Mel Fatric Rhai Yan

Mel Fatric Rhai Yan


I have been a development practitioner since 2007, working in the areas of education & youth development, environmental conservation, public management & organisational development and social entrepreneurship.  In 2015, I co-founded an initiative called KA.T.ON to provide volunteer-driven academic support to high school students to reduce dropouts in Philippine public schools. Since 2016, I have been a consultant of various private and public organisations, including the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, World Dream School – NPO on the Road Japan, The Islands Group, Nature’s Legacy, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu, Cebu Provincial Government, and Cebu City Government, among others. 

I did my MA in Global Development and Education in the school in 2019/20, where I obtained the MA Dissertation Prize for getting the highest score of 97 for my research entitled Freedom from the Corporate Food Regime: Food Sovereignty and the Struggle for Rice Self-Sufficiency in the Philippines.

I was also awarded the MA Prize for achieving the best overall performance among MA graduates in POLIS for the said school year. I then applied for and was awarded the White Rose DTP 1+3 Studentship, which required me to complete an MA in Social Research (Interdisciplinary) in 2021/22 at the School of Sociology and Social Policy prior to starting my PhD. I officially joined POLIS as a post-graduate researcher in 2022.

I am currently connected part-time with IISLA, a Filipino-founded venture studio based in London and Manila, where I am tasked to co-organise research, forums, and trainings on food systems and social entrepreneurship as well as to co-develop a tech platform to better connect smallholder farmers and local food-based enterprises. I am an alumnus and former curator of the Cebu Hub of the Global Shapers Community, the youth arm of the World Economic Forum.

Research interests

I am interested in food systems inequality in the Global South, especially in the Philippines.  I am currently working on developing a consumption theory anchored on food sovereignty, with specific interest in intra-class conflicts between producers and consumers in a hypothetical producer-led provisioning system. 


  • MA Social Research (Interdisciplinary), University of Leeds
  • MA Global Development and Education, University of Leeds
  • Master of Public Management - major in Voluntary Sector Management, University of the Philippines
  • Bachelor of Secondary Education, University of San Carlos - Cebu, Philippines