“It is very important to capacitate people on the ‘ground’, such as house parents, who are in direct contact with the children under our care. Therefore, I am in full support of any endeavor to train them such as this capacity building project, even though I had to admit that there are limitations in our resources. But still, the ‘testing of the pudding is in the eating’, thus I am looking forward to see the positive result in the delivery of care of our house parents in NCR”.
This message of Director Vincent Andrew Leyson, Director of DSWD Field Office National Capital region (DSWD FO-NCR) was the fitting ending for the project year end assessment held on December 13, 2017 at DSWD Central Office.
This activity is in line with the capacity building project “Ensuring Children’s Potential for Development and Independence through Improved Residential Care Practices”, a project being co-implemented by ACTION and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), with funding and technical assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It was participated by 6 key officers from DSWD Central Office, 6 from DSWD Field Office III, and 4 from Field Office-National Capital Region. Two(2) program officers from JICA Philippines were also present to attend the activity.
Ms. Anely A. Burgo, the O.I.C. Division Chief (Center and Residential Care Program) of Protective Services Bureau (PSB) officially opened the event speaking on behalf of the PSB Director, Ms. Maria Alicia Bonoan. According to her, the PSB is very much interested to see the result of the assessment as they have been involved in the project for more than a year now. She likewise shared that other Regions are now asking them (PSB) for a similar training program for their house parents. She asked, “Where is the project really heading?” She added that the project’s direction may be guided by this review exercise.
During the activity, the project team from ACTION had the opportunity to present the highlights of project accomplishments for the year 2017. As reported, a total of 52 house parents coming from 17 partner residential care facilities (RCF) for children in the National Capital Region (6 DSWD-run, 6 managed by city local government units and 5 operated by NGOs) have participated in the training program and graduated with the help of 28 social workers and 1 psychometrician as trainers. For Region III, currently there are 51 house parents and 33 social workers from 33 partner RCF (7 DSWD, 4 city local government units, 22 NGOs) who are participating in the training program on providing life skills intervention to children.
This was followed by a workshop facilitated by an external consultant, Mr. Karl Henessy Rafa. Through this, the project team (composed of ACTION and key officers from DSWD) was able to identify the strengths, facilitating and contributory factors for successful implementation of activities this year. Yet, to better guide them in the conduct of project activities in 2018, they also highlighted the hindering factors, challenges and constraints encountered in the project, as well as identified recommendations to better improve project implementation.
Before the activity ended, representatives from JICA Philippines also oriented the participants about JICA and presented the technical cooperation and grant scheme offered by the Japanese government so that partners who are interested may avail of this opportunity.
A major question answered during the activity is whether the project deserves continuation. There was a consensus nevertheless among the participants that the project should continue, to be able to reach more house parents and ultimately benefit the children in their care, a seemingly implicit response to the question raised by Ms. Burgo earlier.
Emmanuel C. Drewery