Convenio Allies Meet to Swap Community Devt. Know-How

Zamboanga City – IN an effort to strengthen their initiatives to curb poverty in their regions, two big consortia of non-government organizations (NGOs) held a cross-cutting sharing conference in this city last month. The Bicol Consortium for Development Initiatives (BCDI) and Zambaoanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA) held the conference from February 5-7 at Lantaka Hotel.

According to Fr. Angel Calvo, regional program manager of ZABIDA and host of the conference, the gathering aimed to strengthen the different community development initiatives of the two NGOs by sharing between them their strategies and approaches in different lines of interventions.

“We hope our coming together here will lead us to continuously work on the real thrusts of each organization to develop and improve our respective communities,” he told the participants of ZABIDA’s four member-organizations as well as the 13 community development managers from Bicol. Manos Unidas country manager Carmen Valdez also attended the conference.

ZABIDA is composed of the Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), Katilingban Para Sa Kalambuan, Inc. (KKI), the university-based Reach Out to Others Foundation (ROOF) and the Basilan-based Nagdilaab Foundation.

“We hope to maximize the implementing methodology towards effectiveness and success of the project. These are methodologies to accompany the community to finish their project and improve the quality of life of the residents, even after the Convenio program,” Fr. Calvo told the participants during the opening ceremony.

Fr. Jovic Lobrigo, BCDI regional manager, said gatherings like this “are important ingredients of the partnership to move into bigger and more meaningful engagements in bringing about sustainable communities in the future.” Bicol hosted a similar conference in September, last year.

The program sharing conference is the second joint conference of the two big development alliances as part of its cross-cutting activity. The group agreed to hold the next conference in Bicol within the third quarter of the year, to include program staff.

“This aims to bring the two consortia closer towards improving the lives of the underprivileged sectors of the community,” said Valdez. Her Spanish foundation Manos Unidas and the Spanish government is funding Convenio, a P100-million, four-year community assistance program being implemented in Bicol, Zamboanga City and Basilan. Convenio target interventions are good governance, peace-building, environment, economic development through micro-financing and basic social services.

As part of the conference, the Bicol guests visited ZABIDA’s projects in the city and in Basilan province. The projects are located in Tuburan town and Lamitan City in Basilan to witness the different development programs undertaken by NFI. They also visited he ROOF’s demo farm in Bunguiao Barangay, housing and different projects of KKI in Sinunuc and Akay Kalinga Center, a local halfway house for the children funded by MU.

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