Hi everyone, I’m Brian, co-founder of EA Philippines. I’m sharing here the case studies I wrote about 12 members of EA Philippines who we think best demonstrate our group’s impact. These 12 are people who:
- became very engaged with effective altruism
- took significant actions (i.e. a career path change) mainly based on EA ideas/principles
- did #1 and #2 mostly as a result of engaging with the events and activities of EA Philippines and/or our student chapters.
I wrote these case studies to submit them to CEA since they require these as part of our end-of-grant reports for our October 2020 to January 2022 Community Building Grant. I thought it would be great to share them here too. Everyone featured below was willing to be featured here publicly on the Forum, with their writeup being the same as what we submit to CEA.
We grantees of EA Philippines think these case studies showcase most of our impact over the grant period, and we hope other people can get a sense of how successful we were based on them. For those who want to learn more about what activities we did and what other impact we had, you can read this separate report on EA Philippines’s progress during our grant.
All of these case studies were written by me and were mostly last updated on January 31, 2022. I wrote these based on information I got from these people and their submissions to a survey CEA sent to them in October 2021, which CEA and everyone below gave me permission to view their responses.
Summary of case studies
Since all the case studies below are a ~13-minute read, I wrote here a short summary of each of our case studies and what they’ve achieved, most of which were as a result of getting more engaged in EA through EA Philippines. Two out of three of us grantees are also featured below, since we became more engaged in EA during the grant period too. (Although I know us grantees don’t really count as case studies, or count as much as the others):
- I (Brian Tan) became a 0.5 FTE Group Support Contractor at CEA in Dec. 2021. I also was a participant in Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2021 Incubation Program, and I was the main community builder at EA Philippines from Jan. 2021 up to now.
- Nastassja “Tanya” Quijano (one of us CB grantees) shifted from independent non-profit consulting work to being a Senior Programme Officer at the Australian Embassy in the Philippines to work on policy reform.
- Marifel “Ging” Geronimo shifted from working in the Philippines’ National Economic Development Authority to being a 0.75 FTE co-founder of Animal Empathy Philippines, which recently received a $64,000 EA Animal Welfare Fund grant.
- Pierce Manlangit shifted his career plans from doing general scientific work to focusing on alternative protein research, and did a literature review thesis under Mark Post.
- Rochelle “Roc” Bata became the Chief Operations Officer of ClimateScience, an international youth-led, EA-adjacent non-profit that provides free science-based online resources on climate change.
- David Africa shifted his career plans to focus on aiming for a career in technical AI safety, instead of aiming to work in finance or tech more generally. He’s currently a 3rd year undergraduate student in applied mathematics at the Ateneo De Manila University.
- Kirsten Angeles is the former president of EA Blue (one of our student chapters), who shifted her career path from becoming a clinical doctor to being interested in roles in global health and development, biosecurity, or EA movement building. She’s currently an intern at LEEP and a mentor at CEA’s UGAP.
- Sophia “Pia” Tabanao is the current president of EA Blue, and was a former intern at the Fish Welfare Initiative, where she helped start Makaisda, a Philippine fish welfare project.
- Reynaly “Shen” Javier is the former president of EA UP Diliman, and currently the co-head of EA Philippines’s Mental Health Charity Ideas Research project, which got an $11,000 grant from the EA Infrastructure Fund.
- Alec Sy Wang is the co-founder and former president of EA Blue, who transferred universities to Simon Fraser University in Canada. He decided to shift his career plans to work on either earning-to-give (via software engineering) or AI research instead of general for-profit work. He is currently a back-end developer at Microsoft in Canada.
- Janaisa “Janai” Baril is a 0.4 FTE co-founder of Animal Empathy Philippines and a 0.2 FTE communications and events volunteer for EA Philippines.
- Rikaela “Rika” Gabriel is the co-founder of EA Blue and was a research intern at EA Philippines, where she co-wrote a problem profile on mental health in the Philippines. She is currently interning at LEEP and has taken the GWWC 10% pledge.
Our full case studies
We put a few noteworthy sentences/phrases about each person as text in bold.
Marifel “Ging” Geronimo
Ging is a communications and stakeholder engagement associate at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), as well as a consultant at the World Bank. She left her job in NEDA in December 2021 to co-found and work near full-time (0.75 FTE) on Animal Empathy Philippines (AEP). AEP is a spin-off of EA Philippines focused on doing community building work on effective animal advocacy (EAA) in the Philippines. This project is the work of Ging and 2 of EA Philippines’s key members, and they received a 1.53 FTE, $64,000, 12-month grant from the EA Animal Welfare Fund recently. This project was launched in December 2021.
