Monthly Archives: March 2013

Dynamics of Networking

Article first published  March 14, 2011 on Social Work and Development.

Networks are defined as units, institutions, agencies or organizations united for a free flow of information and resources between members without any established hierarchy or structure (Third World Studies Center, 1990).
Forming networks and umbrella organizations is advantageous to organizations for varied reasons.

Aldaba (1990) cites six benefits in this regard, namely: (1) Greater economic and political impact; (2) Access to and sharing of resources; (3) Sector Protection; (4) Effective relations with governments; (5) Establishing sector standard; and (6) Linkage with other sectors for social transformation.

Alegre (1996) cites the following strategic concerns addressed by establishing networks: (1) Sharing and exchange of resources, such as information, funds, technology, and expertise; (2) The coordination and complementation of programs and projects; (3) The formulation of common agenda or plans of action for purposes of advocacy, participation in governance, and resource mobilization; (4) Consciousness raising and development education, especially on the relations between developed and developing countries and between the NGO and PO communities in these countries.

John Clark in his book Democratizing Development: The Role of Voluntary Organizations, presents six schools for the historical evolution of Northern NGOs after the First World. He associates the emergence of networks with the development of advocacy group. It was during this period when NGOs, particularly those who were dependent on government or conservative constituency for funding, faced a dilemma because the culprits that victimized the poor were most often Western based.

The NGOs who continued with advocacy work for the poor suffered a declining support when they opened up to their supporters. Those who continued advocacy but made little effort to communicate the dilemma to their supporters, have lived with the contradiction ever since.

An important leap in advocacy work happened in the 1980s. Influenced by their staff, some of the Northern NGOs with overseas programs became expressive and active in their advocacy work. Likewise, Third World advocacy groups started to make waves. As a result, North-South networks of advocacy groups started to take shape and to gain authenticity, strength, and power that made them a force to reckon with.

The first network to make a name was the International Baby Foods Action Network. Set up in 1979 by seven NGOs, it grew to about 150 NGOs from all parts of the world and led the successful campaign for international governmental agreement on a code of marketing for baby foods.

The more progressive Northern NGOs with Third World program have supported the evolution of these networks, have often funded them, but have tended to take a backseat role. This is partly because, according the Clark (1990), of a residual concern about their public image and legal status, partly because they have a few staff strong on the skills needed for advocacy and networking and partly – in spite of the rhetoric- because of an organizational half heartedness

SWD L-Net Western Visayas sets direction

The vision-mission-goals of SWD L- Net were presented on the previous post. Corresponding each goal are respective objectives and subsequent activities, as follows:

Goal 1: To establish functional Regional SWD Resource Center

There are four objectives under this first goal. Foremost, to set up a Resource Center at the DSWD Region 6 which shall be co-managed and spearheaded by SWDL-Net. Secondly, to develop system in the resource center that will assist utilization and easy access of resource materials within and outside SWDL-Net. Next, is to develop materials in different forms to promote and popularize SWDL-Net activities and disseminate information about SWDL-Net. Finally, to initiate activities to encourage information dissemination and knowledge exchange for and among the member organizations

SWDL-Net

The following are activities to reach the aforementioned objectives:
1. Facility improvement of the Resource Center
2. Procurement of furniture and fixtures
3. Equipment acquisition
4. Setting up of database for the Masterlist of Resource Materials in the Resource Center (in coordination with IDU) and resource persons – online accessing of materials and possible resource persons to be tapped
5. Systems Installation that ensures easy access and availability of resource materials , Information exchange of technical and experiential resources
6. Software development or tapping of software to be utilized for the system
7. Operation of the Resource Center
8. Annual updating of Resource materials
9. Selection and digitalization
10. Development of promotional materials: Video Clip, Brochure
11. Disseminate information about SWDL-Net and member organization through orientation kit, blog, publications, Cable TV and Radio Program
12. Regular Forum(quarterly) on best practices, issues and concerns related to social protection

Goal 2. To popularize SWDL-Net as a venue for sharing resources and promoting best SWD practices

Under this goal are the following objectives: to strengthen and expand memberships; establish social network of SWDL-Net members through Facebook; update member’s profile; identify best practices of each SWDL-Net member organization.

SWDL_net

The activities are, as follows:
1. Submission of membership form and profile
2. Formation of Core Group for Quarterly Meeting
3. Orientation of Identified members in Antique
4. Orientation of Identified members in Guimaras
5. Regional SWDL-Net Congress with Recognition of members
6. Profiling of members, assign official representatives and alternate for each organization
7. Workshop on Best Practices

Goal 3: To maintain community of learners for the exchange of knowledge and experiences among stakeholders

The objective is to ensure the sustainable access of data/information and other technical resources and support to community of learners

Activities:
1. Identification and finalization of criteria for selection of pilot community of learners – and conceptualization (referring to the best practices in the community)
2. Inventory of Community of Learners
3. Select pilot community of learners
4. Develop TNA for community of learners/Fielding
5. Assessment and listing of needs/ Consolidation of Data
6. Develop training proposal based on identified needs
7. Create/Obtain training design tailored to the needs identified.
8. Conduct M&E (Design and install Participatory M&E)
9. Review effectiveness and update training materials

Goal 4: To develop technical Resource Pool on the following areas/fields: advocacy, disaster risk reduction and management, gender & development, health & nutrition, management – innovative processes PDIME, community organizing, and organizational development.

