CODE-NGO Annual Report 2014: Building Resilient CSOs and Communities

Message from the Chairperson

This is the first year by which we, as a network, breathed life to our Strategic Plan for 2013-17,
making this document alive and actionable, and not just motherhood statements.
Our four Key Result Areas (KRAs) guided us to our mission and kept us on track in our work for this year:

  • KRA 1 – Assisting Member Networks in Resource Generation
  • KRA 2 – Strategic Capacity Building for Members in Governance, Networking and Local and Sectoral Advocacy Effectiveness
  • KRA 3 – Building and Managing Knowledge in civil society organization (CSO) Development Models and Good Practices
  • KRA 4 – Expanding Civil Society Influence and Increasing Effectiveness of Development Advocacy

We can say we have given laser focus on these directions, despite the travails that hit the country and affected the work of our organizations in the past year.

Right after the Bohol earthquake and typhoon Yolanda, our member networks and organizations– even those right at the heart of the hardest-hit areas – immediately rolled up their sleeves and started with their emergency relief work for affected partner communities. Three months into relief work, they transitioned into early recovery and rehabilitation efforts. This, as we continue the training and learning exchange among our members on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) in our programs and advocacy work. Just recently, at our October 17, 2014 Board Meeting, the 12 member networks of CODE-NGO agreed unanimously to participate actively and provide institutional support in forming our Regional DRRM Coordination Hubs. The hubs commit to continue the learning exchange among our member networks on DRRM-CCA and push for responsive DRRM-CCA programs and budgets at the local and national levels during ‘peace times’. In times of disaster, these will transform into emergency coordination hubs to organize
our response efforts and to provide appropriate assistance to affected communities, following humanitarian principles and upholding their dignity and human rights.

The case of Napoles and her fake NGOs pressured government agencies to reverse their proposed partnership programs with CSOs and to make their regulations for partnering with CSOs stricter if not all together stop these programs. Yet, CODE-NGO and our members demonstrated all the more our commitment to good governance and transparency in our own operations by actively campaigning for renewing our commitment to our Code of Conduct, conducting self-assessment using the CSO Good Governance Checklist and encouraging our members to be certified by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification. We also actively participated in the organizational change management processes facilitated by the “Strengthening the Capacities of Philippine CSOs Project,” led by a consortium of CSOs, fortifying our capacities on governance and strategic planning and management, financial management, personnel and administrative management, resource mobilization and project management.

Unfounded and misguided criticisms by some legislators, media persons and organizations against the government-led Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP), cynically calling it pork barrel by a different name, did not discourage our members and partner organizations and communities from engaging in the GPBP, making sure that the citizens organizations are defining from bottom up the national government’s priority anti-poverty projects which will be implemented at the local levels. The efforts by civil society in claiming spaces in governance was recognized globally when the Philippines’ GPBP was given a Gold Award (third prize) at the Open Government Partnership Awards 2014 held in New York recently. This has further emboldened CODE-NGO to continue to persevere in its efforts on active citizenship and participatory governance through its projects, Decentralized Governance for Regional Development (DG), Strengthening Participatory Local Governance (SPLG) and Citizens Monitoring of LGU Performance (CML).

In recognition of the intrinsic link between peace and development, especially in conflict-affected areas in the country, we have taken on as a major concern of CSOs nationwide, the advocacy work for the establishment of the Bangsamoro in Mindanao. Awareness-raising activities about the Framework Agreement for the Bangsamoro and its 4 annexes and the Comprehensive Agreement for the Bangsamoro and the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was undertaken by our member networks even as active lobbying is being pursued for the enactment of the BBL. Our members in Mindanao have been actively providing capacity development and peace education to communities, grounded by the belief that “peace is the basic right of any individual” and that preparing local roadmaps to peace building is necessary. They are also involved in the development of post-agreement work needed to ensure the success of the Bangsamoro.

Having stayed focused on our mission, we are proud of what we have done in the past year, as independent and autonomous member networks and organizations of CODE-NGO, and as a collective, in continuing the tradition of excellence in development sector work and in expanding civil society influence for open, responsive, transparent and accountable governance. We are happy to share with you this year’s stories of our coalition and our member networks toward these ends.

We offer these accomplishments to all our partner communities, volunteers and partner organizations and agencies, who continuously support our initiatives in strengthening the quality of CSO development work, so that we continue to effectively influence programs and policies that will bring positive transformation in the lives of people. Your support continues to give us hope and sustained strength to work in solidarity with one another.

Andrea Maria Patricia M. Sarenas

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