Ging first found out about EA by joining EA Philippines’s 9-week Intro EA discussion group in May to July 2020. She took the Giving What We Can 10% pledge later that year, and started volunteering for 5-6 hours per week for EA Philippines in late 2020 too, by facilitating for EA UPD’s Intro Fellowship and helping research on and write a problem profile on farm animal welfare in the Philippines. She also co-organized our first 9-week EAA fellowship from July to September 2021, which had 23 participants and 14 graduates. EA Philippines wouldn’t have been able to incubate Animal Empathy Philippines this soon without her, and she wouldn’t have done this (or have gotten passionate about animal welfare) without her engagement with EA and EA Philippines.
Pierce is a master’s student in biology at Radboud University in the Netherlands. He first found out about EA in August 2020 when he attended an EA Blue event where Brian Tan spoke about EA and high-impact career planning. He then joined EA Blue’s 1st Virtual Fellowship from October to December 2020. He decided to shift his career plans from doing general biology-related scientific work to focusing on alternative protein research. After shifting his focus, he was able to do a literature review thesis under Mark Post.
He participated in the first cohort of the EA Cambridge Alt. Protein seminar and will be facilitating the upcoming cohort. He has attended EA Global London 2021 as the only in-person attendee who is a member of EA Philippines. He is also an incoming master's thesis student at the Laboratory of Regenerative and Movement Biology in ETH Zurich to work on Atlantic salmon stem cell lines for cultivated seafood development, under Ori Bar-Nur, PhD. He wouldn’t be on the path he is now on if not for engaging with EA and EA Philippines.
I (Brian Tan) first found out about EA in 2017 through 80,000 Hours. I then co-founded EA Philippines in November 2018, and got more engaged in EA while being a volunteer co-organizer. In late 2020, I applied for and received a community building grant, together with my 2 co-founders, to work on EA Philippines. I left my job as a UI/UX designer to do this work. I worked full-time on EA Philippines from January 2021 to December 2021, and I have enjoyed it a lot.
I have also done 3 EA-relevant contracting projects in 2021: 1-month, 3hrs/week for CEA to reply to newcomers about EA online; 3-months and 6hrs/week for EA Funds to redesign their website; and since March 2021 to now, I have been moderating the EA Job Postings Facebook group.
I also took part in Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2021 Incubation Program, and worked with Shen Javier and AJ Sunglao to start a Mental Health Charity Ideas Research project, to research the top charity ideas in mental health in the Philippines / Southeast Asia. This project got an $11,000 grant from the EA Infrastructure Fund. I am now working 0.5 FTE for CEA as a group support contractor for them since December 2021, alongside working 0.5 FTE for EA Philippines. I plan on continuing to work on the cause of EA movement building for the next 2-5 years (or longer), and I plan on directly working for EA organizations to maximize my career’s impact. I would likely not have gone on this path if not for receiving the Community Building Grant from CEA.
(April 2022 Update: CEA renewed my contract with them for 6 months to continue being a group support contractor for them! So I will be working at around 0.75 FTE for them from May-June 2022 and 0.9-1 FTE for them from July onwards, and I’ll decrease my time spent on EA Philippines accordingly.)
Nastassja “Tanya” Quijano
Tanya used the 80,000 Hours career guide and attended an EA London meetup while she was a Master’s student in London in 2017. She read the “Doing Good Better” book that was given to her from the event. She got connected with Brian Tan and Kate Lupango in late 2018, and helped co-found EA Philippines.
Using her contacts in the development sector, EA Philippines was able to feature EA-aligned organizations locally in events and introduce EA Philippines in the Philippines’ Monitoring & Evaluation Network Forum held in 2019 for 366 participants. Tanya has given several talks on effective altruism and impactful careers. Tanya leads EA Philippines’ research on and support of effective local charities, conducts 1-1 career advising for members, and currently manages our communications volunteers.
From being an independent consultant with different projects for multiple streams of income, the community building grant allowed her to not take on as many projects for income and choose one full-time job at the development cooperation section at the Australian Embassy, where she aims to make a bigger impact on policy development in the Philippines.
Tanya has attended several EA conferences (most of them online) and was a speaker at EAGxAsia Pacific and EAGxPrague. Tanya plans to continue supporting the EA Philippines community through career advising, supporting communications work, and engaging more professionals in the community through a prospective introductory EA fellowship targeted for them.
