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ACCOMPLISHMENT VIS-A-VIS PHASE 2 OBJECTIVES

 

  1. To stimulate in about 150 barangays the formation and strengthening of people’s organizations, aiming at the active involvement of the large majority of the population, particularly the disadvantaged sectors, so that they will be able to concertedly define and act on their own needs and make claims on GO and NGO services required to meet these needs.

 

Formation and strengthening of people's organizations in 150 barangays

 

131 people's organizations (POs) have been formed in 122 barangays with the help of community organizers (COs) from 5 non-government organizations (NGOs). This scale of PO formation as a result of NGO intervention is unprecedented and stands out when compared with other rural development projects in the country. It is also of importance because in the conceptual framework of ANIAD community organizing is the core program upon which other interventions are supposed to be built upon.

Strictly speaking, the achievement, though significant, falls a little short of the target. This is because after 1994 (the first year of Phase 2), PO formation through community organizing (C.O.) was started in only a limited number of additional sites due to the following reasons:

  1. Presence of alternative forms of organization in potential "expansion" barangays: 55 sloping agricultural land technology (SALT) implementors' groups, 29 Grameen Bank centers, 59 integrated pest management (IPM) committees, 54 fisheries and aquatic resources management councils (FARMCs), 21 family health management core groups, etc.
  2. Reduction in the number of COs (because the budget for C.O. was decreasing as a matter of principle) with no compensating increase in efficiency (which could have been shown in increased barangay coverage per CO with no quality loss)
  3.  

     

    NGO Field Workers

    Barangays Covered

     

    1994

    59

    100

     

    1995

    55

    118

     

    1996

    45

    122

     

    1997

    37

    122

     

    1998

    37

    122

     

    1998 bridging period

    10

    "thematic"

           

  4. Focus on consolidation of program gains which was translated into a longer time-frame for C.O. (from 3 years to 6 years), making continued intervention in "old" barangays necessary and limiting expansion to "new" barangays
  5. Individual NGO assessment of expansion potentials which, given the reasons above, tended to suggest against expansion rather than an objective-oriented planning approach involving all ANIAD partner NGOs

The NGOs did a categorization of their assisted POs based on organizational, financial, project management, and community involvement criteria. The result is as follows:

Many of the "average" POs actually performed well in majority of the criteria but poor scores in the financial criteria dragged down their over-all ratings. There were prevalent weaknesses in bookkeeping, safekeeping of source documents, internal checks and balance, and financial reporting to the PO general membership.

Still, the categorization above follows the normal distribution curve and can be expected in a program of this scale.

But the C.O. program started with higher expectations so the distribution should have been skewed towards a larger number of "strong" POs. Why this did not materialize may be due to combinations of the following:

  1. High turnover rate among NGO workers. When the Philippines was removed from the list of Netherlands-assisted countries and the fate of the ANIAD program became uncertain (the approval of Phase 2 and release of funds were considerably delayed), many NGO workers explored and consequently opted for other lines of work. In the course of Phase 2, others also left for more secure employment.
  2. New NGO workers taking over were not thoroughly oriented on the processes undertaken, the pitfalls encountered, and the gains achieved in their assigned area. The tendency therefore was to start all over again, pursue another direction, or commit the same mistakes.
  3. Insufficient "technology transfer". Much have been invested in the capability building of the first batch of NGO workers but little towards institutional development of their NGOs. Thus when many of the first batch left there was no sufficient built-in NGO system to phase in their replacement and train them as intensively as the first batch. There was a training program for CO supervisors but this did not go as far as enabling them to transfer skills to new COs.
  4. Increased drive towards uniformity and standardization through a centralized structure which is AFON, the NGO federation, largely through the influence of consultants and external resource persons. AFON went beyond playing a facilitative role in getting the NGOs together for operational coordination and sharing of learnings; it became instead the clearing house for staffing, salary scales, site selection, trainings, NGO institutional development, C.O. tactics and field approaches, mobilization issues, fund accessing, PO networking, contacts outside Antique, etc. At times, it appeared that AFON was taking a direct hand in the management of the C.O. program.

 

Involvement of the large majority of the population

 

On the average, PO membership came from 34% of the households in the barangay. This is a reasonable percentage for one organization. Beyond this, the danger of bringing into the organization inherent tensions among various sectors, clans, or political groups in the barangay becomes greater.

The average membership per PO is 54. Over-all, some 7100 households were involved.

