Wednesday, November 28, 2018

My latest initiative: starting up Social Innovations Advisory to strengthen civil society in China and Asia

In March, I wrote a blogpost about my move in February of this year from Hong Kong where I had a great gig as the Deputy Director of Development and Operations at China Labour Bulletin. Since then, I keep meeting people who ask me where I am and what I’m doing with my time, so I thought I’d send an update.

I’m now living in Guangzhou remaking myself as a consultant for international NGOs operating in the greater China and Asia-Pacific region. I’ve registered my own consulting company, Social Innovations Advisory, Ltd, in Hong Kong to help NGOs interested in doing innovative and impactful programming and reporting in the region. While I spend most of my time in Guangzhou, I make regular trips to Hong Kong and neighboring countries for meetings and other business.

Below are some of the consulting projects I’ve taken on this year:

1.     Researching and writing the China Philanthropy Law Report for the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), and regularly updating ICNL’s China page for the Civic Freedom Monitor.

2.    Developing short info graphs, timelines and FAQs to explain the civil society and philanthropy environment and laws in China for ICNL.

3.    Regularly updating the Council on Foundation’s Country Note for China.

4.    Contributing an assessment of China’s legal environment for civil society for a policy brief on global civil society written by Professor Helmut Anheier of Germany’s Hertie School of Governance in preparation for the G-20/T-20 in Argentina.

5.    Writing an article, “Remaking Chinese Civil Society in the Xi Jinping Era” for ChinaFile.

6.    Participating in a two-week fact-finding mission to interview human rights NGOs in Palestine and Israel about restrictions on access to funding, and drafting a 20-page advocacy report, for the International Federation for Human Rights (Fidh).

7.     Writing a thought piece on strategies for expanding the space for civil society in the Asia-Pacific for Innovation for Change-East Asia’s retreat for civil society leaders and intellectuals.

8.    Carrying out a survey of active labor organizations in China for an international NGO and writing a report with recommendations on how foreign companies can engage with and support those organizations.

9.    Organizing a forum for an international NGO to discuss and come up with recommendations on changing their strategy in China/Asia.

10. Conducting and writing an evaluation of a civil society project in China for a U.S. funder.

11.  Helping NGOs to conceptualize and draft concept notes and full proposals for large European Union and U.S. government grants.

Stay in touch and let me know how I can contribute to the global effort to strengthen civil society, labor and philanthropy. I can be reached by email at or, by Skype using my Skype ID profshawn, or by phone or WhatsApp through my China number +86 18565377724.