Towards a sustainable development in blogging


The title came out spontaneously as I followed the instruction of WordPress to view the full annual report of this blog on line . At the end of the report, I clicked the instruction to post a summary to my blog in order to share this with readers. It led me to this new post and subsequent title when I tried to revise the given one.

social work and development

Except for its association with the blog name, I am at loss on why the title cropped up and how will I develop it. More so, on the relationship of sustainable development to blogging. I consider this as the first challenge for the new year as I commit myself to maintain this blog.

While it is one of the least updated blogs, Social Work and Development is my first WordPress blog. I started blogging on February 18, 2011, upon my pastor – friend’s advice to help my healing process. I was at the peak of service when attacked by chronic heart ailment which had constrained my active life of service for more than a year. Most of my time was spent at home due to limited mobility, making me vulnerable to discouragement and depression.

Dubbed PADAYON: Our Life Journey, my first journal blog on Blogger was an attempt to inspire readers to continue the commitment in service, no matter what. My friend’s advice worked. I found joy in blogging. My interest in writing was revived. Rather than fretting over my limited mobility, I made use of my time in blogging. I poured out my thoughts and emotion into the blog and found relief.

Two weeks after, I opened this blog to ventilate my suppressed commitment to the service of the people towards development. Its first name was Networking-for-holistic-development. Later, I changed the name to Development concepts, issues and concerns to broaden its coverage. Eventually, however, it was renamed Social Work and Development to give it a focus.

Despite its lull in June-October, I am happy to have received an inspiring annual report from WordPress. This serves as a motivation for me to continue the blog and, of course, the aforementioned challenge “towards sustainable development.” Let me share this with you, dear readers.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Role of Social workers in the history of NGO networking in the Philippines


The Yuletide break has given me the opportunity to work on my other blogs. It was not difficult for me to update some as there are recent activities related to their particular niche. Others are continuation of the series of articles being posted or reposted. It is on the last three remaining blogs where I take a pause. Although I have already topics for the two blogs which only need to be developed, I am at loss on Social Work and Development blog. There seems to be no significant activities or issues to relate with. Fortunately, while reading my series of article on NGOs, I came across the history of networking in the Philippines and found the role of social workers as pointed out by Alan G. Alegre (1996) on his book Trends and Traditions; Challenges and Choices. This solves my problem.

The story of Philippine NGOs and subsequent networking generally follows the trend of the world history of NGOs- from relief and welfare endeavors to social reformation which eventually led to the transformation approach. Alegre divided the history of NGOs into six distinct phases rooted in key points in the country’s recent past. He then traced the beginning of NGO networking in the Philippines from the formation of the Council of Welfare Agencies Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (CWAFPI), the forerunner of the present-day National Council of Social Development (NCSD).

As early as 1952, a group of social work leaders organized the Philippine National Committee of the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW). This eventually evolved into the Council of Welfare Agencies Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (CWAFPI), the umbrella organization of the various welfare and civic organizations, e.g., the Catholic Women’s Clubs, Boy/Girl Scouts of the Philippines, National Red Cross, etc. which, up to this day, cater to such sectors as traditional women’s groups, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

The early organizational formation, however, is only one part of the story of networking with particular focus on welfare agencies. In his book, Alegre presented a comprehensive discussion of the factors that contributed to the growth and development of networking in the Philippine NGOs. Such observation is complemented by a chronological presentation of the formation of nine mainstream national networks after NCSD in From the Present Looking Back: A History of Philippine NGO by Karina David (1998).

The milestone of NGO networking in the Philippines happened in 1990 with the launching of the Caucus of Development NGOs (CODE NGOs). This solidarity, however, did not happen overnight. It was a culmination of decades of common struggle similar to what other NGOs in other countries experienced in the course of historical development characterized by diverse intensity and highlights.

Those represented in the congress were Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PHILDHRRA), Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO), National Council of Social Development (NCSD), National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Council for People’s Development (CPD), Ecumenical Council for Development (ECD), National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), and Association of Foundations (AF).

This coalition resulted further in the ratification of a historic document – the Covenant for Philippine Development. No wonder, some development workers considered this period as the golden age of networking and coalition building in the Philippines because NGOs of different orientations and historical context agreed to act as one in responding to the opportunities and challenges of the new conjuncture.

