Learning from Experience, Ushering a New Beginning
Sixto Donato C. Macasaet
This month is special to FSSI. Twenty-five years ago, on August 11, 1995, a successful debt for development agreement was signed between the governments of the Philippines and Switzerland. FSSI’s organizational documents were also signed on this day. Less than a month later, on September 6, 1995, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. was formally registered.
As we quietly commemorate our silver anniversary this 2020, we also value both the trials and triumphs that have come our way.
During a most challenging time for most of us in the country in March 2020, we received word from the Investing in Women (IW) Program that our proposal to be a local fund manager of IW had been approved. The program seeks to address the financing gap for women-owned and women-led social enterprises and will be implemented in partnership with the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) and the Philippines Business for Social Progress (PBSP).
Last July 28, 2020, we successfully held FSSI’s annual general assembly (GA), with all of FSSI’s 18 member networks participating from various parts of Metro Manila and even from Visayas, Mindanao, and other parts of Luzon. The online GA allowed us to get connected, even with COVID-19 forcing us to keep physical distance.
As part of the preparation for our GA and the celebration of our 25th anniversary, FSSI organized a webinar last July 23, 2020. Former NEDA Director General and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Cielito Habito and Mr. Rico Gonzales of social enterprise incubator Xchange talked on their insights for social enterprises (SEs) navigating the pandemic.
This year we not only commemorate our 25th anniversary. We also mark the start of our 5-year Strategic Plan for 2020 to 2024. We crafted this plan last year and set our strategic goals for four key result areas – Financial Service Delivery, Social Enterprise Development, Asset and Investment Management and Organizational Development. We also identified four priority value chains, organic vegetables, cacao, bamboo and renewable energy. Given the pandemic, we will review and adjust our Strategic Plan in the next months.
As we now move towards the end of the year and with our fight against COVID-19 not expected to end soon, we draw strength from our history and experience, and the certainty that the challenges shall pass. Together, we will overcome this crisis.