ISEA Leads Post-Yolanda Reconstruction Initiative through Social Enterprise Platform Building
Close to a hundred (100) delegates from over fifty (50) organizations launched the Reconstruction Initiative through Social Enterprise (RISE) during a post-Yolanda conference on March 13-14, 2014 at the Diplomat Hotel in Cebu City, Philippines. The Social Enterprise Rehabilitation Visioning and Engagement (SERVE) Conference was organized by the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) in cooperation with Oxfam, Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI), Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), VICTO National Cooperative Development Center, Foundation for These Abled Persons Inc (FTI), Philippine Social Enterprise Network (PhilSEN), Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Philippine Coffee Alliance (PCA), World Fair Trade Organization(WFTO)-Asia/Philippines and the Ateneo School of Government.
The Reconstruction Initiative through Social Enterprise (RISE) is a multisectoral platform aimed at making social entrepreneurship and social enterprise development an important strategy to engage the poor as stakeholders in the rehabilitation process in provinces devastated by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that hit the Philippines in November 2013.
The SERVE Conference was the culmination of an action research and consultation project led by ISEA from the third week of January to the last week of February 2014. The project involved over 350 people from more than 200 organizations in the six provinces most affected by Typhoon Yolanda namely Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz and Aklan. Called APPRAISE RAY or Agenda and Platform for Poverty Reduction and Addressing Inequality through Social Enterprise to enhance Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda, the project articulated RISE as a response towards building back better. APPRAISE RAY’s funding partners were Oxfam, PEF, FSSI, BPI Foundation and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
The government’s platform, Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (RAY), with its emphasis on public-private partnerships had been appraised as weak in setting a poverty reduction goal and defining strategies for such to happen. To address this infirmity in RAY, RISE was envisioned to engage the poor in social entrepreneurship and social enterprise development towards building sustainable livelihood systems and better mechanisms for the delivery of basic needs and services.
Setting the tone during the first day of the SERVE Conference were Dr. Aris Alip, the Managing Director of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD-MRI), whose representative delivered his opening address; Mr. Isagani Serrano, President of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) who explained the context and importance of APPRAISE RAY; and Ms. Renia Salinas, Chief Executive Officer of VICTO National, who welcomed the participants to the gathering.
ISEA President Marie Lisa M. Dacanay led the presentation of the APPRAISE RAY action research outputs, with ISEA’s research associates sharing the highlights from each of the provinces covered. This became the basis for the workshops that deliberated on and enhanced the SERVE Conference Declaration and RISE as a platform.
Leading the presentation of RISE Evolving Initiatives, featuring about 30 proposed social enterprise rehabilitation projects resulting from the action research process was Ms. Anna Meloto-Wilk, President of Gandang Kalikasan Inc.
Serving as resource persons during the dialogue between social enterprise resource institutions and the participants were Oxfam’s Humanitarian Response Manager Tariq Riebl; Mr. Jay Lacsamana, the Executive Director of the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc (FSSI); and Mr. Ricardo Soto Jr, Peace and Equity Foundation’s Coordinator for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Joining the dialogue on RISE during the second day of the SERVE Conference were representatives from the government sector led by Undersecretary Danilo Antonio of the Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) and Secretary Joel Rocamora of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). Also joining the dialogue were Mr. Edicio Dela Torre, the head of the Program Management Office of the Integrated Coconut Agro-Industrial Hubs Program of the Department of Agriculture and Director Andres Bojos who represented Atty. Asis Perez of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The dialogue with the business sector was facilitated by Hapinoy President Mark Ruiz with Mr. Rapa Lopa, Executive Director of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) as resource person.
The SERVE Conference ended with the unanimous approval of the SERVE Conference Declaration and an expression of commitment from the participants to actively advance RISE as a platform. The SERVE Conference Declaration concluded: “Through RISE, we shall build back better with social enterprises as transformational partners of the poor, civil society, government and business in sustainable, inclusive and gender-responsive economic development”.