(To be continued)

NGOs: reel or real?


Since the expose of the alleged multi-billion pork barrel scam by the whistleblower Benhur Luy in July, Filipinos have been both enraged and entertained by the seemingly incredible development and extent of the conspiracy to steal taxpayer’s money. Worse, the alleged brain (although many won’t consider her as such but a mere pawn) Janet L. Napoles seemed to besmirch the noble aim and name of non-government organizations (NGOs) in cohorts with some legislators and other officials of the implementing government agencies.The public outrage appears to build up as more revelations and denials are reported by the mainstream media and netizens. Hopefully, it will not die down until significant changes are undertaken by the government itself or by people’s initiatives nationwide.

Photo Credit: Prinx Vencer

Photo Credit: Prinx Vencer

In an attempt to do our share in responding to today’s challenge, the board of directors of our NGO- PO Network met some weeks ago to discuss the issue and unite on a particular stand. Being a loose coalition of various aggrupation of non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) with diverse programs, services, directions, leanings and persuasions, our network seldom makes an organizational stand, not until we reach a consensus. Yet, when it does, the result has greater impact.

Haribon Foundation officers and personnel guesting  our CATV show over Channel 8, Skycable

Haribon Foundation officers and personnel
guesting our CATV show over Channel 8, Skycable

We have seen two angles in the current controversy- the systemic graft and corruption practices and the role of the NGOs. We considered the act a double injury. The large -scale misuse of the people’s money is outrageous. Siphoning money out of government coffers thru fake NGOs adds insult to injury. For it besmirch the good image established by the genuine NGOs for decades. Worse, it provides justification to some government officials and local chief executives who do not feel comfortable with the watchful eyes of NGOs and their seeming intervention as provided for by the local government code in the Philippines.

It is in this second angle that the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs (ICON) decided to focus, While some members continue to actively take part in the local anti pork barrel movement representing their respective organizations, ICON has committed to inform the public about the existence and corresponding programs or services of genuine NGOs.

Co -host Rev.  Talha asks Boyet Areno and Ted Aldwin Ong (extreme right)  regarding the stand of the  Iloilo Caucus of Development NGOs (ICODE) on the pork barrel scam

Co -host Rev. Talha asks Boyet Areno and Ted Aldwin Ong
(extreme right) regarding the stand of the Iloilo Caucus
of Development NGOs (ICODE) on the pork barrel scam

For the past months, I have discussed in my CATV show the history and development of NGOs and related issues and concerns. A segment featuring member NGOs of our network, as well as those of the Social Welfare and Development Learning Network (SWDL-Net) has been a regular part of the show. This way, we give the public the opportunity to ask questions to clear their doubts and reservations brought about by the pork barrel scandal.We consider the crisis an opportunity to bring to the public consciousness the role of NGOs in nation building.

For indeed, one way of averting the systemic robbery in our government is to involve genuine NGOs in monitoring projects. As Alegre (1996) once contends: NGOs have emerged as a new catalyzing, social organization and as a significant player in development. They are increasingly significant actors in global governance and in international development.

But what are NGOs? How can they contribute to development? What are their roles, strategies, strengths and vulnerabilities? All of these and more will be the subject of the upcoming series of posts on NGOs.

_______________________________________

First published on PADAYON, this article is part of the series of posts on NGOs. Admittedly, the current pork barrel controversy in the Philippines  involving the Napoles  network of fake NGOs has besmirched the noble aim and name of  non-government organizations (NGOs). However, we consider the crisis an opportunity to bring to the public consciousness the role of NGOs in nation building.  

Inspiring development


There appears to be an on-going revival of organizations and related activities in our region. As posted earlier, we have revived the regional network of social workers in Western Visayas last month. It started with consultation during the World Social Work Day celebration on Mach 19 at Central Philippine University (CPU). Thereafter, the Social Workers Organizations’ Regional Network (SWORN) was organized to keep the rich heritage and tradition of Ilonggo social workers alive. It will serve as coordinating body of all social work organizations affiliated with recognized national bodies, as well as other independent ones.

