Letter from the Executive Director
Happy new year, everyone!
The start of any year offers us a chance to look back at what we have done in the past year, and to plan for, and look forward to, a fresh start. For FSSI, we are marking the beginning of our Strategic Plan for 2020 to 2024.
In this new medium term plan, we are shifting our focus from geographic- to commodity-based value chains so that we will not be limited only to priority areas, but will instead optimize opportunities from various sectors. Based on their potential for growth and improved outcome, and the presence and involvement of FSSI’s partner social enterprises, members and groups already working on the value chain, we have decided to focus on organic vegetables, cacao, bamboo, and renewable energy. While focusing on these four, we will remain responsive to proposed projects in other value chains.
Our new strategic plan also calls for more initiative in exploring the use of equity investments, in addition to loans, to support selected social enterprises, both those in the start-up and in the growth stages.
As we act on our strategic plans, we recognize the value of multi-sectoral partnerships. Related to this, one of the articles in this newsletter summarizes the lessons of Grow Asia in developing inclusive business in agriculture, such as the importance of building effective working groups which have a good mix of stakeholders (farmers’ groups and co-ops, agri-business, NGOs, government and others). There are also updates on programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that aim to support farmers, fishers and agri-entrepreneurs, and especially the youth. We are also sharing here some information on the latest Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index (CSOSI) for the Philippines.
This index looks at the status of the civil society sector based on seven dimensions: legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, sectoral infrastructure, and public image.
Rounding up this issue of our newsletter, we also have articles on the relief assistance for Mindanao earthquake victims, which was undertaken by the Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE) and Kapwa Upliftment Foundation, Inc. (KUFI), with support from FSSI, and on recent FSSI institutional events. At the start of the year, we usually greet each other “Manigong bagong taon!” which is commonly translated to “Prosperous new year!” Another translation of “manigo” is to be able to attain what one hopes for, which is very appropriate for us now with our new strategic plan.
So, here’s wishing all of us ‘Manigong bagong taon!’