“There was a surge of international NGOs during the 2013 earthquake in Bohol – it was if local NGOs were non-existent” shared one of the participants in the Financial Enablers Project Inter-Consortia Collaboration Workshop.
One year later, the Bohol Consortium on Humanitarian Assistance (BCHA) was formed, a first of its kind in the province of Bohol. To date, it is the youngest consortium engaged by the Financial Enablers Project (FEP). The project enables national actors such as BCHA to determine their capacity development needs and implement a capacity development programme based on their collective identification of needs and capacity gaps towards responding to a humanitarian situation collectively.
FEP engages and empowers seven consortia across the country: Bohol Consortium on Humanitarian Assistance (BCHA); Capacity Building Humanitarian Initiatives in Capiz (CHIC); Humanitarian Response Consortium (HRC); Magi, Mindland, Apila, IDIS and DMSF-IPHC Consortium (MM-AID); Consortium for Humanitarian Action and Protection (CHAP); People-Based Humanitarian Action Consortium (PBHAC); and ALTERPLAN-PHILSSA Consortium.
MM-AID, a consortium formed in Davao City by institutions such as Magi, MinLand, Apila, IDIS and DMSF-IPHC Consortium discussed that they have been working with 15 communities along the Davao City watershed. Gradually, they have responded to small-scale disasters within the city in spite of limited resources, eventually, they recognized the need to consolidate themselves into MM-AID. Noting that members have written various concept notes and proposals to potential donors and partners – it was only FEP which granted the opportunity for MM-AID to continue working towards improved disasters and emergencies preparedness.
FEP highlights the inherent characteristics of Philippine civil society – longevity and staying power amidst vacillating sources of funding; deeply embedded commitment to the communities evidenced by the dedication to community organizing; and sustainability thru alignment and complementation with the government and advocacy.
The Consortium for Humanitarian Action and Protection (CHAP), composed of NGOs such as the Center Disaster Preparedness, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Buklod Tao Inc., and distinctively, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) of Camarines Norte, noted the significance of community response, policy advocacy, coordination, and government engagement in humanitarian response. The combined expertise of CHAP conveys the distinct contribution of national NGOs in preparedness and response.
In another vein, the People-Based Humanitarian Action Consortium (PBHAC) is composed of one NGO and two People’s Organizations working closely with the grassroots such as Concern Inc., Assert and Kaisa Ka. These organizations contribute to the overall competency of the consortium, namely, gender in emergencies, psychosocial support; disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness and response, respectively.
The pluralism and diversity within each consortium does not only manifest strength but also a multidisciplinary capacity. ALTERPLAN-PHILSSA consortium notes the value of enhancing individual member expertise for effective localized response whilst focusing on urban poor communities.
Even as FEP harnesses more experienced consortia such as the Humanitarian Response Consortium (HRC), the latter responds by pushing its boundaries, taking stock of relevant sectors in humanitarian response such as health, expanding its membership, and recognizes the value of developing branding and visibility.
The project nurtures young consortia such as Capacity Building Humanitarian Initiatives in Capiz (CHIC). Relatively new as a consortium but individually members have been working across the country with pastors or church leaders as first responders. CHIC members are working with 30,000 churches across the Philippines.
As noted by Bong Masagca of HRC, these are some of the strengths of the consortia: most if not all individual organizations have a development framework; connectedness with communities; connectedness with government, private, INGOs, et.al; wide geographical spread; diverse with multi-level or sectoral expertise; capacity in public advocacy; and, developed various frameworks. Weaknesses include uncertainty of funding and staff turnover.
The Financial Enablers Project Inter-Consortia Collaboration Workshop was an opportunity to highlight the distinct narratives, experiences, and strengths of each consortium. The discussion on collaboration will continue to progress as the consortia look towards continued sharing of learning; regular planning and assessment; and strengthening disaster preparedness (i.e. community-based, sharing of database, contingency planning as consortia).
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