Step Up assists Visions of Hope Christian School

VOHCS board and staff during the workshop.
VOHCS board and staff during the workshop.

Step Up assists Visions of Hope Christian School (VOHCS) in its strategic planning exercise conducted last 13 October 2014. The workshop was held at the Ascott Hotel Makati and was attended by the Board members and staff of VoHCS headed by Board President James Tioco.

The Visions of Hope Christian School provides free pre-school education and shares the Gospel to children and youth from poor families. VOHCS has established 27 community based kindergarten schools. VOHCS also runs three residential schools. Two of these schools, in Magdalena and in Puypuy, hoise children from the streets. The third one, in Sarangani Province, houses children from the B’laan and Taga Kaolo tribes.

VOHCS is part of the bigger Center for Community Transformation (CCT) family.  According to CCT’s website, CCT “is an organized Christian response against poverty and social injustice. This is carried out through the fusion of social development initiatives and evangelical mission in a uniquely Filipino context. It serves urban and rural poor communities throughout the Philippines, in pursuit of its desire to see changed lives, strong families, and transformed communities centered on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

 

It was founded in 1992 by development practitioners who believe that development strategies could best be achieved by enriching the spirituality of a person. Over the years, the Lord has enabled the organization to deliver wholistic, sustainable, and community-based programs and services that cater to the needs of the whole family. These services have opened opportunities for the community partners to grow and reach their full potentials as individuals created in the image and likeness of God

 

 

Step Up Completes Internal Audit Mentoring for Misamis Occidental

PGMOC participants during one of the mentoring workshops.
PGMOC participants during one of the mentoring workshops.

Step Up Consulting was contracted by the Provincial Roads Management Facility to conduct mentoring activities for the Provincial Internal Audit Office (PIAO) of Misamis Occidental on audit communications and audit recommendations monitoring from August to October 2014. The highlights of the engagement were the conduct of mentoring workshops on the two topics.

The mentoring activity was intended to enable participants to understand the importance of monitoring and tracking internal audit recommendations;  learn how to establish an effective internal audit monitoring system; and know the importance of communication and writing skills in providing effective and persuasive management advise. As part of the outputs of the mentoring process, the PIAO was able to draft an Audit Recommendations Monitoring process, and a draft Audit Communications Plan.

Step Up was greatly appreciated by the participants for the topics they learned and for the process the mentors used in conducting the mentoring activity.  The participants rated the Step Up 9.33 out of 10.  The Step Up team was composed of Alvin Luis Acuzar, Jean Celeste Paredes, and managing consultant Michael Canares.

Step Up Conducts Most Significant Change Training

MSC Participants - CCT Tagaytay.
MSC Participants – CCT Tagaytay.

Step Up was commissioned by Woord en Daad to conduct the Most Significant Change (MSC) Training for its partners in the Philippines and Bangladesh.  The training was conducted at the CCT Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center last 24-26 September 2014 and was participated in by 9 participants from the Philippines, 4 from Bangladesh, and 1 from the Netherlands, a representative of the commissioning organization.

Woord & Daad is an international development organization, established in the Netherlands, working in 20 countries with 29 partner organizations. A number of its partner organizations is interested in increasing capacity on learning through participatory methodologies. For this training, Woord en Daad chose Most Significant Change as the method to be implemented by two of its partners in the Philippines and one partner from Bangladesh.

MSC involves the collection of significant change (SC) stories emanating from the field level, and the systematic selection of the most significant of these stories by panels of designated stakeholders or staff. It intends to capture project outcomes, and in some cases, impact without having to use project or program indicators.

The participants were very impressed with the results of the training.  The post-training evaluation of participants showed that Step Up scored very high in training facilitation, logistics, planning, and design.  The main trainer was Michael Canares and Step Up handled all training logistical arrangements, from the design of training bags to the choice of training materials.  Step Up will also provide post-training support to the organizations as they conduct their pilot implementation of MSC in their respective organizations.

 

Step Up Conducts Training on Financial Management

FM participants during the training workshops.
FM participants during the training workshops.

The Bol-anon United Sectors Working for the Advancement of Community Concerns (BUSWACC) contracted Step Up Consulting to conduct a series of financial management training for its member organizations, assisted cooperatives, individual entrepreneurs, and people’s associations . The training on Basic Financial Management was conducted last 27-28 August 2014 at the FCB Foundation training room.

