More specifically, the training aimed to enable the LEIPOs to understand, define, and clearly explain what is project development and management; understand the role of project managers, specifically in the local government scenario; identify the key activities in the project life cycle; learn the knowledge areas of project management, and identify what strategies can be used in each project management knowledge area; and know what is a project charter and how to develop one for their own projects in each LGU.
Step Up Consulting was awarded a research contract by HIVOS, a development organization headquartered in the Netherlands, to undertake a research project to understand how open contracting reforms and increased availability of contract data can be used to realize results and benefits for specific, historically marginalized groups external to government.
Step Up Consulting is one of the several firms considered to undertake the research but got the final nod of the HIVOS review panel based on the strength of its proposal and the quality of the composition of its research team. The research will be conducted in Kenya and Nigeria in Africa, and Indonesia and the Philippines in Asia.
For this research, Step Up’s team is composed of Michael Canares, strategy advisor, as research lead and Francois Van Schalkwyk, a long-time collaborator of Mr. Canares, along with Fiona Smith and Ana Brandusescu as review panel. The research will run from July 2019 to January 2020.
The research, using a case study approach, aims to identify and assess ways in which key aspects of open contracting reforms did or did not lead to circumstances where open contracting resulted in increased equality and inclusion in public contracting processes. More particularly, the research would like to answer the following questions:
How can open contracting reforms and increased availability of contract data be used to realise results and benefits for specific, historically marginalised groups external to government?
What contextual and programmatic aspects in open contracting contribute to achieving meaningful results and benefits for these marginalised groups?
What do specific, historically marginalised stakeholders experience as significant barriers/impediments to achieving the desired results and benefits?
Step Up Consulting Strategy Advisor Michael P. Canares led the design and facilitation of the Philippine Government’s commitment design workshop as part of the several processes in formulating its National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership.
Step Up Managing Consultant Michael Canares led the design for the Labour Market Information Systems exploratory workshop for Indonesia and facilitated the same last April 9-10, 2019 at the GIZ Headquarters in Jakarta Indonesia. The primary question that the workshop tackled was whether non-traditional data sources can help overcome information deficits in labour market development programs.
The workshop brought together policy makers from relevant education and labour market related institutions, providers of relevant data and technical experts across Indonesia, more particularly those in the food processing sector, the current test case. The workshop aimed to initiate an in-depth discussion with respect to the following overarching questions:
On which basis are education and labour market policies currently formulated in Indonesia?
Are the currently used data sources enough to serve as a basis for informed policy formulation?
What are known data/information gaps that may lead to sub-optimal policy decisions?
Can non-traditional data sources, in particular, data from job-platforms and social networks, be used to enrich the existing information base and strengthen the evidence base in order to allow for more informed policy decisions?
What gains can be expected from the use of non-traditional data sources?
What are the related prerequisites and the costs related to the use of non-traditional data sources?
What process needs to be in place to develop a system of integrating new data sources to existing systems?
Through intensive workshops and meaningful conversations designed primarily to harness different ideas, the workshop resulted to at least four experiments in the use of different data sources – big data, open data, thick data, and citizen-generated data – to be able to capture traditionally unavailable information that are critical to labour market decision making processes.
The workshop was sponsored by GIZ and was part of GIZ’s efforts to harness new data sources for development projects.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI) and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held a joint conference last 26 February 2016 with the theme “Laying the Foundation for Future Cooperation in Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the ASEAN”.
The workshop was held at the Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel, Indonesia and was attended in by almost 100 participants from 14 countries coming from within and outside the ASEAN. Mr. Michael Canares, Strategy Advisor of Step Up Consulting was hired by GIZ to help design and facilitate the whole day event.
The event was spearheaded by ASEANSAI, a relatively young regional organisation of ten audit offices in the ASEAN region and supported by GIZ. The event intended to bring together the three organizations (ASEAN, ASEANSAI and AIPA) to explore more coordinated framework for future joint action and inter-agency collaboration for fostering state-society relationships in ASEAN, including efforts towards Good Governance, transparency and accountability.
Michael Canares, Strategy Advisor of Step Up Consulting Services, facilitated the Local Road Asset Management Workshop for the United Nations Development Program’s Road 2 SDGs project, an initiative that it implements with the Department of Interior and Local Government. The workshop is part of a series of activities lined up for the year in order to increase the capacity of local government units in the country in local road asset management.
The workshop was held on 19 February 2019 at B Hotel in Quezon City and was attended by key stakeholders from the national government agencies, namely, the Commission on Audit, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and other representatives as the Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines, and UNDP.
The activity is part of UNDP’s efforts to strengthen infrastructure governance in the country to hasten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, as infrastructure is a key component in service delivery, impacting different SDG targets.
At the beginning of the project, it was found that provincial local government units need to improve their governance systems in road asset management and maintenance. Data has shown that not all provincial roads and bridges are booked as assets, and life cycle management of roads is generally not evident. This situation also has direct implication on the weak financial management of PLGUs related to local roads.
