The Philippines ranks first among 193 nations in the world for risk, according to the 2022 World Risk Report. In recent years, floods, landslides, extreme heat, and other natural disasters have killed thousands of people in the Philippines. If we don't build people's capacities and offer opportunities for them, the poverty situation will continually hinder their ability to recover and manage these risks.
Wala tayo sa kahon, tayong lahat ay nasa isang bangka.
2022 saw the Center for Disaster Preparedness Foundation shift gears and make reforms in the way it approaches development. This was the year it embraced its new role in contributing to community resilience. Through its two grantmaking facilities, Pinnovation Academy and Abot-Kamay Community Solidarity Fund, CDP has supported more innovative community-led actions and has worked with organizations that have been left out by big donor institutions. The latter made access to funding closer to where these communities. Here are seven ways they have figured out, through the help of their partners from GlobalGiving, Global Fund for Community Foundations, Nonprofit Finance Fund, and USAID, how to locally-fund development.
Simplifying entry requirements. Small organizations that are creating profound impacts exist across the Philippines but are often financially constrained and are primarily volunteer-based. To make it easier for these local groups to access the solidarity fund, CDP allowed proposal submissions in local language and video format. This year's grants were awarded to grantees like Nuclear-Free Bataan Movement and the Nurunutan Yang Tagbanua Calamian Tong Calawit May Quezon.
Partnership conversations. CDP connects with various local NGOs and community-based organizations and invests in building relationships and trust. This allows them to get to know their local partners more and how CDP can become more effective in supporting smaller community groups who otherwise would not have access to resources. It also creates opportunities to explore collaboration and partnerships. These steps are vital as it helps to ensure that aid goes to the most needed areas and communities and increases impact on the ground.
Skills sharing among awardees. Training and capacity building for local stakeholders to better manage their funds and achieve more significant social impact. An example of this is the sharing of awardees' capacities to document and capture learnings from their implementation. Liga ng mga Organisasyon ng Kababaihang Nagkakaisa (LORENA), that sought support from the Abot-Kamay fund to gather its member organizations based in the National Capital Region in the hope of re-organizing the federation and holding a planning space as the organization rethinks its sustainability strategy, will lead the capacity-building on documentation and sharing learnings, in collaboration with other awardees.
Shared domestic resources. Engaging with the local community through local partners and other channels of engagement, such as social media, to create a dialogue and build trust around using the funds. This allows them to be more inclusive in their approach and ensures that the community is involved throughout the project cycle. This will also ensure that the communities know the project and are engaged throughout the process. The Fund also encourages open and transparent communication channels, holding regular community forums to inform people about the progress of the projects, keeping them informed about the issues and challenges that they encounter as well as the solutions being implemented by their communities to address these challenges. In so doing, the communities will feel involved in the projects enough to contribute assets and resources for the project's sustainability and success.
Bolstering horizontal accountability. Encouraging grantees to be accountable to the communities they are serving by working closely with them to understand their priorities and needs and then reporting on their progress regularly to ensure that they are using the funds as intended. We learned from the Nurutan Yang Calamian Tagbanua Yang Calawit May Quezon (NTCQ) that this is already part of the culture of the Tagbanuas where decision-making on development projects that have an impact on the environment seeks the approval of not only their tribal leaders but the entire assembly as well. We have also seen this among the other communities we have worked with. The desire to ensure accountability to the community must be a shared value among the ACSF awardees. Awardees can strengthen this aspect of their work by creating mechanisms within their organizations to allow for greater collaboration among the different teams involved in implementing their projects and ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed about the progress and challenges of the projects.
Co-creating a vision of success. While the fund is under a program with its objectives and goals, CDP understands that all projects and programs have different visions of success and methods for achieving them. To drive positive social change, it is important that we work together to identify what the end goals are for each project and design an approach that will support each grantee in reaching those goals rather than imposing specific measures and benchmarks. Measuring what matters to the awardees will allow us to understand better what strategies they adopted to achieve these goals and support them in getting the best results possible for their efforts. This will also allow us to identify best practices we can share with other funders and civil society organizations working to build social inclusion and localize funding.
Trust and equitable partnerships. We believe that strong partnerships are essential in achieving our shared objectives for building local resilience and strengthening the impact of our grant-making program in the Philippines. Together with our local partner community foundations, we seek to foster mutually beneficial relationships that allow us to work together to achieve our collective goals of promoting social and economic equity in the country. We also hope to develop stronger relationships with local government units and other stakeholders that are focused on developing innovative solutions to address critical problems in their communities.
While we are currently only focused on supporting local organizations in the Philippines, we hope to expand this model to other communities in the region. By adopting these principles throughout the organization, we will be able to build stronger relationships with local communities and encourage greater participation in development programs while making sure that our efforts are making a positive impact on the people of Southeast Asia.
Read more about the Abot-Kamay Community Solidarity Fund.