Rochelle “Roc” Bata
Roc is the Chief Operations Officer of ClimateScience, an international youth-led non-profit with communities and volunteers in 40+ countries. ClimateScience’s mission is to provide free science-based and expert-reviewed resources on climate change and its solutions in engaging and easy-to-understand formats. We think ClimateScience is doing EA-aligned work, and some of their content does align with the views of EAs.
Roc first found out about EA in 2018, and she went to her first EA Philippines event in Sept. 2019. She was still working remotely as an implementation specialist for a US-based web development company at the time, while she was also working on an app that sought to promote effective giving in the Philippines. (She has since paused this project.) She attended our introductory discussion group from May-July 2020, which motivated her even more to do more good with her career.
In December 2020, she started working part-time as an executive assistant to the CEO of Eon V Labs (Philip Chen), a new EA-aligned longtermist organization. And in January 2021, she founded the Philippine chapter of ClimateScience, which she led as a volunteer national coordinator. She then became the continental coordinator for Asia in May, and joined the organization full-time as COO in December. She also participated in WANBAM and was mentored by Kathryn Mecrow-Flynn. She thinks it is unlikely she would have gotten exposed to these opportunities if not for EA Philippines. She also briefly volunteered to help us in our Local Charity Effectiveness Research.
David is a 3rd year undergraduate student in applied mathematics at the Ateneo De Manila University. He first heard about EA in July 2020, although he had heard of LessWrong before then. He attended EA Blue’s 1st Virtual Fellowship from October to December 2020. After the fellowship, he shifted his career plans to focus on aiming for a career in technical AI safety, instead of working in finance or tech more generally. He then facilitated for EA Blue’s 2nd Virtual Fellowship, and also interned for EA Philippines to do career advice research relevant to AI safety. He researched and wrote a guide on Why and How Filipinos can get a PhD in Computer Science abroad. This is since a PhD in Computer Science is a good way to enter the field of technical AI safety, and he plans on pursuing this path abroad.
He also landed a software engineering internship under the R&D Division of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology, which he likely wouldn’t have been motivated to take if not for engaging with EA and EA Philippines. He has also gotten accepted into 4 other various internships for 2022. Although they are not that EA-aligned, they can help him build career capital and backup career options. As an end goal, he hopes to land a technical job in an organization relevant to AI safety, such as OpenAI or DeepMind.
Kirsten is the former president of EA Blue, EA Philippines’s student chapter in the Ateneo de Manila University. She is a 4th-year undergraduate student in Ateneo taking a degree in Health Sciences. She first heard about EA in 2019 when she heard about EA Blue, which was a newly launched organization that year. In May 2020, she decided to join EA Philippines’s May-July 2020 Intro EA Discussion Group. We asked her to become the president of EA Blue since they were looking for a president. She accepted it, and EA Blue has since grown a lot thanks to her leadership and work that school year. Under her leadership, EA Blue ran 2 successful introductory virtual fellowships, which had a total of 54 participants and 48 graduates. EA Blue also now has a good Executive Board of 7 people. She also took the Giving What We Can 10% pledge in 2020.
Kirsten has also shifted her own career plans because of her interest in EA. Instead of pursuing a career as a clinical doctor, she now plans on working in roles related to global health and development, EA movement building, or biosecurity. She is doing a part-time internship at the Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP), an incubated charity of Charity Entrepreneurship. She is also a research assistant of Dr. John Wong, founder of EpiMetrics, Inc., a Philippine health research organization, and is an intern for EpiMetrics, Inc. as well. She is also now a mentor for CEA’s University Group Accelerator Program (UGAP).
Sophia “Pia” Tabanao
Pia is the current president of EA Blue. She is a 3rd year undergraduate student taking up development studies in the Ateneo de Manila University. She first found out about EA in 2020 when she attended one of EA Blue’s virtual events, and she joined EA Blue’s October to December 2020 Intro EA fellowship. She then became a fellowship facilitator, an operations associate, and the VP for External Relations of EA Blue (all at the same time) in the 2nd semester of SY 2020-2021. She got interested in the cause of animal welfare, and landed an internship at the Fish Welfare Initiative (FWI). She worked with Chiawen Chiang, a Filipina who is also an intern at FWI, to start Makaisda, a project within FWI that aims to improve fish welfare in the Philippines.
Pia is now interested in a career in research, either for the cause of animal welfare or health and development. She joined and completed EA Philippines’s 9-week Effective Animal Advocacy Fellowship. She will also likely start volunteering soon for Animal Empathy Philippines, and has joined CEA’s University Group Accelerator Program.
