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Good Governance and Leadership Training Workshop

The Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE) conducted a Good Governance and Leadership Training Workshop last September 19 – 20, 2016 at the Lispher Inn Hotel, Matina, Davao City. This was attended by 15 participants from the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Compostela Valley.

The workshop officially began with a welcoming remarks from Ms. Mariefe Del Mundo, Project Manager of the CODE-NGO Strengthening Decentralized Governance Project.  She emphasized that the 2-day workshop was part of the capacity building interventions of the project that was also conducted in the regions of Bicol and Central Visayas. The said workshop was an avenue for the participants to enhance their knowledge about governance and their key roles in their respective networks.

On the first day, the sessions focused on the following concepts: Governance, Leadership, and Advocacy. Mr. Martin Escobido, Jr., from the Ateneo de Davao University, was the resource speaker for the session on Governance. During his discussions, he noted that governance, in the context of community-based organizations, refers to the structures and processes that are used to steer the organization. After defining governance, he discussed how good governance is important in ensuring the sustainability of organizations. By practising shared decision-making and individual accountability, organizations will have stability and clear direction. He also emphasized that governance is not just about following the rules, it is also very much dependent on the organization’s leadership situation.

Aside from discussing the different principles of good governance, Mr. Escobido also tackled the issue of dependency as an obstacle to good governance and community development. He noted that dependency on external assistance can undermine sustainable development. Thus, posing a challenge to the participants to further strengthen their organizations and break free from the concept of dependency. He encouraged the participants to strengthen their capacities and motivate the rest of their communities to participate in their initiatives.

The session on Leadership was given by Ms. Fatima dela Cruz, a community development graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She began with a short activity which tested the participants’ sense of unity and leadership. Afterwards, she gave a brief review on the different aspects of community development and how this was the overarching objective of every development initiative. She then discussed on the different characteristics and roles of a leader, putting emphasis on practising the concept of collective leadership. She noted that through collective leadership, everyone becomes responsible for whatever happens to the organization. Power is not left to one entity but to everyone in the organization.

The last session for the first day was on Advocacy which was discussed by Mr. Julius Gutierrez from the National Youth Commission. He noted that in order to understand advocacy, one must also have a clear grasp of the basics of communication. Thus, he began his discussion with a short review of the different concepts of communication including communication methods and skills. Afterwards, he delved into advocacy and why there is a need for this in our society. He also discussed on the different forms of advocacy and how the planning process for this ensues. The session ended with a one-minute advocacy exercise for the participants.

The Day 2 sessions began with a group activity wherein participants were tasked to creatively draw their learning points from the sessions during Day 1. Afterwards, Ms. Del Mundo gave a brief discussion that emphasized the common challenges that are faced by board members of organizations.  She cited different scenarios with regard to the capacities and relationship of the board and its secretariat. It was highlighted in her discussion that an effective organization would ideally have a strong and committed board and a strong and committed secretariat.

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Then, Mr. Joemil Montebon, Executive Director of Kasilak Development Foundation, Inc. which is a member of MINCODE’s network, began his session by asking the participants to briefly introduce themselves, what network they are from, and how they have been actively involved in community development work. He remarked that the participants all have a very rich history with regard to community development. He then proceeded to his discussion on the common organizational challenges, including the culture of apathy, conflict of interest, and micromanagement. He also gave emphasis on the 4 pillars of CSO governance: Teaming, Democracy, Strategic Leadership, and Accountable Empowerment. Furthermore, he also talked about the duties and responsibilities of board members. Another highlight of his discussion was on the 3C formula with regard to organizational culture: Cultivating Culture of Change. The session focused greatly on helping organizations improve their organizational management by capacitating their board members.

The participants were then asked to group together to create an initial plan for the network in their respective regions. The following guide questions were used for the activity: Who are we? What makes us unique? What do we do? What are the things that need to be done for the vision, mission and goals (VMGs) of the network to materialize? These were then written on manila papers and posted on the wall for everyone’s perusal during the gallery walk.

With all sessions done, Ms. Del Mundo commended the group for their awareness of the need to craft the vision, mission and goals of their networks/organizations and looking into the process of SEC registration. She noted the importance of continuous alliance building for the sustainability of the network’s initiatives. Finally, the Project Officer of MINCODE Ms. Ivy delos Santos conducted a commitment setting activity which encouraged the participants to continue their efforts in their respective regions.  Finally, Ms. delos Santos thanked the participants for attending the workshop and remarked that this would not be their last meeting as a group for there is still much to be done to ensure the practice of good governance and leadership towards genuine community development.