A greater number of households would have been more systematically involved had the NGOs gone beyond stimulating the formation of just one organization in the barangay. It was initially thought that committees formed around specific issues or projects would serve as the nuclei of new organizations; however, most committees did not outlive the immediate implementation of projects or the mobilization on issues; those that did were absorbed in the PO. (Perhaps the use of the word "committee" led to the notion that it cannot be anything but part of the existing PO. The thrust on consolidation of program gains was also taken by some to mean that the various committees should be consolidated as one in the PO.)

Beyond organization-building, however, the ANIAD program did reach a greater percentage of the barangay population. The 60 potable water supply projects, for example, served entire barangays and not just the PO membership. In IPM farmers' field schools in 40 barangays with POs, a number of the participants are non-members. The landless project, in particular, purposely targeted non-members (later many of the landless involved did join the PO).

Outside of C.O.-covered barangays, the ANIAD program (through IPM, SALT, CID, and coastal resource management) also reached 152 barangays, involving around 22% of the population or some additional 5700 households.

 

Involvement of the disadvantaged sectors (small landowners, tillers with insecure tenure, landless agricultural workers, sustenance fishers, women)

 

The PO membership profiles shown below indicate that, by and large, the ANIAD program has reached its target disadvantaged sectors.

  

 

Coastal PO

Membership

Flat Inland PO

Membership

Upland PO

Membership

 

Small Riceland Owner

9%

39%

17%

 

Tenant/Lessee

7%

29%

13%

 

Landless

35%

31%

17%

 

Marginal Upland Farmer

9%

1%

53%

 

Sustenance Fisher

40%

N.A.

N.A.

 

Multiple Status

11%

11%

11%

 

Women

53%

58%

44%

 

Definition of and action on needs

 

Towards the end of Phase 2, POs had increasingly clearer and more concrete agenda. These were included either in the PO's own annual plan or in the barangay development plan (prepared by the barangay development council). In the latter case, there were many instances when the PO actually took the lead in mobilizing volunteer workers and other resources for the barangay project even if the barangay council was nominally in charge.

While some of these plans still have the ubiquitous basketball courts and barangay halls (projects that to some outsiders may seem frivolous even if the rural people see them differently - to them, the basketball court is also a drying pavement, the barangay hall is also a warehouse), new items are increasingly being included in the plans: phased construction of potable water supply systems (because the barangay budget is oftentimes not enough to finish the whole system in just one go), budget for maintenance and expansion of such systems, seedling nurseries, technical and value-reorientation trainings, radio handsets for communication, day-care centers, books and periodicals, etc.

In the policy or legislative front, a number of PO concerns have been addressed through local ordinances. These included measures to protect SALT farms from stray animals and recurrent bush fire, guidelines on the use of potable water supply systems, adoption of IPM practices (no burning of rice straws, communal gathering of golden apple snail, etc.), delineation of fish sanctuaries and critical microwatersheds, creation of neighborhood watch-groups against domestic violence, etc.

PO agenda remain mainly agricultural in focus but it is encouraging to note that other sectoral concerns are beginning to be given attention. The narrow focus on agriculture in the past marginalized the landless and the women. In the case of the landless, particularly, it took a special project (1996-97) catering expressly to their needs to get them to join and/or become more active in the PO. The fresh enthusiasm of the landless did revive a number of moribund organizations. In the case of women, PRAGEN (participatory rural appraisal and gender) approaches were introduced to focus attention on their particular concerns.

The increased participation of PO members in barangay development planning (and at the municipal level in some cases) and interlocking PO and barangay officialdom may have a downside in that the distinction between PO agenda setting and barangay planning has become blurred. Some POs, in fact, do not bother anymore to go through the motions of annual planning.

The elaborate written PO annual plan may indeed be of fading interest to some POs but it is heartening to note that the process of situational analysis, problem and opportunity identification, goal setting, and action planning is still being applied in other settings by PO members who have been trained and are experienced in it.

 

Claims on GO and NGO services

 

PO confidence in their claim-making ability markedly increased in Phase 2. This is evident in the number of projects independently sourced out and in the counterpart contributions mobilized for ANIAD-assisted projects.

POs have also been able to get government technicians and health workers assigned to their barangay and to visit their barangay on a more regular basis.

POs have also been known to complain directly to NGO managers regarding the quality of intervention and the length (or, more correctly, shortness) of stay of NGO field workers in their area of assignment. In two cases they even asked for the relief of the NGO worker assigned to their barangay.

But, beyond this, POs have not been able to define what assistance they really need from NGOs, this despite the POs having their annual plan. PO requests thus tended to be on a case to case basis, as were the NGO responses.

 

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