LGUs and innovative solutions: A training course for rehabilitating communities affected by Yolanda

There is no excuse this time. Our mayors, councilors and other local government officials should be prepared for the next Yolanda. Addressing the challenges brought by extreme weather events and other possible effects of climate change would take a comprehensive understanding of the indivisibility of rights, of marrying creativity with transparency and of making sustainability the core goal of local governance.

The Ateneo School of Government (ASoG), through its Universities and Councils Network on Innovation for Inclusive Development (UNIID-SEA) project, will conduct a training course for local government units dubbed as the “Project Design Course on Inclusive Local Development” from August 4-10, 2014, in Northern Cebu, that can help them improve the rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas and provide the necessary services to communities that lost their homes and livelihoods in the disaster.

UNIID-SEA, which is supported by Canada’s International Development Research Center, will conduct the training among LGU officials from the 4th district of Cebu, which was devastated by super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013. The training will also be conducted in Mega Manila.

Aside from LGU officials such as mayors, vice mayors and members of the local legislative body, the participants will also include local government staff like disaster risk management officers, health workers, city/municipal engineers, planning officers, agricultural officers, social welfare and development workers and public information officers. Selected members of the communities devastated by Yolanda will also participate in the training program, as well as representatives of private sector and civil society organizations in the said areas.

Not just about structures

Following the destruction of thousands of homes in Northern Cebu due to Yolanda, the League of the Cities of the Philippines (LCP) engaged ASoG in addressing the possible increase of informal settlers and migrants moving from rural areas to urban areas. Transformative Urban Resettlement in Metro Manila (TURMM) formulated the Community Transformability Score Card (CTSC), a tool that will measure the transformation of an individual, household, and community, which shows that resettlement is more than just providing people structures to move into.

The CTSC has six transformability dimensions:

1. Physical and Environmental Livability

· Shelter/dwelling unit (space, design, functionality, durability)

· Utilities (potable water, electricity, fuel)

· Safety

· Waste disposal (MRF)

2. Mobility and Access

· Road, connectivity of community to at least 10 basic services – school, wet/dry market, hospital, church, etc.

· Access to efficient/effective/inexpensive public transport system

· Open & common facilities (parks, playgrounds, community halls)

3. Economic/Livelihood Opportunities

· Income generating opportunities/ livelihood training (sustainable?)

· Livelihood information exchange (database of skills)

· Household economics competencies (ability of household to pay financial

obligations/debts, ability to save)

4. Social Matrix/Network

· Support group (neighborhood)

· Access basic service (school, health center/hospital, church, etc.)

· Community participation

5. Community Governance

· Presence and importance of community organizations (legitimate – duly registered,

with regular reporting/feedback mechanism)

· Conflict resolution

6. Local Systems Integration

· Relationship between the community with the new local government

· Community participates in activities of the local government

· community contributes to the economy of the local government (vice-versa)

· Residents should be duly registered voter of the new local government

The CTSCS has been implemented in the city of Bogo and the municipalities of Daanbantayan, San Remigio, Bantayan, Madridejos and Sta. Fe. People here participated in focus group discussions conducted under TURMM. Respondents were from the poor and marginalized sector and were affected by Yolanda, some of whom have to be relocated such as in the case of Daanbantayan, Sta. Fe, Madridejos and San Remigio. The FGD helped determine the major needs and priorities of the families in their respective communities.

The main findings of the FGD revealed that:

  1. Almost all ranked the existence or provision of livelihood opportunities as top priority in a relocation site.

  2. Mobility and access is the second major concern for respondents from Bantayan, Madridejos and Sta. Fe. For Daanbantayan and San Remigio , it’s the first consideration.

  3. Respondents from Daanbantayan and San Remigio value physical livability the most.

  4. Community governance is important for respondents from Bantayan, Sta. Remigio and Sta. Fe.

  5. Social mix and local systems integration are the least concerns for the respondents.

The findings of these FGDs are seen to guide the participants in the UNIID-SEA training course on inclusive development.

Composed of three parts, the training program aims to foster the strategy of Inclusive Innovation Initiative, which follows the process of diagnosis (identification of problem), designing of solutions and delivery of proposed programs.

The first part of the training aims to orient participants on the Inclusive, Innovation and Initiatives, with lecture and workshop sessions on Inclusive Development Fundamentals that will feature resources speakers and presentations on Social Innovation and Local Governance. Participants will be given inputs on the Fundamentals of Community Engagement and witness an actual focus group discussion which is a standard strategy used in engaging people in the community to participate.

In the second part, the participants will be given inputs on Community Engagement Fundamentals and observe the actual conduct of focus group discussion in one of the selected communities. Afterwhich, they will conduct and facilitate their own FGD session, using the CTSC.

For the third and last part of the course, the participants will be given lecture on Project Management Fundamentals. The Resource Person will guide the participants in learning the essentials and discover the critical concepts of project management. Using the data and problems identified during the FGD conducted earlier, participants will then identify specific problems that are somehow linked to problems that they are currently working on in their jobs, which will be similarly analyzed using the phases of inclusive innovation. Then will prepare project designs and plans with support from mentors and coaches who will be available the whole day. In the project designs and plans, the participants should be able to demonstrate understanding of the principles and competencies of social innovation to be able to undertake the initiative. This will facilitate the development and submission of an Inclusive Innovation (diagnosis, design, and/or delivery) project plan.

On the last day of the training Course, the team of participants will present their project designs/plans, initiatives, share their learnings, and plans for the full implementation of their plans/project proposals, to a panel of reviewers. The reviewers will be composed of a multi-stakeholder team which will represent the following institutions: the Office of the Mayor, local NGOs, academe, provincial government of Cebu, League of Cities and League of Municipalities, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region 7, Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR), media, the Association of Schools of Public Administration in the Philippines (ASPAP). These institutions will be asked to review and critique the plans and projects of each team of participants to help them in further planning for the full implementation of their project or for better interest, possibly fund the project.


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