The Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI) supported the Zero Extreme Poverty Philippines 2030 (ZEP2030) movement’s 6th General Assembly and learning sessions held via teleconferencing in November 2021.
The virtual general assembly, with the theme “Creating a Better Normal Towards Sustainable Communities,” also featured four learning sessions on (1) Mandanas Ruling: Strengthening CSO Engagement in Development, (2) From School to Home: How might we create a better normal in education?, (3) Savings Groups and the Journey towards Financial Inclusion, and (4) The Climate Crisis and the Poor: How to empower our Earth’s frontline.
In the first session, speakers Alfonso Maraili Jr. of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Mayor Boward Evardone of Arteche, Eastern Samar, UNDP Consultant Marcia Medina-Guce, and PROCESS Bohol Executive Director Aurelio Salgados Jr. discussed the Mandanas Ruling and the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) to enhance transparency, accountability, and good governance as active partners for development.
The third session featured International Care Ministries (ICM) National Prevail Manager Jeriby Malatin, Educational Research, Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation Executive Director Dolora Cadeno, and Assisi Development Foundation Nutrition Program Director Florinda Lacanlalay, who expounded on the extent of financial inclusion in the Philippines and the role savings groups can play in ending poverty in the country. According to the speakers, the pandemic has definitely affected the ability of savings groups facilitators to meet participants face to face and track their progress. However, they were also able to adapt––restructuring into smaller groups and producing self-learning materials.
For the fourth and last session, Thieza Verdijo of the Xavier Science Foundation and Atty. Marky Penalver discussed the importance of community capacity in sustainably protecting the ecosystem while striving for economic development. Reactor Rodne Galicha of Living Laudato Si’ Philippines also expressed that we would not be able to properly combat environmental degradation unless we attend to human social degradation.