In its efforts to strengthen partnerships in the implementation of its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently hosted the Social Innovation Forum: Inclusive Business for the Gainful Employment of SLP Beneficiaries at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel.
The Social Innovation Forum was a venue to engage the existing and potential partners to improve and expand partnership projects on livelihood interventions for the Pantawid Pamilya or conditional cash transfer beneficiaries.
DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman exhorted the Department’s partners to take social innovation as a novel solution to the social problem of poverty. “I hope we can all agree that this endeavor will create a win-win situation for us and the families we are empowering,” she added.
She also stressed that the poor must also be given a fighting chance to improve their lives. “But we must take note that it is not simply about equality or redistribution of wealth or equalizing incomes. It is about equity and addressing the circumstances that hinder people to access opportunities to improve their lives.”
The forum was attended by representatives from the Ayala Foundation, SM Foundation, Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, Ateneo de Manila University, and BPI-Globe BanKo, among others. These groups have been staunch supporters of the SLP, ensuring their commitment to poverty reduction.
Through partnerships with the DSWD’s SLP, institutions from various sectors contribute to improving the standard of living of poor families. Since it began in January 2011, SLP has served 293,794 poor households with the help of 259 projects implemented by partner entities.
Defeating the cycle of poverty
During the panel discussion on employment facilitation, Edgardo Veron Cruz, Executive Director of Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. expressed, “lahat tayo may parehong layunin –makapagbigay ng matatag na hanapbuhay. (We have a common goal, which is to provide sustainable livelihoods for the beneficiaries).”
TJ Agulto, Executive Director of Microventures, Inc., the company that runs the chain of Hapinoy sari-sari stores, said that stakeholders must come together to teach poor families how to be economically productive.
“It is a challenge to make them feel more secure and confident in their capability to defeat poverty,” Agusto added.
On the other hand, Manuel Dela Fuente, Program Manager of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship –Go Negosyo attested to the commitment of the DSWD field office in NCR, sharing their successful training workshops with out-of-school youth from communities all over Metro Manila. He hopes for more success stories of beneficiaries with improved lives through the convergence efforts of the public and private sectors.
“Basta DSWD, galaw agad, kilos agad,” Dela Fuente stressed.
Representatives from all of the regional project management offices of the DSWD also attended the forum to engage the partners for further collaboration. Roy Serdena, Regional Project Coordinator from the DSWD field office in CARAGA encouraged the partners to extend their efforts in Mindanao.
Secretary Soliman closed with a challenge to all the guests saying, “We always say ‘Libre lang mangarap.’ (Dreaming has no cost.) But dreaming, of course, has its limits. It must be accompanied by skills and of course, opportunities. The challenge for us is to change ‘Libre lang mangarap.’ into ‘Sa Pilipinas, libreng tuparin ang mga pangarap.’ (In the Philippines, realizing dreams has no costs)” ###