Summing up a whole year is never easy but there seems a consensus in Sustineo that 2019 was notable for ‘change’, ‘growth’, ‘achievement’ and ‘resilience’.
In 2019 we said good bye to Sustineo’s founder and long-term CEO, Andrew Rowe. Andrew has been a driving force in shaping what Sustineo is today and while it’s sad to see him go rest assured that he will remain an active member of the Sustineo family in his role as Chair of the Sustineo Board. An outcome of this change in leadership has been the appointment of Tom Sloan as CEO. For anyone who knows Tom, he is quintessentially a people person, with a talent for research, a focus on delivery, a flair for innovation, and a serious passion for the Company which he joined in 2014. Get to know more about Tom here. If we can harness half the ideas Tom has for Sustineo, 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year!
Another development of the people front was our decision to expand the Research Consultancy Team. The arrival of Dr Asenati Chan-Tung and Ellis Mackenzie in 2019 has brought additional and complementary skills to the team, including in-depth research experience across the Pacific and Southeast Asia, as well as a fresh approach to the way we work.
2019 has seen Sustineo grow our business operations and partnerships enabling expansion of our work in the Asia-Pacific region.
We’ve had the pleasure of forging new partnerships with clients like Palladium and the Fiji Higher Education Commission. Establishing relationships with new clients, and continuing our work with existing clients, has delivered some exciting new projects to work on in 2019, including:
- Understanding Civic Knowledge and Citizen Engagement in Solomon Islands – Working with the Solomon Islands Governance Program Sustineo has conducted a major baseline survey on civic knowledge and citizen engagement to form the foundation for future work in this space.
- Monitoring and Evaluation of Socio-Economic Impacts of Pearl-based Livelihood Development in Fiji and Tonga – As part of this ACIAR funded project, Sustineo has been mapping the social and economic impacts for youth and women’s groups who are involved in mabé pearl farming and shell handicrafts.
- Village Courts and Land Mediation in PNG – Sustineo partnered with local research firm Anglo Pacific Research (APR) to provide an evaluation of local perceptions of the village courts and land mediation services in PNG and Bougainville.
- Climate Smart Agriculture opportunities to enhance PNG food security outcomes – Sustineo has worked alongside the ANU Climate Change Institute and local PNG organisations, providing social network analysis and monitoring and evaluation services to improve the delivery of seasonal climate forecast knowledge to local farmers.
Not content to spruik our successes just once a year, Sustineo has expanded its presence across social media channels this year. This has seen followers and engagement levels substantially increase. For updates on projects, news and research insights (…and the occasional selfie) follow Sustineo on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Importantly, we couldn’t achieve growth across our projects and business operations without our network of associates and local partners. Our associate network enables Sustineo to form project teams that combine truly interdisciplinary knowledge and skills from a range of leading academic, private and public institutions. Local partners are at the heart of the work we do, as they help to ensure our work is culturally sensitive, locally relevant and inclusive of the diverse people and locations where we work. There are too many to list here but from all of us, to all of you, thanks for what you’ve contributed to our success in 2019.
In the fast-paced world of consulting it is important to take the time to celebrate your achievements. Sustineo was thrilled to take out the Sustainability and Exporting Government Solutions awards at the ACT Australian Export Awards. This was a great achievement for Sustineo and meant we got to represent ACT at the 2019 Australian Export Awards and lift our profile with stakeholders at home and abroad!
Throughout the year we also completed high profile deliverables for our clients which have helped to build our reputation as a consultancy that produces high quality work on complex development problems. Special mention goes to our:
- Report for UNICEF on knowledge, attitudes and practices on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in PNG.
- Publication of an important research project on women’s leadership and political participation with UNDP. Conducted in 2018, the outputs of this document informed strategies to support women candidates in the lead up to the 2019 National General Election. This report can be found here.
- Publication of our Access to Justice Study Report for Solomon Islands for UNDP on context, barriers and challenges to the resolution of disputes and justice problems in the Solomon Islands, available here.
The nature of the work we do, and the internal changes Sustineo has faced over the year aren’t without their challenges. As Sustineo’s CEO, Tom aptly summed up:
“The ebbs and flows (and flows, and flows) of consulting can present both personal and professional challenges. The work we do at Sustineo is important and the people involved in delivering it have a real passion and commitment to doing it well. Like in any organisation, when there is a crunch of project delivery, the team as a whole can become quite frayed. At moments like that, it is difficult to see the broader picture and recognise the positive influence our work is having.”
As the best organisation’s always do, when the going gets tough, the team unites, finds a way through, but maintains a spirit of kindness and mutual support. That’s the Sustineo way and it will remain a feature again in 2020.
Of course, when the tough times are overcome, it’s time to celebrate, and the Sustineo team rarely miss and opportunity!
So now it’s time to sign off for 2019… we are having a break!
We are looking forward to spending important time in the coming weeks with family and friends… and we hope you are doing the same!
The Sustineo office will be closed from 5pm on Friday 20 December and re-opening at 9am on Wednesday 8 January 2020.
Thanks to our clients, associates, local partners, and our broader network of family and friends for a truly wonderful year.
We look forward to an exciting year ahead in 2020, our 10th year in business, and almost certainly our biggest yet!