Open LGU Research Team presents research findings in Good Governance Summit

The Open LGU Research Team presents initial findings of its research “Opening the Gates: Will Open Data Initiatives Make Local Governments in the Philippines More Transparent?” in the recently concluded Good Governance Summit held at the Philippine International Convention Center last 15-17 January 2014.  The summit, sponsored by the Philippine Government featured the initiatives towards making the government more transparent and accountable – from the use of cards for cashless transactions to open data and e-procurement.

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De Guia’s presentation
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Canares’ presentation

Mr. Michael Canares and Mr. Joseph de Guia, team leader and research associate of the project respectively, presented the results of the study in two provinces – Bohol and South Cotabato in the session on the Promise of Open Data.  They were joined by Andreas Palweke of the World Wide Web Foundation, Dr. Sherwin Ona of the De La Salle University, Paolo Agloro of the Ateneo de Manila University, and Gia Banaag of the Open Data Task Force. Estefanie Ulit of the De La Salle University moderated the session which was held on the second day of the Summit.

The panel got a warm reception of the audience, comprising of around 300 people from different national agencies, local government units, media, academia, non-government organizations, and IT practitioners.  Malou Mangahas of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism made insightful comments on the work of the research team, more particularly on how to sustain the Full Disclosure Policy and whether DILG penalizes local government units who do not disclose their data.

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(L to R). Mr. Pawelke (Web Foundation), Mr. Canares (Open LGU), Ms. Ong (Open Data Task Force), Secretary Lacierda, Ms. Ulit (DLSU-Manila), Mr. De Guia (Open LGU), and Dr. Ona (DLSU).

The second day of the summit was also the launch of data.gov.ph, the Philippine data portal which serves as the repository of all government data that has so far been made public. It was also the same time the launch of the revised Full Disclosure Policy portal (see  http://fdpp.blgs.gov.ph/).  Secretary Lacierda led the ceremonial launch of data.gov.ph while Undersecretary Austere Panadero led the launch of the Full Disclosure Policy.

Step Up Consulting Assists Ilog Kinderhome

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IKFI Participants during the Annual Planning and Evaluation Workshop

Step Up Consulting assists its long-time client Ilog Kinderhome Foundation, Inc. (IKFI) in two engagements – in training its project staff in the use and conduct of Most Significant Change (MSC) as a monitoring and evaluation tool, and in facilitating the conduct of its Annual Evaluation and Planning Workshop.

The training on MSC was attended by project staff of the Empowering Indigenous Communities for Inclusive Development Project (EIPID).  EIPID, funded by the European Union through Kindernothilfe, is implemented in the province of Antique in order to empower indigenous communities socially, economically, and politically.  The workshop was held at the CICM Retreat House in Talisay, Negros Occidental in October 28-30, 2013.

It can be recalled that Step Up Consulting assisted KNH in the writing of the EIPID concept note and full proposal some five years ago and was also the evaluation and planning consultant in the early part of the project.

The Annual Planning and Evaluation Workshop, on the other hand, was held at Natures Village Resort Hotel in Talisay, Negros Occidental last 2-5 January 2014.  The workshop covered the planning and evaluation of three projects of IKFI – EIPID, Child-Focused Community Development implemented in Kabankalan, and WIP Project implemented in Ilog, both in Negros Occidental.

Open Data Team Holds Analysis Workshop

IMG_00000451_hdr (2) The Open Data Team of Step Up Consulting held a data analysis workshop last 21-22 December 2013 at the Dao Diamond Hotel. The workshop aimed at synthesizing fieldwork results of two case studies of the research project “Opening the Gates: Will Open Data Initiatives Make Local Governments in the Philippines More Transparent?”. (For more details of the project, please see http://www.lguopendata.ph/.

The Open Data team composed of Jare Arawiran, Marilou Sale, Marijoe Narca, and Joseph de Guia discussed the findings of the fieldwork conducted in Bohol and South Cotabato and reflected on the answers to the research questions gathered from the two sites as well as from documents review.  The research will still have to visit the third case study site (Bulacan) in the first quarter of 2014.

This research project is one of the 17 case studies across the globe and is part of the Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries (ODDC).  This project aims to to establish practical and actionable knowledge about effective strategies for employing open data as means to achieve greater quality of openness in government, support citizens’ rights, and promote more inclusive development in developing countries.

The funding for this work has been provided through the World Wide Web Foundation ‘Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries’ research project, supported by grant 107075 from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (web.idrc.ca). Find out more at www.opendataresearch.org/emergingimpacts

Step Up Celebrates Christmas 2013

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Step Up team during the Christmas gathering in December 2013.

The team of Step Up Consulting chose to celebrate Christmas 2013 in a simple but meaningful gathering held at Dao Diamond Hotel in Tagbilaran City last 21 December 2013.  The activity gathered the consultants, researchers, and administrative staff of the firm who were involved in its various projects in 2013.  

It has been a tradition of Step Up Consulting  to gather its team every end of the year to say thank you to the people that has contributed to the achievements of the firm.  For ten years now, Step Up Consulting has benefited from the competence and commitment of its pool of consultants, researchers, and administrative staff who, despite their work commitments elsewhere, contributed expertise and dedication to the firm’s projects.

From a company that started offering services by using computers at internet cafes, Step Up Consulting has grown into a firm that earned the respect not only of Philippine companies but also organizations based abroad.  Originally, it offered management consulting services to for-profit institutions but now, the firm’s portfolio is largely composed of government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Step Up’s services also as expanded to research and evaluation, and capacity building.

Despite the natural calamities that affected the province of Bohol and the country in the last quarter of the year, the company is still thankful because its team members delivered its commitments to clients and share resources to those affected by the calamity.