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Chili Padi Academy

Community building to enable individuals to solve complex environmental and social problems of today

Increasingly, there is an urgent need to build transboundary collaboration to solve complex environmental and social challenges. Chili Padi Academy aims to facilitate this via an environmental leadership and accelerator programme for senior high school students in Southeast Asia that nurtures a community of environmental leaders invested in collaboration and the healthy development of the region.

HundrED 2022


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2022

Holistic Education in South & South-East Asia

Web presence






Target group
August 2021
CPA pushed me to think and consider perspectives in ways I hadn't before. The supportive environment catalysed my change-making journey, to face challenges head-on and to grow from them.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

The current approach to the climate crisis is one that is focused strongly on coming up with “solutions”– neglecting the social and emotional aspect of change, such as changing people and the way that we relate to each other. Presently lacking in the conversation is a focus on how to build up collective capacity for mutual care and support, which then enables individuals to make meaningful change.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

We use the head-heart-hand methodology, via a month-long accelerator where participants acquire practical skills like theories and critical thinking (head). We emphasise the need to pair knowledge with Social Emotional Learning (heart), which is worked into every part of the process. This manifests in our uniquely curated curriculum where we facilitate challenging conversations relating to personal identity, environmental justice and privilege. We intentionally hold space for vulnerability, enabling participants to build relationships with each other, and come to a deeper ontological understanding. Finally, this culminates in an action-oriented approach (hand) as participants kickstart a self-designed environmental project in their local communities. This allows them to take ownership of their learning, and embark on transformative personal journeys. The continuity of projects post-CPA and alumni returning as organisers reflects the value that CPA has given to its participants.

How has it been spreading?

As a Southeast-Asia community, we evolved from initially 3 to now 4 countries. Over 5 cycles, we have reached out to more than 100 youths, with around 10-16 senior high school participants and 7-12 youth organisers each cycle. Although our numbers remain modest, we strongly believe in the intimacy of a small community. Additionally, we believe our impact scales outwards-participants educate their local communities on environmental issues, and many former participants and organisers continue to working on environmental and social issues even after CPA. Our goals for the next 2-3 years is to improve our organisational structure and plan for longer-term sustainability. We will continually improve on the accelerator programme, and consider adding more SEA countries to the mix.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

We strongly believe that any organisation or learning community can incorporate social emotional learning and principles into their work. CPA is just one example of that. If you want to find out more about how to do this, or even get involved and partner with us, please refer to our website or email us at

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

This innovation brings the role of community at the centre of the learning for the students through the head-heart -hand approach. It allows the learners to get a holistic view of the concept and the process could be replicated in any other settings without being resource intensive.

HundrED Academy Reviews

This innovation gives practical hands-on practices to understand and be part of the community in identifying the problems and solving the issues which would work well in any context.

Their experiential approach focusing on the head-heart-hand of the participants to build collective capacity is very appealing and is definitely the missing link in effecting change in behavior for climate action.

- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Spread of the innovation

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