Reynaly “Shen” Javier
Shen is the founder and former president of EA UP Diliman, EA Philippines’s student chapter in the University of the Philippines - Diliman Campus. She is a 4th year undergraduate student in statistics at the same university. She founded EA UP Diliman in November 2020 with support from EA Philippines. She had heard of EA back in 2018, but she only engaged with EA Philippines in mid-2020, when she joined an event of EA Blue. She joined EA Blue’s 1st Virtual Fellowship, and recruited 4 other core team members to work on EA UPD with her. She organized EA UPD’s 1st virtual fellowship, which lasted 10 weeks and had 28 graduates out of 36 accepted fellows. She then joined Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2021 Incubation Program under the region-specific research track with Brian Tan. She is now co-leading the Mental Health Charity Ideas Research of EA Philippines, which she received a grant on with Brian.
She plans on having a career in research, and plans to work for a local development research organization like IDInsight or Innovations for Poverty Action when she graduates in May 2022. She would not have founded EA UPD or taken part in CE if not for her engagement with EA Philippines, and she might not have pursued a career in research at non-profit organizations.
Alec Sy Wang
Alec is the former president of EA Blue in SY 2019-2020. He is currently a final year computer science undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University in Canada. He first found out about EA in 2019 through Brian Tan, and joined EA Philippines’s 1st event in Dec. 2018. He helped us organize a few of our next events in 2019. He decided to co-found EA Blue in mid-2019 with 4 other students interested in EA from the Ateneo de Manila University, where he was a 1st year Management Engineering student at the time.
Because of his engagement with EA and EA Philippines, he decided to shift his career plans to work on either earning-to-give (via software engineering) or AI research instead of general for-profit work. He shifted his university degree in his 2nd semester in Ateneo to computer science, and also started making plans to apply to transfer to a foreign university, so he could get a better education and better opportunities in tech. He has since done 7 different internships across the Philippines’s and North America’s tech industry. He is currently a back-end developer at Microsoft in Canada.
Janaisa “Janai” Baril
Janaisa Baril is the part-time co-founder of Animal Empathy Philippines. She will work there at 0.4 FTE to do communications and event organizing work. Janai has had a career doing freelance work, including working with Roc Bata remotely as an implementation specialist for a US-based web development company. She also worked with Roc on an app that sought to promote effective giving in the Philippines (though the project was never launched).
She attended our introductory discussion group from May-July 2020, which motivated her even more to do more good with her career. She briefly volunteered to help us in our Local Charity Effectiveness Research, and she has been a 0.2 FTE communications and events volunteer for EA Philippines since Dec. 2020. She also joined EA Philippines’s 1st Effective Animal Advocacy Fellowship in July to September 2021.
She is very interested in having a job or business that is EA-aligned. She would not be working on Animal Empathy Philippines if not for EA Philippines, so she thanks us a lot for offering her more impactful career opportunities.
Rikaela “Rika” Gabriel
Rika is a co-founder of EA Blue and a 4th year undergraduate student in psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University. She first heard about EA through Alec Wang, and she attended an EA Philippines event in Feb 2019. She and a few others then co-founded EA Blue. She helped organize and attended a career planning workshop that Brian Tan gave in July 2019 for EA Blue, where she read content from 80,000 Hours. Through this, she decided to shift her degree from management engineering to psychology, which is a decision she is happy about. She also was the Vice President for Internal Affairs of EA Blue from schoolyear 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. She also was a part-time research intern for EA Philippines for 7 months, where she researched and wrote with Brian Tan and JP Apellido a problem profile on the scale and neglectedness of mental health in the Philippines.
She plans to continue testing her fit in different career paths related to improving global health and development, local mental health, or local reproductive health. She is pursuing a thesis topic on mental health that she her groupmates chose based on EA principles. They are planning to test the effectiveness of a self-help mobile application called Lusog-Isip in improving the mental well-being of Filipino adolescents. She also is doing an internship at the Lead Exposure Elimination Project (LEEP), an EA-aligned charity. She has also been donating at least 10% of her income to EA-recommended charities since Feb. 2019, and she signed the GWWC 10% pledge in 2021.
If you have any feedback or questions about our case studies, feel free to comment them below! I'd love to see other EA groups publish case studies of members they've influenced too (with the consent of those members). You can also email feedback to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a quick comment to say this was a very helpful post, thank you Brian!
The most useful aspect for me was seeing how people's engagement increased over time. My big takeaway is the importance of fellowships/discussion groups. Looking at these case studies, once someone has heard of EA, the next big moment is participation in such an activity. Would you agree?
Thanks James! Yep, that's usually the case