action, that is multifocus, multifaceted and multifunctional involving all stakeholders.

Weaving Solutions: Addressing the Bengaluru Textile Waste Crisis

Trina Roy (Intellecap CAIF), Nalini Shekar (Hasiru Dala Executive Director), Krishna (DWCC Operator at Domlur), and Pinky Chandran (SWMRT-Bengaluru/Hasiru Dala] discuss Bengaluru’s looming textile waste crisis and the path ahead.


Zero Waste Himalaya: Zero Waste Media Advocacy Fellowship

With notable media journalists and ZW advocates as facilitators, this Fellowship is designed to introduce content creators to communicating Zero Waste and all its fascinating possibilities.

Resource Speakers:

Ranju Dodum, Freelance Journalist from Arunachal Pradesh

Karma Paljor, Journalist, EastMojo  

The Participants

Introducing the Fellowship Participants

Fellows’ Outputs

In Images: Plastic Litters the Himalayas, Photos by the #ZWMAF Participants  

Article: Plastic Amidst Bamboos by Srijita Patra

Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS): Promote Refill Shops, Support Davao’s SUP Ordinance

This series of podcasts is intended to support existing refill shops in Davao city by promoting Zero Waste practices and endorsing the city’s regulation of single-use plastics.

Kwentong Walang Plastikan 

The Bantay Kinaiyahan Podcast, Episode 1 features entrepreneur Katrina Castillo as she shares her journey toward Zero Waste

The Green Vote Survey

The Green Vote Survey: Envisioned to guide the Filipino electorate – particularly in Davao City – to vote according to the candidates’ stand on environmental issues. From protecting watersheds to opposing the construction of a waste-to-energy facility, the Green Survey asked and compiled how the local candidates responded to the region’s pressing issues.

Is WTE Incineration the Right Investment for Our Planet?

Cities in the Philippines are facing an uphill battle against waste incinerators. As local government officials struggle with waste, waste incineration companies continue to push waste burning as the only solution.

In this episode of Bantay Kinaiyahan, our very own Archie Abellar sits with GAIA member Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability – IDIS to expose and extinguish the myths perpetrated by these companies.

NEXUS3 Foundation: Behind the Sachet (BTS)

Behind the Sachet (BTS) is a six-part voxpop series that explores how much people know about  these ubiquitous single-use plastic packaging known as sachets. 

Episode 1: “Dampak Kemasan Saset Terhadap Lingkungan dan Manusia”

In this episode, Nexus3 distinguishes sachet/plastic packaging myths from facts. With the special participation of Rafika of GAIA member ECOTON, she explains how each sachet component can affect our health.

Episode 2: “Racun pada Kemasan Saset”

Shiny and colorful, sachets can be quite the eye candy but behind the lovely exterior are components toxic to people and the environment. Yuyun Ismawati shares the problems with sachets in this second episode of BTS.

Episode 3: “Alternatif untuk Mengurangi Sampah Saset”

Are there alternatives to sachets? Are these refill systems hygienic? Episode 3 features Isna Muflihah Mulyaningrum of Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB) encouraging consumers to try shops offering alternative delivery systems.

Episode 4: “Harga Ekonomis Saset”

In this instalment of the Behind the Sachet (BTS) series, GAIA member Nexus 3 evaluates the true cost of sachets.

Episode 5: “Regulasi Saset”

Episode Five of  Nexus3’s vox pop series “Behind-the-Sachet (BTS)” asks if Indonesia has existing regulations on sachets. Bella Nathania of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) answers this tough question.

Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance (VZWA): 30-Day Plastic-Free Challenge

30-Day Plastic Free Challenge

A fun and creative way to encourage people to go plastic-free. In this challenge, Zero Waste enthusiasts and followers of VZWA were invited to go to social media and share their tips and recommendations on how they could go plastic-free. 

Check out the winners of the #30DayPlasticFreeChallenge here.

Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB): The Waste Workers’ Diaries


They are at the forefront of waste management. Without them, our city streets would be strewn with litter. However, our waste workers and waste pickers also face various occupational health risks and hazards. In this 20-minute documentary by GAIA member YPBB Bandung, six waste workers from YPBB’s Zero Waste Cities tell their stories. Listen to Wartikah, Turi, Yahya, Rosniawati, Hadiman, and Usep – as they talk about their lives, their challenges, and their hopes.

Centre for Social Development and Research (CSRD): Everyday Heroes 

During CSRD’s research on trash classification and support for vulnerable groups, CSRD met Hue’s waste workers. Present at every corner, the waste workers collect about 45 kg of recyclable materials every day. 
Some of the women CSRD met include:
🌸Mrs. Vang, a veteran of the Vietnam War in 1968
🌸 Mrs. Thach, an optimistic individual who sees the positive in every situation
🌸 and Mrs. Lan, whose love for her child is unconditional.
And there are many other And other waste workers, who not only significantly contribute to the magnificence of Hue City’s landscapes but also reflect the beautiful soul and way of life of Hue. 
For that reason, CSRD organized an event “Everyday Heroes” in order to spread the positivity of waste workers to the public in Thua Thien Hue city. Get to know Hue’s Everyday Heroes.

Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO): The Tragic Tale of Our Rivers

For 2 years, the ESDO conducted a study named ‘Assessment of Transboundary Movement of Single-use Plastic Waste Through River Channels in Bangladesh’ with the assistance of the Plastic Solutions Fund – PSF and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific.
This study aimed to increase regional collaboration to reduce the transboundary movement of hazardous plastic waste and to advocate for the government and regulators to advance policy decisions.
On 20th November 2022, ESDO shared the result with relevant stakeholders and media personnel.  The dialogue was divided into two segments: the first segment was to launch the report, and the second was to have an elaborate discussion on the upcoming Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on the Global Plastic Treaty and how Bangladesh could act on it.


For further details about the media dialogue, click here.

To download the report, click here.

Click here for news clippings of the dialogue.

Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI): Apa Itu Mikroplastik?

Explained in simple terms, “Apat Itu Microplastik?” 4-minute animation is an introduction to the very pressing issue of microplastics.

Paryavaran Mitra: Breaking the Cycle: Motivators for Plastic Waste Management

The City of Ahmedabad has many waste-related issues. They are:

  • No waste segregation at the source
  • Informal waste pickers are not getting proper support
  • The existence of legacy waste
  • and, the lack of leadership in the local government.

Yet, despite these challenges, there are individuals and organizations that are taking the initiative and setting up examples of proper waste management. With the help of the youth group, Green Catalyst, Paryavaran Mitra visited different locations in Ahmedabad to document the work of these Zero Waste Motivators.

Watch the full video here: Utprerak: Motivators For Zero Waste

Hara Makers Initiatives: Until We Have Faces

“Until We Have Faces” is a podcast series dedicated to exploring the hidden stories and perspectives of people and communities around the world. Each episode will take you on a journey through the experiences and struggles of marginalized communities, and give voice to those who have been silenced or overlooked by mainstream media.

The first mini-episode tells the story of Rizal, a waste picker from a marginalized community who has dedicated his life to making Malaysia’s cities cleaner and more sustainable. Through his eyes, the podcast explores the challenges and opportunities faced by waste pickers and helps us gain a deeper understanding of the critical role they play in our society.

Listen to the podcast here: Until We Have Faces: The Hidden Stories of Waste Pickers

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