Friday, July 25, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bring a Non-Profit Franchise to the Philippines

There are tens of thousands of non-profits in the US that address particular public problems. Many of these non-profits have mature systems, networks, and methods. Often, their knowledge is open to be shared, and these enterprises may be brought to the Philippines.

Here is an example of a Filipino who brought a frachise of US-based Safe Kids to the Philippines after a training stint in the US.

Exerpts from


Safe Kids Philippines was formally organized in 2004 but has existed in the Philippines since 2003 as a project of the Community Oriented Medical Education (COME) Unit of the University of the Philippines in Manila . This first venture into injury prevention was conducted by the Barangay Health Workers of Pasay City.

SKP initially began in 1993 from the academic research on child unintentional injury by Dr. Ramon Arcadio. At that time, Dr. Arcadio served as a pediatrician and Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. The results from Dr. Arcadio’s study have since provided the initial data needed to develop program work on child injury prevention.

Dr. Rafael Consunji also showed interest in the same field while studying in the US in 2000. Dr. Consunji’s thesis in Public Health focused on injury prevention. His serendipitous contact with SKW led to the setting up of SKP.

The first initiative of SKP was a comprehensive approach in researching problems encountered by children as they walked to school. A survey called the “walkability” check was used to assess the walking environment of the children at ten public elementary schools in Pasay City . The first project proved the need for more interventions to make the environment safer for children in the Philippines .

SKP efforts have expanded to meet the needs of the local community with generous volunteer and program support from FedEx. SKP continues to focus activities towards the prevention of childhood injuries, including road traffic, drowning, falls, poisoning and burns.

SKP is now in Pasay City , Paranaque City , Cebu City , Olongapo City and Quezon City .

FilAm Transnational Social Enterprise Example

There’s an article in the Inquirer today about an NGO called the Revitalized Indigenous Cordilleran Entrepreneurs, Inc. (RICE) who led the shipment of heirloom rice to the US.

Highland rice varieties target global markets

By Delmar CariƱo
Northern Luzon Bureau

Posted date: January 19, 2008

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- More indigenous rice varieties of the Cordillera are expected to be shipped abroad this year to meet the growing demand for traditional and native staples in the international market.

The Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project (CHRP), which brought Kalinga’s unoy and Ifugao’s tinawon rice varieties to the United States two years ago, plans to export seven highland rice varieties from Mountain Province.

The Department of Agriculture and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in the Cordillera are ecstatic that the CHRP has considered the production of the following heirloom types from Mountain Province: senyora red, senyora white, kintoman, siniola, ginulot or unkil, korel and ghumlike.

These varieties grow in the rice fields of Besao, Sagada, Bontoc, Bauko, Natonin and Sadanga towns.

A nongovernment organization that has led the shipment of heirloom rice to the United States, the Revitalized Indigenous Cordilleran Entrepreneurs Inc. (RICE), encouraged the cultivation of the seven varieties after these were certified to have passed product standards required for export. Click here to read article

Under this scheme, farmers get to sell a 50 kg sack of rice at P2,500 which is better than P1,200 per sack for hybrid rice. Yield per hectare for heirloom rice is 50-60% of the average 80 cavans per hectare for hybrid rice, though. That about offsets the price difference per kilo. If you correct for the savings because of less expense for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, then maybe there is a better profit margin.

RICE exported 8.9 MT of heirloom rice in 2006 and 17 MT as of October 2007. Let’s see, 17 MT is 1,000 kilos per metric ton, means 17,000 kilos of rice or 340 sacks, hmmm…. that’s a few truckloads, not as voluminous as I imagined. But 340 sacks x P2,500 is P850,000 of gross income for the farmers. Some gains were, 1) it protected the watershed; 2) it preserved traditional farming techniques.

RICE collaborated with Montana-based Eight Wonder Inc., which served as its marketing arm. I wonder if Eight Wonder Inc. is a Filipino-owned enterprise, or maybe even a subsidiary or affiliate of RICE. It might be.

Kudos to RICE NGO. I think more NGOs should be looking at transnational collaboration and social entrepreneurship as a strategy for solving problems. It’s scaleable and market-driven. It’s not perfect, but it’s a welcome innovation. Now if only we could start trading rice on eBay.

FilAM Cross-Border Citizenship 2: Categories of Hometown Change

I’ve attended 2 teleconferences of FilAms trying to discuss how to help the Philippines and both teleconferences went more or less the same directions. I’ve had several conversations with other FilAms and here are my notes on the obstacles faced by FilAms who do want to help.

1. Many feel like they no longer have a grounded impression of the Philippines. That could be correct especially for those who have been away for a couple of years, even if they visit the Philippines for a few weeks every yearly.

2. The problems of the Philippines do seem overwhelming, from cellphone snatchers to corruption to politics. I spoke with a FilAm nurse who mentioned that the government hospitals in the Phils couldn’t even provide NGTs (simple straw-like tubes that pass through the nose used for feeding). "How could bigger problems be fixed when basic tools are absent?"

3. Rivalries between professionals abroad and professionals in the Philippines have to be avoided.

I get the impression that well-meaning Filipinos want to help at different levels also, roughly corresponding to Korten’s levels of development thinking (1982). These levels are:

Type 1 - Dole out - free clinics, free waiting sheds, old books for libraries back home, etc.

Type 2 - Sustainable self-help initiatives - family enterprises, cooperatives

Type 3 - Advocacy, structural change - lobbying for new municipal legislation

Type 4 - Social Movement type - something like the Civil Rights movement in the US

FilAM Cross-Border Citizenship: Citizenship Juan Hour at a Time

I discussed in my previous blog some typology of development actions. Let me think of ways a FilAm may contribute to nation-building.

A. If I committed 1 hour per month-

I’d study the Youtubes on Philippine Local Governance, a little at a time, then start gathering data on my hometown or do online volunteer work for a Phil.-based NGO.

B. If I committed 2 hours per month

I’d choose a sector related to my field, find a Philippine-based collaborator, and start a joint blog comparing systems and identifying doable steps for possible Philippine implementation.

C. If I committed 3 hours per month

I’d look for an NGO doing work in my area of interest and in the country I am in, and do 1 hour of volunteer work with them per week. That will enrich and ground the 2 hours I spend doing letter B. Contact us at MolaveDev. We might be able to link you up.

D. If I committed 4 hours per month

I’d co-direct with a Philippine NGO program a public interest project, collaborating via email, Skype, chat, etc.

Knowledge Remittances

Knowledge Remittances

This article describes the phenomenon as “social remittances”, I would like to think of them as “knowledge remittances” or “innovation remittances”. Or perhaps, drawing from knowledge management, “knowledge capital remittances”.

OFWs gaining influence in their communities — study
By Vincent Cabreza
Northern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 23:21:00 03/16/2008

BAGUIO CITY — The strong peso may have devalued the remittances of overseas Filipino workers, but two University of the Philippines studies suggest that OFWs have become the new power blocs in their communities in Northern Luzon.

But one of the studies said the Filipino youth grasped an offbeat value from OFWs — that good parenting required them to leave the country in order to truly care for their children. Click here to read more