The sharing continues

While it is one of the least updated blogs, I am happy to have received an inspiring annual report from WordPress. This serves as a motivation for me to continue the resource sharing for development. Let me share this with you, dear readers.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 52 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The miracle of resource sharing

Article first published  July 27, 2011 on Lariza Website.

I always relate our experience in the  Master of Socio Pastoral Ministries (MSPM) program to the feeding of 5,000 with few loaves of bread and fish. Although our experience pales in comparison to the miracle. It is one of the only two miracles that are recorded in all four Gospels. The other one is the resurrection. Of the four, I like John’s narrative (John 6:5-14) which portrays the role of a boy with five loaves and two small fish. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

Apart from the dominant view on the literal multiplication of the food, some emphasize the miracle of resource sharing. This view assumes that people have brought with them little food of their own. They just kept them for themselves, hence the scarcity. However, upon seeing the unselfishness of the boy whose generosity was blessed by Jesus, they began to share what they have. Thus, the abundance of food are more then enough for their needs.

In the same way, we also offered whatever we have to respond to the needs of the time. Like the boy, we were not disturbed by overwhelming discrepancies and limitations, even criticisms. Such voluntary spirit made a difference. Amidst reservations, if not downgrading of the modest offering, Jesus made use of what was available and another miracle happened.

When the MSPM program started in 2007, some downgraded our voluntary effort while others already expressed skepticism of its sustainability, even before it was tested. Worse, there were those who consistently campaign against it when the program was well accepted by pastors, even to the extent of recruiting those already participating in the MSPM program to join the program they promote.

In our response, we made the following arguments:  MSPM has been designed with quality not inferior to what Central Philippine University (CPU) offers in Master of Social Work program which was patterned after that of UP Diliman. Yet, the program is friendly and affordable for pastors. The faculty are more than qualified. The only difference is compensation because in MSPM, we teach voluntarily, gaining the love and respect of pastors, not monetary profit.

Conglomeration of events have been favorable for the design of the MSPM program. A couple of us tried the distance education program of a state college in Iloilo for our doctoral degree which met once a month. Some were also teaching, once a week, in Korean seminary in Iloilo City which offered Master of Arts in Missiology. Moreover, we were inspired by the successful revival of the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program in CPU which produced the first graduate, after 30 years. We even opened an extension class with weekly meetings at Convention Baptist Bible College for Negros students.

The aforementioned favorable trends sparked the idea to design similar approach for a graduate studies program for pastors. The break came when through the pastors’ support, I was elected to the board of Trustees of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) in 2006 and subsequently chaired the Theological Education and Ministerial Concerns (TEMC) Committee. By divine guidance, the first document that caught my attention was the CPBC Strategic Plan for 2000-2010 which highlighted the TEMC program. Finding the missing link, I started advocating the program, trying to bridge the gap through voluntary involvement in its implementation. My wife also volunteered to teach in theological institutions in Negros to strengthen the TEMC program.

Studying previous initiatives of various organizations related to continuing theological education, eventually the CPBC Unified Theological Education System (UNITES) was conceived and gradually implemented. Two breakthroughs were undertaken, namely: Formulation of Standardized Curriculum; and the MSPM program.

But why MSPM? As registered social worker and holder of master of social work, I can only offer a degree program within my area of specialization. My exposure to development work and community service has also shaped my holistic perspective. Likewise, pastors who were enrolled in Master of Social Work in CPU encouraged me to integrate social work courses in designing a masteral program for pastors. Comparing the curriculum of divinity and theology masteral programs with that of social work and other masteral programs, the relevance of MSPM appears convincing in terms of meeting the needs of pastors, its practicality and length of time for studies, as well as usefulness to their work in church and community.