This goal has twin objectives, namely: Build on existing partners’ strengths to bring together groups/teams that will provide technical assistance and support to the stakeholders and community of learners; and To identify best practices of each SWDL-NET member organization.

Correspondingly, the following activities have been set:
1. Develop comprehensive training needs analysis
2. Probing across and leveling off of organizations’ expertise and strengths
3. Identification of trainors and establish technical resource core groups
4. Develop training courses and course materials/obtain training designs (from existing and available resources)
5. Schedule training sessions and select participants on Team-Building, Trainor’s Training, other trainings identified upon assessment
6. Obtain M&E tools
7. Evaluate training effectiveness/Conduct M&E
8. Review training materials
9. Create/Update data bank of available training courses
10. Workshop on Best Practices

SWDL_Net2

In order to carry out the plans, SWD L-Net- Western Visayas has reorganized its network during the March 6, 2013 meeting in Iloilo City. The new composition of officers and committee members are as follows:

Chairperson: Ma. Azucena S. Arroyo
Co-chairperson: Alfredo A. Villanueva, CSWDO-Iloilo City

Network Building Committee:
Chairperson : Renie R. Masongsong, SOS
Co-chair : BBY
Members :  Preslou Glory,  Krizna Joy Belencion,  Lazaro Petinglay- PSWDO Antique,  May de Leon – CapizNed, Signpost, Good Shepherd,  Janet de los Santos, Courtesy

Research, Documentation and Information Exchange Committee
Chairperson: Joy Ayupan, Child Fund
Co-chair: Edwin Lariza, Department of Social Work, Central Philippine University
Members: Association of Disabled Persons, Inc. (ADPI),  SPED,  Asilo de Molo,
Fr. Elmer Cajilig, Visayan Forum, University of San Agustin

Capability Building Committee
Chairperson: Rose Alfaras, Iloilo Children Welfare Foundation
Co-Chair : Andres Ortega, Western Visayas College of Science and Technology
Members:   Gerald Sadiang-abay-Navy, PSWDO Guimaras,  CSWDO- Bacolod City, University of San Agustin,  St Dominic Girls Home, John B. Lacson Maritime University -Arevalo

Introducing the Social Welfare and Development Learning Network- Western Visayas

The Social Welfare and Development Learning Network (SWD L-Net) was established through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) by virtue of Administrative Order 20 s. 2005 or the Establishment of SWD L-Net. 

There are twofold reasons for the creation of the network. Foremost, is the shift of the DSWD mandate from direct service provider to enablers of intermediaries requires provision of technical assistance to include capability building of intermediaries to ensure quality service delivery. Second, the SW IDB is responsible for the establishment of networks and linkages and recognizes the vital role of its partners namely the GOs, LGUs and NGOs in meeting the growing demands for capability building, and shall maximize the existing resources in the environment through a network of learning institutions.

With such mandate, the SWD L- Net envisions a learning network providing accessible, relevant, quality Social Welfare & Development (SWD) capacity building programs. Its mission is to enhance the capacity of organizations, groups & individuals that are engaged in poverty alleviation & social protection.

Corresponding the aforementioned vision-mission statement are the tripartite objectives, as follows:

1. To establish a self-regulating learning network where members and SWD constituencies can provide & avail of quality SWD capacity building programs
2. To access SWD constituencies to quality capacity building programs
3. To sustain the functionality & viability of the learning network to ensure available, accessible & quality capacity building programs to constituencies & clientele

The network covers organizations, agencies, schools and individuals providing and conducting training & related capacity building programs on social welfare & development primarily on poverty alleviation and social protection in the country. Subsequently, its target members are organizations, agencies, schools and individuals providing capacity building programs on social welfare and development. The diagram below explains the operation and management of the network.

diagramIn Western Visayas, the following direction was set during the organization of the network: Establishment of Community of Learners/Resource Pool and Establishment of Knowledge Resource Center. Its basis of unity is anchored on the principles of sustainable development and community empowerment, explicitly stated as “Learning as a pathway to sustainable welfare and development”

POSE FOR POSTERITY. DSWD FO6  Institutional Development Division personnel led by its chief Lucita Villanueva (extreme right standing) pose with the L-Net members after the Quarterly Meeting in Iloilo City on March 6, 2013.

POSE FOR POSTERITY. DSWD FO6 Institutional Development Division personnel led by its chief Lucita Villanueva (extreme right standing) pose with the L-Net members after the Quarterly Meeting in Iloilo City on March 6, 2013.

In the context of region, the following vision-mission statement and goals were formulated.

Vision: A learning environment where stakeholders generate, access, share and exchange knowledge and practice on sustainable social welfare and development for an improved quality of life.

Mission: To promote easy exchange of knowledge and practices among stakeholders through creation of efficient and effective systems and process and community learning centers as models for innovative approaches and sustainable SWD practices

Goals
1. To establish functional Regional SWD Knowledge Resource Center;
2. To Popularize SWDL-Net as a venue for sharing resources and promoting best SWD practices;
3. To maintain community of learners for the exchange of knowledge and experiences among stakeholders;
4. To develop technical resource pool: advocacy; disaster risk reduction and management; Gender & development; health & nutrition; management – innovative processes PDIME; community organizing; organizational development;

Next post: Composition of the Western Visayas SWD L- Net and the corresponding action plan.