The project “Ensuring Children’s Potential for Development and Independence through Improved Residential Care Practices” officially commenced through project launching ceremonies held at SACOP Epatha Center, San Fernando, Pampanga and at Ang Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman, Quezon City on January 20 and February 7, 2017 respectively.
The project shall offer capacity building intervention in the form of training to social workers and house parents in select residential care facilities (RCF) for children in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region 3. It aims to contribute in efforts to improve house parenting practices in residential facilities to enhance the life skills of children in Region 3 and NCR, through established standard training program for house parenting. It shall build on the success of the previous project implemented from 2012 to 2015 in Region 3 by ACTION, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The new project will run for 2 years and 10 months, with 17 RCF as its partners in NCR and 38 in Region 3, both DSWD, NGO and LGU-managed centers.
The launch for Region 3 was attended by key officers from DSWD Field Office III, namely Assistant Regional Director for Administration Irene Crespo, select Center Heads/Directors and social workers from various partner RCF. The Senior Representative of JICA, Mr. Kunihiro Nakasone, and other members of JICA’s NGO Desk also attended the activity in Region 3. For the NCR launch, the guests included Director Maria Alicia S. Bonoan of DSWD Protective Services Bureau, Director Maria Angela Gopalan of DSWD Capacity Building Bureau, DSWD NCR Regional Director Vincent Andrew T. Leyson, and DSWD Field Office 3 Director Gemma B. Gabuya.
Also present were Ms. Masuko Etsuko and other staff of JICA Philippines as well as the Directors, Heads and representatives of the partner residential institutions. The counterparts from DSWD and JICA gave their respective messages of solidarity during the event. Testimonies were also given by a social worker and house parent from AMOR Village during the NCR launch, where they emphasized the positive effects of their participation to the first capacity building project.
An audio-visual presentation on the history of ACTION as well as the key accomplishment of the previous project were also shown to the guests. To give more clarification on the new project, a brief orientation was also provided. Mr. Yokota, ACTION Founder & Executive Director also delivered his message explaining the reason why he initiated a capacity building project in relation to what he aspires for children in RCF – for them to be able to maximize their potentials in a caring and nurturing environment. For his message at the NCR launch, Mr. Yokota introduced the concept of “Kaizen” and encouraged everyone to continually aim higher not just for themselves, but also for the people they can help empower. “Kaizen” is a Japanese philosophy which means “continuous improvement”.
In their respective messages at the launching ceremony in NCR, Dir. Gabuya gave positive feedback on the previous project and emphasized the importance of investing in capacity building activities for social workers and especially for house parents, being the substitute parents for children in RCF. While in his closing remarks, Dir. Leyson expressed the DSWD NCR’s full support for the project and their enthusiasm to work together in new endeavors that will assist in providing better services to the children in their care. Ms. Masuko Etsuko, the Chief of General Affairs Group of JICA Philippines, for her part thanked ACTION and DSWD for their contribution in the area of child welfare and development. She also emphasized that JICA is honored to be working with these organizations and reiterated that they share the same interest for the protection of the rights and well-being of Filipino children.
M.A Angeles and EC Drewery