The mission of the Master of Socio-Pastoral Ministries program is to prepare pastors for leadership roles in church, church-related institutions and community. Specifically, it is geared towards a healthy and balanced pastoral leadership in church and community services. MSPM classes are conducted in provincial centers by volunteer faculty. Students in respective centers shoulder their transportation expenses accommodation. Certificate is issued upon completion of each subject with corresponding grade. This will be used for official enrolment in the aforementioned theological institutions. The enrolment can be done simultaneously while the students are taking up modular classes. Or may be enrolled later. Participating theological institutions are the ones granting the degree after official enrolment.

The program in Master of Socio-Pastoral Ministries is a combination of Master of Social Work and Master of Ministry. The curriculum incorporates Ministry Core courses, Biblical Core Courses, and Socio-Pastoral Courses. Both ministry and biblical core courses include the following: Philosophical Foundations of Ministry, Ministry Assessment & Equipping Strategies, Church: Ministry & Mission, Hermeneutics, Biblical Theology, Biblical & Theological Foundations of Discipleship.

On the other hand, the Socio-Pastoral Courses consist of Socio-Behavioral Theories, Group, Community, Social Institutions and Processes, Family Wellness & Pastoral Counseling Models of Ministry and Leadership in the Church & Community, Strategies in Church and Community Mobilization, Seminar in Socio Pastoral Ministries, Social Research, Social Jurisprudence & Local Governance, Pastoral Ministry in Conflict Situations, Administration and Management of Church & related organization/institutions, Community Organization & Social Welfare and Development Services. After completion of academic courses, students have the following options as final requirement: Thesis Writing, Special Paper, or Community Project.

Through sharing of resources, our pastors can earn masteral degrees without necessarily leaving their pastorate or respective work. Indeed, the  MSPM program is a  testimony that whenever we start sharing whatever we have, God will work more stories of endless possibilities. That is the miracle of resource sharing.

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Learnings in managing an outreach project: The case of CPU Katin-aran Center (Recommendations)

By:  Edwin I. Lariza and DZ Patriarca-Lariza

This is the last of  the series of posts related to the research study on Katin-aran Center presented to the University Research Center, Central Philippine University on October 2012. The series is a response to the request of interested parties after the summary of the study was posted on this blog earlier.

Foremost among the recommendations is for the University to continue the partnership and assistance to the Katin-aran communities in various forms. Among others, the University should facilitate seminars, skills training, livelihood, and entrepreneurship follow up activities; and fund assistance in the form of loans, livelihood and technology.

It would be good if the University, through the Department of Social Work and University Outreach Center, will continue to lend its influence in helping revive, reorganize inactive communities, as well as establish linkages, partnership with government, local government units and NGOs to strengthen the Katin-aran communities. After all these communities are basically CPU Katin-aran communities and they have been proud for being such. But such partnership must be institutionalized so that whoever will be in the helm of leadership of both units, the working relationship will continue.

A comprehensive evaluation research by the University Research Center or Department of Social Work is highly recommended so that the rich experiences in community organization and development work of Katin-aran Center can be properly documented and transformed into reference materials that will be used in classroom and other academic exercises. The remaining records and the living pioneers of the Center and respective communities can be maximized to develop the community organizing and integrated approach of Katin-aran and other learning materials that will enhance scholarship through application, generation and utilization of knowledge.

The Department of Social Work can consolidate communities and based on the lessons learned, integrate the outreach program with the College of Arts and Science to involve and maximize the resources of other departments and the whole University. Likewise, the Department should maximize the learning opportunities for other departments under the Arts and Sciences, in particular and other colleges, in general. This way, the outreach endeavors will benefit both the communities and the University, as new opportunities for student learning and professional staff development, innovations in curriculum, and improvement in the institution’s operations and visibility will now be enhanced.

Postscript:

This is so far the longest study we ever conducted, longer than our thesis requirements to finish respective masteral degrees. Like its subject matter, the study has survived critical interludes including flood and my own illness. And just like the case of Katin-aran Center, all circumstances and crises have eventually contributed to the intended result. As the biblical passage explicitly describes: “All thing work together for good…” Indeed, it’s worth the wait.

