Two Different Paths, One Shared Goal: Civil Societies in Maguindanao, Philippines

Published: Feb 13, 2024 Reading time: 4 minutes
Workshop strategického plánování a propagace organizací občanské společnosti v Upi, Maguindanao, který zprostředkovala Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. v rámci projektu Posílení občanské společnosti v Caragě a BARMM pro dobrou správu věcí veřejných.
© Photo: Zenny Awing

In the heart of Maguindanao, a region challenged by the presence of militants, two Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have emerged as beacons of hope. Tiyakap Kalilintad Inc. (TKI) and Teduray Day School Project (TDSP) share stories of empowerment and transformation through collaboration in the "Strengthening Capacities of Civil Society in Caraga and BARMM for Good Governance" project. 

TKI, born to address the unmet needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) during conflict, focuses on voicing concerns and addressing grassroots issues. Reflecting on TKI's origins, Aflal Piang, TKI's Team Leader, shares, "We came up with the idea of organising to help evacuees."  

Through various capacity development programmes, TKI empowers its members. It is expanding operations through collaborations with non-government and government agencies, establishing itself as a leading peacebuilder in Maguindanao.

Established in 1982, TDSP responds to challenges faced by youths in mountainous areas. Noli Acosta, TDSP's Coordinator, notes, "We were mainly established to support the youth in their education by sponsoring them through our funding donors." Evolving from child-focused initiatives to community-based programmes, TDSP sponsors students, supports health initiatives and livelihood activities, and advocates for child protection. 

Inter-connected Paths to a Better Future 

There are 34 CSOs which received technical assistance, joint initiatives with Local Government Units, and financial support to strengthen their capabilities through the "Strengthening Capacities of Civil Society in Caraga and BARMM for Good Governance" (CSO4GG) project.  

"This project is an opportunity to enhance and develop our organisation more to be a better ally of the people and government in the community," says Aflal Piang.

"This project is an opportunity to enhance and develop our organisation more to be a better ally of the people and government in the community," says Aflal Piang.

Through an intensive 3-day Strategic Plan and Advocacy Workshop under BMFI, 17 CSOs, including TKI and TDSP, received guidance in revising and updating their strategic plans and advocacy programs. According to them, the workshop has been particularly valuable, guiding them in revising and updating their age-old strategic plans.

"In this training, we have been guided on how to revise and update our Strategic Plan. It has been beneficial for us as this [the plan] was established 7 years ago and has not been updated, even though we have new programmes," Acosta shared. 

With the updated Plan serving as the basis for implementing projects in the "Financial Support to Third Parties," TKI and TDSP commit to their original purpose in the spirit of community empowerment and change in Maguindanao.

TKI will focus on enhancing the capabilities of local peace monitors and community leaders in conflict-prone areas. They will review and promote a Code of Conduct, provide orientation on peacebuilding fundamentals, and foster empathy for vulnerable groups. Trained members are expected to transmit timely and detailed protection alerts, addressing issues such as peace and security, displacement, and Grave Child Rights Violations (GCRVs). The project ensures that local authorities receive alerts promptly for appropriate action, ultimately aiming to establish a comprehensive database based on shared ground information.

On the other hand, TDSP dedicates itself to enhancing other organisations' capacity by emphasising quality programmes for children. They propose to strengthen the technical abilities of community partners like parents, teachers, community associations, the Social Governance Council, and the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children in organisational management. This will involve incorporating mechanisms to protect children within the framework of governance, ensuring these organisations are better equipped to provide high-quality services for the well-being of children in their communities. 

The interconnected stories of TKI and TDSP showcase the transformative impact CSOs can have on communities when united by a shared commitment to service. Through collaboration and continuous improvement, these organisations stand as testaments to the strength and potential for positive change in Maguindanao.

The ongoing project serves as a bridge, fostering collaboration and enhancing their capabilities for the greater good. Aflal Piang notes, "While we are still here, we will continue to address the community's needs, especially with supportive actors helping us achieve our goals. In Islam, this is one of our forms of charity." 

The CSO4GG project is funded by the European Union and implemented by People in Need Philippines, Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc (BMFI) and Maranao People for Development Center

Autor: Zenny Awing, People in Need

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