The past year at Catalpa

A few snippets of the things we’re proud of, from teachers using the Matenek app 45 minutes each day to more than 50,000 women receiving maternal health info.

maternal health
Education & Skills Training


2020 catalpa

Hey there, 2020. Welcome to this year with us at Catalpa! As January comes to a close, it’s time to plan and build on the things we’ve achieved with our partners over the past year.

Something that’s important to us (and we believe should be important to all in the aid and development sector) is local ownership and long-term sustainability. With many of our projects in early stages, we’re prioritising co-designing solutions with local partners, including government actors and community members, to make sure they’re tailored to the right people. And for projects we’ve seen success with over the past few years, we’ve been pleased to see them gradually handed over to our government partners.

Here’s what we’ve achieved over the past year.

We’d like to acknowledge the donors and government partners who help make these projects possible: Australian Aid (via DFAT and innovationXchange), GIZ, UNDP, ILO, ANU, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the governments of Timor-Leste, the Solomon Islands, Myanmar and PNG. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

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In 2019…

We were named a winner in the Australian Government’s inaugural Technology for Development Challenge and launched a brand new project, Olgeta, to build future-ready skills for women’s employment in Solomon Islands. As part of the project, a new partnership was formed with the UN Capital Development Fund’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme to use their content in our financial literacy course.

The Liga Inan maternal health project now has more than 58,000 women enrolled across Timor-Leste, an achievement for us and our partners Health Alliance International and the Ministry of Health.

We found out Liga Inan is the main source of health information for 70% of mothers. We also piloted Liga Familia, an extension of the project to provide maternal and child health information to family members (particularly dads).

The Estrada project kicked off to improve roads management in Timor-Leste, including planning, monitoring and maintaining the road network. The project is a partnership with the Ministry of Public Works, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and VicRoads.


We surveyed the use of ICTs in 330 townships and 990 primary, secondary and vocational schools in Myanmar as part of the Myanmar Education Quality Improvement Programme.

We launched Lukim Gather, a mobile application to monitor the environment in protected areas around Papua New Guinea, partnering with the UNDP, the PNG Government, and the Tenkile Conservation Alliance.

The Mohinga aid transparency platform is now tracking more than US$15 billion in funding within Myanmar, including where the money is going, and which issues it’s remedying.

We conducted our first design mission to Papua New Guinea to begin developing their District Information Management System, an important tool to allocate funds to the country’s 87 districts.

We created a national nutrition dashboard and resource library to help Hamutuk multi-sector nutrition partners collaborate. They’ve collectively registered more than 300 community events and uploaded 70 documents for open access.

liga inan

We conducted an analysis of the digital economy in Fiji to understand how we might accelerate the participation of women in technology jobs, as part of the Australian National University’s (ANU’s) Data for Development programme.

We launched the Myanmar Project Bank, a transparency and coordination platform for major investment projects in Myanmar, already tracking US$28 billion in project budgets. It’s set to be open to the public soon.

We held our first kickoff meetings in Australia for the Pacific Labour Facility, which supports short-term employment in Australia for people from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

We launched the Suco Level Food Security Monitoring System, which collects food security information from around Timor-Leste, with the Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries.

We had a number of wins with the Matenek program in Timor-Leste. After the pilot phase, we learned teachers had been using the app for 45 minutes a day to prepare for class the following day. Here’s a blog post and video series about it.

And, lastly, we launched our new website!

catalpa staff

Where to from here?

We’re looking forward to working with our partners this year to achieve a more equitable world, including better access to information and the ability for people to make more informed decisions. We’ll likely see the Olgeta program grow in the Solomon Islands as we begin testing how to build skills in financial literacy, leadership and digital marketing, and we’re preparing to open the Myanmar Project Bank to the public.

We’re also working on opening an office in Australia, and are continuing to make our team stronger as we hire people from different backgrounds and uncover effective ways to work across multiple countries.

We’re still a growing organisation, so your comments, words and likes mean a lot to us. Thanks for reading this and being part of the Catalpa community!

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Want to know more about what we do? Visit our website at, and be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for updates. We post nice pieces of positive news and snippets from the projects we work on with great people :)

And if you have any thoughts on our work, we’re keen to read your comments 👇🏽

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