Then on May 24, a consultation-meeting with social workers in the non-government organizations was held at the Department of Social Work, CPU. As a result, the core of Alliance of Social Workers in the Non-Government Organizations/People’s Organizations (ASIN) was created to pave the way for the assembly on July 19, 2013.

Interestingly, the revival of another social work- led network became a part of the discussion during the meeting. Majority of those present appeared to like the idea of establishing alliance with other development workers and advocates. In essence, this is what the original ASIN is all about. The acronym given to the newly organized alliance of social workers in the NGOs was actually taken from this original alliance established in 2004. Circumstances, however, prevented its growth and development. Hence, its hibernation for some years.

But with this current trends in revival, let me introduce what the other ASIN stands for, just in case there are readers of this blog who want to join in its revival. It stands for Alliance of Social workers, welfare and development advocates for Integrated services and Nationalism. The acronym, which is a Pilipino term for salt, symbolizes the essence and significance of the organization vis-a-vis the realities in our present society and in the whole world.

ASIN is indispensably needed in our time because of the awful corruption, depravity and sinfulness of the world system around us. Just as salt cures, preserves, and gives flavors, so will ASIN minister to a wounded, decaying and savorless world

OBJECTIVES

General: To serve as network of individuals, groups and organizations that are committed to
holistic development of people and communities through advocacy, solidarity, integrated services and nationalism.

Specific:

1. To advocate for social welfare and development policies, legislations, programs, services and activities that will benefit the marginalized sectors, as well as the implementors of the same.

2. To establish/strengthen solidarity among social welfare and development workers in public and private endeavors, non-government organizations, peoples’ organization, sectoral and professional groups who are committed to holistic development and the delivery of integrated services.

3. To coordinate/consolidate social welfare and development endeavors towards integrated service delivery.

4. To promote the spirit of nationalism and patriotism as a way of life.

5. To engage in special projects that would hasten the delivery of basic services and enhance the development of the marginalized sectors.

6. To mobilize human and material resources of various sectors in pursuit of social, economic, political, environmental, moral and ethical development of the people.

7. To participate in the electoral process and exercises through partylist representation, and other avenues whereby the association is qualified..

PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

ASIN will set up Centers and projects that will provide programs and services consistent with the following thrusts: Advocacy, Solidarity, Integrated Services, and Nationalism.

The Research Center will have twofold major functions, namely: to study, review, and advocate for the full implementation of approved Social Legislations related to the delivery of basic services; and to design/sponsor social legislations that will enhance and hasten the delivery of basic services to the marginalized sectors and welfare and development workers.

ASIN will also initiate educational endeavors to promote the spirit of nationalism such as seminars, trainings, exposure and sponsor celebrations with national significance and periodic mobilization to highlight patriotism and nationalism.

MEMBERSHIP

Membership is open to all individuals, groups, organizations, coalitions, and networks of social workers, community development workers, welfare and development advocates who believe in, and subscribe to the principles, objectives, and purposes of the association. They should have tested commitment in welfare and development endeavors and other forms of community service whether governmental, NGOs, people’s organizations, business, church, academe, civic, professional and other sectoral or civil society organizations and willing to dedicate their time, talents, and treasures for the attainment thereof.

Social workers to commemorate 48th year of R.A. 4373


It will be another opportunity for Social Workers to take the center stage with the week-long celebration of the 9th Social Work Week in Western Visayas  on June 13-19, 2013. With the  theme  Resiliency and Advocacy: The Power of Social Work, the event will kick off with a motorcade on June 13 simultaneously in  various provinces/cities in Region VI. It will followed by opening program in respective venues. The theme has been adapted from the National Association of Social Workers.

On June 14 -16  Social Work students from five schools of Social Work in Panay and Negros will hold their 3-day Regional Social Work Camp. To be hosted by Central Philippine University, the other participating schools are, as follows: Capiz State University, Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Iloilo Doctors College, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos. Literary and musical contests and sports fest  will be held at Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus.

Simultaneous with the Social Work Camp, the National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI)- Western Visayas will hold a Regional Conference  on June 15 at Central Philippine University. This will be participated in by faculty and field work supervisors of the aforementioned schools of Social Work.

