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Tearfund to host women leaders from Asia-Pacific through Australia Awards Fellowship

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Media Release

For release: Tuesday 26 September 2023

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Tearfund to host women leaders from Asia-Pacific through Australia Awards Fellowship focused on gender, climate and leadership.

Tearfund Australia is thrilled to be hosting 13 women leaders from the Asia-Pacific region for a two-week residential program in Melbourne in October, through the Australia Awards Fellowships program, funded by the Australian Government. Tearfund was successful in winning the grant for its program, ‘Collective power, capacity and agency: Strengthening women’s leadership in five countries (Asia-Pacific)’.

Participating as Fellows in the program are 13 women from Tearfund’s partner organisations in Nepal, India, Myanmar, Indonesia and Solomon Islands. All of the Fellows hold positions of leadership within grassroots, locally-led organisations that contribute to development outcomes including empowering women and addressing the impacts of climate change in their communities.

Helen Fernandes, Tearfund’s Partner Capacity Strengthening Advisor, says: “This year we have an amazing opportunity to support women's leadership development through the Australia Awards Fellowships. Tearfund has been working to support our partners in their organisational development and a key part of this is leadership. Not only am I excited about the incredible learning opportunity this will be for the Fellows, but about the networks and connections this program offers, which will be so valuable for building agency and confidence in their leadership positions into the future.”

Alongside the residential program, the Fellows will participate in online learning, mentorship, and sub-regional follow-up sessions. Focusing on gender equality, climate change and leadership, the program will give the women the opportunity to learn from each other and from mentors in the leadership and development space, share their own experiences, and establish strong networks of support. Tearfund hopes that the program will contribute to the ongoing and deepening role of participating women in being agents of change in their own organisations, communities and countries.

A Fellowship participant from Tearfund’s local partner in Myanmar, says, “It is a great opportunity to participate in [this] learning exchange program. I am very glad to meet the peer leaders and excited for the whole process of the program.”

Irene Heidy, a Fellow from Tearfund’s partner in Indonesia, says, “Not only will this network be a venue for us to share our skills and knowledge… but will help us so much by learning from the other participants, about their context, their theories of change… and how they face the challenge of leading as a local woman in their organisation.”


For further information or interview requests call Melody Murton (Tearfund Head of Communications & Education) on (03) 9264 7000 or email [email protected]

Notes for Editors

  • Tearfund supports over 50 partners worldwide, a number of which are led by women, particularly in the South East Asia and South Asia regions.
  • Gender equality is a key focus of the program work of many of Tearfund’s partners.
  • Tearfund’s partnerships over the last 50+ years demonstrate positive outcomes for families and communities facing poverty as a result of women’s empowerment.

Key Messages

Tearfund Australia:

Tearfund works in partnership to end poverty, challenge inequality and build sustainable communities. Following Jesus, we go where the need is greatest, acting with courage to tackle injustice so that all may experience fullness of life. Our partnerships with local Christian agencies develop long-term holistic transformation for communities facing poverty and injustice around the world and in Australia. We do justice together as we inspire, connect and equip Australian Christians to live, act and pray for a more just and compassionate world.

Australia Awards Fellowships:

Australia Awards are prestigious international Scholarships, Fellowships and short courses funded by the Australian Government.

Australia Awards Fellowships build capacity and strengthen partnerships between Australian organisations and partner organisations in eligible developing countries in support of key development and foreign affairs priorities. By providing short-term study, research and professional development opportunities in Australia, mid-career professionals and emerging leaders can tap into Australian expertise, gaining valuable skills and knowledge.