The training is the first of a series of training activities on financial management sponsored by BUSWACC. Ms. Arlen Canares, training specialist on financial management of Step Up was the resource person for the activity.

The participants appreciated the learning sessions that focused on the importance of recording, financial analysis, cash management, and internal control.  The workshop employed a variety of training methodologies that enabled the participants not only to learn the concepts but also try specific skills on their own.  Financial management training is one of the core expertise of the firm.

Step Up Assists Tagbilaran City Government

The ELA Workshop participants
The ELA Workshop participants

The City Government of Tagbilaran completed the review of its Executive-Legislative Agenda (ELA) last August 23, 2014. The three-day workshop, which culminated the series of preparatory workshops, fine-tuned the city’s ELA that was prepared in July 2013 before the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. And since the planning parameters changed dramatically, the need to come up with a plan that is relevant to the needs of the people and the City Government has become a necessity.

The event was attended by Mayor Baba Yap and the city department heads, the Sangguniang Panlungsod led by Vice-Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso and the city councilors, civil society representatives, representatives from the national government agencies, and the barangay captains.  The workshop  came up with prioritized the programs, projects, and activities that the city government will prioritize in 2015. Among these are the completion of the city hall’s repair, the provision of social and economic programs, and the needed rehabilitation of public infrastructure.

Step Up’s managing consultant, Mr. Michael Canares was the facilitator of the whole process including the pre-workshop activities that were conducted prior to the three-day workshop.

Step Up Facilitates Strat Plan for FCB Foundation

FCBFI
FCBFI Team during the workshop

Step Up Consulting was contracted by FCB Foundation, Inc. (FCBFI) to facilitate the process of crafting the strategic plan of the organization to 2020. This was the first time, after almost twenty years that the foundation reviewed its vision, mission, and goals. Executive Director Panfilo Asares said “It is important that we now revisit the directions of the foundation to make it relevant to the changing needs of the times”.

The process, which began with a review of the accomplishments of the foundation in the last five years, an analysis of the emerging trends of the country and the world, culminated in a workshop attended by the Board of Trustees of the foundation and its management committee. The workshop was held on 21 August 2014 at the board room of the First Consolidated Bank, the parent organization of FCBFI.

The strategic document, the output of this process, was consolidated by Step Up Consulting, aptly titled FCBFI 2020. This document outlines the directions of the foundation up to 2020.

FCBFI was very pleased with the outcomes of the process and thanked Step Up Consulting for its work.

Step Up Managing Consultant assists LGSP-LED

Mr. Canares during a workshop with LED focal persons coming from the 9 participating provinces.
Mr. Canares during a workshop with DILG, program partners, and LED focal persons coming from the 9 participating provinces.

Michael Canares, managing consultant of Step Up Consulting, was contracted by the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED)  to advise on results measurement and reporting processes since September 2013. Currently, Mr. Canares is now on the final phase of the consulting engagement which will culminate with the preparation of a manual on measuring local economic development that local government units can use.

“The Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) is an eight-year (July 2008-July 2016) CAD $18 million collaborative project of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Philippines. It is implemented by a consortium of the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) acting as the Canadian Executing Agency (CEA). The CEA is working in partnership with the Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The Program purpose is to reduce poverty by strengthening local governance and supporting sustainable economic development. The Ultimate Outcome is expected to be improved local economic development for Filipino women and men.”(Dorotan and Frick, 2012, page 5).

LGSP-LED seeks to improve the measurement and tracking of local-level economic outcomes in the program, in particular those related to impact of the program’s activities on investment attraction, business formation and growth in enterprises (MSMEs).  Mr. Canares’ work was to assist the CEA in developing a set of indicators (along with the related methods for collecting baseline data, data sources for ongoing tracking, collection methods, frequency and responsibility) that could be easily tracked by LGUs and/or their private sector partners (chambers of commerce, local business clubs).