On June 18-19,  the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) -Iloilo Chapter will host the regional convention of social workers in Western Visayas at Sarabia Manor, Iloilo City. One of the  highlights is the launching of the Social Workers Organizations Regional Network (SWORN).

SWORN will keep the rich heritage and tradition alive by strengthening the social work organizations/ groups in Western Visayas. It will serve as coordinating body of all social work organizations affiliated with recognized national bodies, as well as other independent ones.

SWORN will also act as support system to the regular activities of various organizations, and advocacy network to support the cause of Ilonggo social workers when needed. The network will spearhead the celebration of Social Work Week in Region VI. Moreover, it will be responsible for research-documentation and publication of the history, heritage and future development of social work endeavors in Western Visayas.

The annual celebration has been institutionalized by respective ordinances/ resolutions of city and provincial councils in Western Visayas to recognize of the role of social workers in nation building.

It will be recalled that the passage of R. A. 4373 or Social Work Law on June 19, 1965 has regulated the practice of social work and the operation of social welfare agencies in the Philippines. Subsequently, it has created a new interest in social work and in the field of social welfare.

Education vis-à-vis development


It’s just today that I realized how busy I had been for the past three weeks when I visited my blogs. I made it a point to update my blogs at least once a week to raise my Alexa rank. Alexa is a quick and easy way to estimate how popular your site is compared to other sites. Ratings start from 1 to 20,000,000 and even beyond. The lower the number, the better your rating is. That  has become my self imposed challenge  to test my reflexes without necessarily stressing myself.  Assessing the backlog vis-à-vis  my limits, I decided to repost my previous blogs according to their value and relevance. The following article, first published as What Education Should Be on Blogcritics two years ago, suits this particular blog.

It’s graduation season, particularly here in the Philippines. A time for jubilation of graduates and respective families. Also, a time to reflect on concepts of education and corresponding issues on the state of our educational systems.

Education as a basic right

There is a widespread global acceptance of the principle that education is a fundamental human right. This has been enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Education is therefore an essential public service. Every state or country is mandated to deliver such and take full responsibility for the good and welfare of its citizens. Gone were the ancient days when the chosen few were destined to be rulers, officers of the army, engineers, lords, teachers and priests through education. At the expense of the vast majority of peasants, laborers and serfs and their generation being deprived of such privilege.

Education as an agent of change

It has been said that the heart of education is the education of the heart. As such, education is an agent of change: change of values, as well as structures. An educated person is one who has undergone the process of transformation. From a passive spectator of the events taking place in society, an educated person has become an active participant in the affairs of his/her community.

Education and Development

Education, inevitably, leads to development. A skilled and knowledgeable citizen is a key to development. Since education produces new knowledge, ability and skills in continuous improvement in all aspects, the growth of national product is inevitable. But the contribution of education does not stop there. As Fritz Machlup noted, in his book Education and Economic Growth, “it has been taken for granted that education would increase respect for law and order and promote a climate conducive to peaceful social, political and economic development.”

As a basic right, education is supposedly an equalizer that provides opportunities for change in persons, as well as structures, thereby transforming a passive individual into an agent of societal change and subsequent development of a nation.

Such assumptions on what education should be present a bright picture of the kind of world we ought to live in. Considering the century-long progress in respective educational systems, we expect to see results, such as wrldwide literacy and subsequent development in all aspects of life.

Sadly, the present realities prove otherwise. In many instances, education continues to be a sieve which tends to separate the chaff from the grain. The expected transformation does not take place. Exploitative structures leave educated persons either perpetrators or powerless victims of systems. Katarina Tomaševski, first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, made a compilation global report before her death.

This first global report on laws and practice in 170 countries exposes the discrepancy. What has been proclaimed as free and compulsory education is deliberately betrayed. The problem is not necessarily due to the proverbial “insufficient public resources,” but the politics involved—either the lack of political will to effect the change or the interplay of complex factors and processes dominating the world system.

The next question is why? What is the root cause of the gap between what education should be and what it is now? Activists are quick to explain the culprit: a colonial, commercialized educational system being perpetuated globally. However, others dismiss this as mere sloganeering expected from radicals. What do you think?

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