Thus, an integral component of the governance reform on local road management is on road asset management. UNDP recognizes its role to deliver capacity development interventions, through knowledge products and training activities that will ultimately result to a better system of PLGUs’ governance in relation to road asset management.
Step Up Consulting conducted a strategic planning workshop for the Local Government Capability Development Division of the Department of Interior and Local Government-Region VII as the division prepares for another year of coordinating capacity building programs for local government units.
The workshop, held on January 30 to February 1, 2019 at the Ranch Resort in Toledo, Cebu, was participated in by a dozen of local government officers and their division chief Ms. Marithel Oporto. The workshop was able to tackle the division’s mandates, current accomplishments, future targets, and enabling strategies to achieve division goals.
Assistant Regional Director Louella Luceno graced the event on the third day and encouraged the participants to pursue the plan and be inspired to do more for the success of the division. She also expressed her renewed commitment to strengthen the Local Governance Resource Center of the region.
Mr. Michael Canares, Step Up’s strategy advisor, designed and facilitated the whole event with the assistance of Ms. Jean Celeste Paredes, research associate.
Step Up Consulting was contracted by the Department of Interior and Local Government Region VII Regional Office to facilitate the review on the implementation of locally-funded projects as well as a strategic planning for the year 2019. The activity was held on December 19-21, 2018 at the Bohol Bee Farm Resort in Dauis, Panglao Island.
The activity was attended in by the DILG officials from the four provinces of Region VII, namely Bohol, led by Mr. Johnjoan Mende, provincial director; Cebu, led by Mr. Jerome Gonzales, provincial director; Negros Oriental, led by Mr. Dennis Quinones; and Siquijor, led by Mr. Kenneth Kilat.
Step Up Consulting strategy advisor, Michael Canares, was engaged by the Gerry Roxas Foundation to train its grantees on outcomes reporting using a results-based management lens (RBM). The training was conducted in Belian Hotel in Tagbilaran City on February 6-7 2018.
Gerry Roxas Foundation manages and implements the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant facility called the Philippine-American Fund or Phil-Am Fund. Phil-Am Fund finances “local activities that support economic growth, good governance, anti-trafficking in persons, child and adult literacy, and environmental objectives of USAID in the Philippines”.
A total of 56 participants attended the training composed of roughly around 12 grantees of Phil-Am Fund.
Results-based management is a key expertise of Step Up Consulting. In the past, the firm has been engaged by international organizations as Louis Berger, Woord en Daad, Fundacion Ipade, SABIC Belgium to conduct monitoring and evaluation work.
Step Up Consulting Services facilitated the project-end evaluation workshop of the Bohol Consortium on Humanitarian Assistance (BCHA). The evaluation workshop reviewed the implementation of the Strengthening the Capacities of Local Consortium towards Effective Humanitarian Assistance project participated by BCHA members, namely, the Bohol Integrated Development Foundation, Inc. (BIDEF), Social Action Center (SAC),UB Community Development Foundation, Inc. (UBCDFI), and Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy (PCCED). The workshop was conducted on 11-12 January 2018 at Bohol Bee Farm, Dao, Dauis Bohol.
The province of Bohol is highly vulnerable to various natural and manmade calamities. It is often ravaged by typhoons which appear to be increasing in frequency and strength each year. Monsoon winds that produce storm surges, heavy rainfall and sea level rise also pose threats to the province. More importantly, the province has various known faults that have the capacity to generate massive earthquakes similar to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the province on October 15, 2013.
The occurrence of these hazards is inevitable. Hence, a group of local organizations that managed to raise funds during the great Bohol earthquake in 2013 initiates to organize and forge themselves to become a local consortium for humanitarian assistance aptly named BCHA. However, this newly organized group has to be strengthened and capacitated in order to become effective in their goal of coming and working together for humanitarian aid to disaster affected communities/individuals.
Implemented in 2016 to 2107, the Strengthening LC Project (Strengthening the Capacities of Local Consortium towards Effective Humanitarian Assistance) aimed at improving and strengthening the capacity of the consortium members to become effective in providing assistance to communities and individuals affected by natural and man-made disasters.
The workshop was able to identify significant changes that was caused by the project at the individual, non-government organization (NGO), and consortium levels.
At the individual level, the three most significant changes are the (1) Change in attitude more particularly in having more patience to deal with challenges; (2) Enhanced knowledge and skills on humanitarian response; and (3) Increase in the level or nature of assertiveness of project team members. At the NGO level, the three significant changes include (1)the building of credibility and confidence of each organization trained in performing disaster risk reduction and humanitarian related activities; (2) enhanced coordination and linkaging among BCHA members and other organizations; and (3) Services rendered are based on lessons learned from the capacity building activities, including improvements in systems and procedures (e.g. finance, monitoring and evaluation, among others). At the consortium level, the project was able to (1) equip the personnel on how to respond to disaster with clear and focused direction; (2) inspire the consortium to pursue development programs together as they were able to achieve a lot by working together; and (3) capacitate the consortium to network and link with other humanitarian assistance groups and pursued its commitment to extend its services beyond Bohol.