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 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.
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.
Step Up Consulting Services was contracted by the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation (SWCF) to conduct the terminal evaluation of a three–year project on income generation, community organization strengthening, and environmental management funded by DISOP and Misereor, two European-based NGOs. The project, “Employability and Capability Building of Farmes in Selected Barangays of Batuan Bohol” aims, that by the end of 2013, the livelihood and sustainable income of members of the communities in 7 barangays along the Makapiko River and its tributaries in Batuan Municipality of Bohol is secured for the long term. It also strengthens previously assisted organizations of SWCF in the Eskaya communities in Sierra Bullones, Pilar, Garcia Hernandez, and Guindulman.
All seven barangays directly assisted have people’s organization, mostly in the form of cooperatives and associations. The five of the organizations are considered weak in their structure, have limited membership, and are not very stable as a potential source of income, training, reasonable credit and entrepreneurship development for the community. In most areas there is poor implementation of environment laws that has led to environmental degradation in terms of chemical pollution (pesticide and commercial fertilizer), solid waste pollution, removal of forest cover, biodiversity loss through hunting and collection of flora and fauna and disturbance of local caves and their resources. All these activities are magnified when done on karst because of the very nature of the geological formation itself.
To respond to these concerns, the project aims to achieve three objectives, to wit;
Associations/NGOs are capacitated to manage their affairs and link among themselves and other stakeholders to create a sustainable and conducive environment for securing their livelihoods.
Agricultural and non- agricultural enterprises for the local residents, especially those who are now below the poverty line are newly created and strengthened.
Project beneficiaries are better capacitated to deal with adverse affects of climate, political and social disturbances as well as able to reverse the environmental degradation of their natural resources.
Mr. Alvin Luis Acuzar, former associate of Step Up manages the evaluation project. Alvin is currently the Executive Director of the Bol-anon United Sectors Working for the Advancement of Community Concerns (BUSWACC). He is joined by Doreen Lerin, Marilou Sale, Lorebien Lagapa, Arlen Salgados-Canares, and Edaline Bolotaulo, all seasoned community researchers of Step Up with more than five years of experience in development evaluation.
This evaluation has three objectives:
To evaluate the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and outcomes of the project to the situation of targeted people and groups in the community, with particular focus on farmers and their families.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the projects in view of their objectives and to analyse the sustainability of the project results
To assess the roles and contributions of the different stakeholders in the implementation of the project
Step Up Consulting Services assisted an AECID project implemented in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women in firming up its results chain and project formulacion.
The “Institutional Strengthening of National and Local Governance on Human Rights and Economic Empowerment with a Gender Focus: Implementation of the Magna Carta of Women,” is a project partnership between the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW). AECID supports PCW’s mandate under the Magna Carta of Women as the over-all monitoring and oversight agency in ensuring the implementation of the law. The project will also provide assistance to oversight national government agencies and selected local government units in performing their roles relative to the realization of their mandates under MCW.
Step Up facilitated the workshop held at Lima Park Hotel. It was attended by key personnel of the project last January 2012. An indepth review of the draft PCW-AECID Project Implementation Plan, Project Formulation Document and draft Performance Measurement Frameworks of LGUs was done to serve as basis in the revision of the results chain and the corresponding measurement indicators.
Step Up Consulting Services held its pre-New Year party last 29 December 2012 at the Villa Alzhun Tourist Inn and Restaurant. The party, attended by Step Up pool of consultants, their kids, and the trainees of the firm in the summer of 2012, was intended to celebrate the accomplishments of the firm in 2012 and also thank its main stakeholders within the firm in its contribution for the upcoming projects of the organization in 2013.
Step Up is now on its 9th year and its pool of consultants has significantly grown. Its pool of consultants are researchers, local government practitioners, development workers, and professors who are committed to the the development of organizations, institutions, and communities. Established as a social enterprise, Step Up is dedicated to assisting local communities, people’s organizations, local government units, non-profits, and business enterprises, in the delivery of services that benefits the society in general.
Step Up is also committed to training future leaders. As a strategy, it accepts five trainees each summer, selected from several applicants, to be trained in the provision of capacity building, financial management, and development research services to clients; these are the firm’s core services. Previous interns later became CPA board exam placers while majority now holds successful jobs within the country and elsewhere.
Step Up thanks its previous clients for believing in the capacity of the firm to provide quality services. In 2013, Step Up plans to launch two programs that will benefit communities as well as children.
Step Up Consulting Services assisted the Philippine Commission on Women in refining the results chain of one of the components of a project it implements with the support of AECID. This activity was done in a training workshop held in Manila last 19-21 November.
The training workshop was attended by representatives from 6 provinces, namely, Aklan, Albay, Iloilo, Mindoro, Saranggani, and Surigo del Norte as well as by representatives from the Project Management Office and the Philippine Commission on Women.
The objectives of the training-workshop were to make participants understand the basic concepts and principles of RBM as a tool in project development and management; practice the use of the RBM tools using the three-year project target for LGUs; arrive at clear indicators for the 3 year-targets and provide an overview of project development and management including its planning methodologies and tools.
The participatory, inter-active, and activity-based learning sessions proved productive with the adult learners. The participants were able to efficiently assimilate new concepts better because of this approach. Likewise, the RBM workshops helped crystalize ideas of participants and made more explicit their theories of change in so far as the project is concerned.
The diversity of outputs is impressive in terms of sectors and themes. Saranggani concentrated on indigenous communities and indigenous women, Aklan on VAW victims, Albay on disaster-prone communities. Surigao del Norte and Mindoro focused on women entrepreneurs while Iloilo tried to cover several marginalized women groups.
Step Up will continue to assist PCW in this project.
Michael Cañares, Managing Consultant of Step Up Consulting Services attended the 2nd M&E Network Forum held at Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros, Manila on 7-8 November 2012.
The forum, attended by more than 100 M&E practitioners, was the second series of the annual forum sponsored by the National Economic Development Authority and UNICEF. This year, the theme of the forum was EVALUATION POLICY: A GATEWAY TO IMPROVED PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY, and it opened with the Keynote Address of Mr. Colin Kirk, the Director of Evaluation of UNICEF in New York. The first M&E Network Forum was held last year, on the same date, in Ortigas (please see photo).
There were four interesting sessions in the forum – In-Country Processes and Procedures for National Evaluation Framework, Evaluation Approaches and Methodologies, Innovations on M&E Approaches, and Evaluation as Undertaken by Stakeholders. Presenters coming from the development organizations as the Asian Development Bank, NEDA, Ibon Foundation, the National Statistical Coordination Board, the Department of Interior and Local Government, USAID Philippines, GIZ, UNICEF, and DBM, made the sessions interesting and insightful.
An interesting information was shared in the forum by NEDA Deputy Director Rolando Tungpalan regarding the updating of the Philippine Development Plan and the corresponding M&E framework that is expected to be publicly available by the first quarter of 2013. The participants expressed appreciation for this new development as this would serve as a guide to various stakeholders in their work towards a better Philippines.