 

Step Up Helps Strengthen Internal Audit of Davao del Norte

ddn for websiteThe Provincial Road Management Facility contracted Step Up Consulting to conduct the capacity building activity for the Internal Audit Services Division (IASD) of the Province of Davao del Norte, one of its partner provinces. The engagement was designed to assist the IASD in developing and implementing an Internal Audit Plan for the identified  road rehabilitation and maintenance systems and processes in order to come up with an Internal Audit report with doable and useful recommendations. Step Up Consulting team was composed of Managing Consultant Michael Canares, resource person Marilou Bueno, and documenter Cleofe Ambulo.

As a result of the engagement the IASD was able to plan, implement, write and present the audit report on one of the key risks in local road management to the risk owner, the Provincial Engineering Office. IASD was also able to craft a simple audit recommendations monitoring system to ensure that auditees will comply with audit recommendations and improved internal control processes in their daily operations.

One of the activities of the mentoring process was an international online course on internal audit where four of the IASD staff members were enrolled in.  After the course, the auditors completed an online assessment where two of the staff members got a 100% rating in the examinations.

Step Up made use of a mentoring-focused approach where capacity development needs were assessed on a regular basis so that interventions designed will be able to sufficiently meet competency gaps and produce the desired outputs.  The engagement was conducted in April to June 2014 with a mixture of on-site and on-line mentoring. This was also the first time that Step Up used Facebook as an online-mentoring tool where mentees can directly ask questions from mentors and where files are shared and outputs are submitted and commented on.

IASD staff members appreciated the whole mentoring approach and the engagement was rated very satisfactory by the participants.

Step Up Assists DILG

Mr. Canares and the participants of the PRMF/DILG consultative workshop on LRMPA.
Mr. Canares and the participants of the PRMF/DILG consultative workshop on LRMPA.

Step Up Consulting Services was contracted by the Provincial Road Management Facility to assist the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in reviewing its Local Road Management Performance Assessment Tool (LRMPAT), a tool in assessing the performance of local government units.   A consultative workshop was done with representatives of regional offices of DILG across the country last 22-23 May 2014 at The Linden Suites in Ortigas, Manila.

The Local Road Management Performance Assessment (LRMPA) Consultative Workshop started at 8:45 a.m. on 22 May with an opening program where Ms. Ruby Romero of DILG – SLRF  thanked the PRMF Team and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Government for the support and partnership with DILG. For his part, Mr. Luke McNamara, Capacity Development Manager of PRMF emphasized the importance of sharing insights and experiences in the course of the workshop to further understand and improve the LRMPAT.

The LRMPAT was developed in 2012 when Mr. Canares was still the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator of PRMF.  The tool was pilot-tested in select cities and provinces in the same year to serve as input to the tool’s final revision.  Mr. Ronet Santos was then contracted by PRMF to facilitate the whole process.  In 2013, DILG rolled-out the implementation of the tool nationally and thus the need to hear the perspectives of those conducting the assessments in the provinces and cities.

A total of 46 participants attended the two-day workshop.  Mr. Michael Canares was the lead facilitator of the activity while Ms. Jean Celeste Paredes was its documenter.

Step Up Consulting Assists EU/KNH EIPID Project

IKFI planning
Participants during the EIPID Sustainability Planning Workshop

Step Up Consulting Services was contracted by the Ilog Kinderhome Foundation, a partner of Kindernothilfe (Germany) in implementing an EU-funded “Empowering Indigenous Peoples for Inclusive Development” Project (EIPID Project), to conduct its sustainability planning workshop. The project ends this year and thus the need to craft a hand-over strategy to the different EIPID partners. The project is implemented in the province of Antique, more particularly the towns of Lauan, Valderrama, Tobias Fornier, Anini-y, and Hamtic.

The goal of the project is to empower the Iraynon-Bukidnon and the Ati households and communities so that they can proactive engage in local development processes. To date, the organization was able to assist more 800 IP households through the self-help approach – where they save, engage in business, and undertake social/community action activities.  It resulted to positive changes more particularly to mothers and their children in terms of capacity to care and participate in local governance processes, and in terms of education and health, respectively.

The Sustainability Planning Workshop was held in Iloilo Business Hotel last 24-25 April, 2014.  It was attended by the members of the Board of Directors of Ilog Kinderhome Foundation, KNH representative in the Philippines, provincial officials of the Province of Antique, representatives from national government agencies as TESDA, DILG, and NCIP. Step Up Consulting planned and facilitated the two-day event.