However, this study could not have reached its final stage, had it not been for the support of people to whom we express our sincere gratitude:

Dr. Reynaldo N. Dusaran, University Research Center Director, for his patience, untiring reminders and encouragement to continue;

Dr. Teodoro C. Robles, University President, for his kindness to assign me in his office for a semester to compensate my load units due to volatile health condition. The special assignment he gave me to assist in data gathering for the Volume 2 of The Story of Central Philippine University has given me time and opportunity for in-depth study of the history of Katin-aran Center;

Dr. Ida G. Borlongan and Dr. Margen A. Java, panelists, for enlightening comments and suggestions to improve the paper;

Dr. Anita U. Illenberger, Dean College of Arts and Sciences, who might not know it that her comment on the first draft presented has inspired me;

Professors Carol Kay C. Blando, Kareen Jay D. Lozada and Sarah M. Barayuga, our colleagues in the Department, who have been supportive of this study;

Rev. Melvin M. Mangana, former Director, University Outreach Center, for his undying support to the Katin-aran communities including this study;

Lastly, but most especially, the Katin-aran family for their whole hearted support in the process of data gathering including interviews and focus group discussion without them this study will never be completed. Led by Ma’am Ruth C. Corvera, pioneer director of Katin-aran, the following former staff and leaders are worth mentioning: Freddie Salvania, Jocelyn Funtecha, Mercy Bedona, Emcy Sanchez, Joan Militar, Trinidad Sorongon, Aida Soberano, Annabelle Martinez; Madeline, Jorge, Josephine, Rey, Jimmy, Julie, Rubegilio, Elena, X Barrera, all the PO leaders and volunteers who shared with us their insights.

Lest we forget, our kids: Dazen Dawn, Edzil Ven and Krislenn Edz, our joy, strength and motivation.

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

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LEARNINGS IN MANAGING AN OUTREACH PROJECT: The Case of CPU Katin-aran Center (Part 3)

By: Edwin I. Lariza  and DZ Patriarca-Lariza

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

Previous posts presented the introduction and first part of the results of the study. This post is  the continuation of the results and conclusions.

While such type of management sustained the operation of the Katin-aran Center, it created some organizational problems and issues. Being more concerned with relationship, she had the tendency to maintain an indeterminate structure. Despite the existing formal organizational structure, the informal structure dominated the organization.

Another issue/problem is the lack of a more definite framework for strategies. Katin-aran projects were found to depend more on the availability of funds and on new ideas, opportunities generated from other organizations as shared during national training/seminars. The lack of rigorous, thorough, understandable, and defensible documentation and interpretation in the Center impaired social learning. With this learning disability, Katin-aran, by default, fell short of the two dimensions in managing an outreach project that concerns learning, e.g., scholarship and impact. Being a fund driven organization, Katin-aran was constrained with the limits set by the funding agency. Thus, the weaknesses in project design.

The resourcefulness of the director and skills in linkages and networking, coupled
with her charisma had strengthened the viability and marketability of Katin-aran. Subsequently, the Center contracted a variety of projects with both local and foreign funding. While such fate broadened its scope, coverage and experiences, it has created role confusion.

From being closely connected with the academic unit and outreach council of the University to becoming a separate unit, the Center started to experience identity crisis. The problem was aggravated when it became a part of NGO community which were independent in their organizational structure. This situation became more complicated when the Center engaged in empowerment projects. The expected modeling for empowerment put organizational pressures to the Center being still confined within the bureaucratic structure of the University.

The source of strength of the Katin-aran Center was also its source of weakness as far as administrative factors were concerned. The three prominent factors believed to promote the development of the Center were also the factors that hindered it. These were charismatic leadership management style of the pioneer director and committed staff; institutional support; and participatory and integrated development approach.

However, it was because of her charismatic nature that the decision making process in, and the direction of, Katin-aran tended to revolve around her. Organizational changes were undertaken only when she was on extended leave for official functions. While the multiple roles and functions of the Katin-aran director were beneficial in linkages and networking which were instrumental in enhancing funding support, the same adversely affected the organization.

The institutional support provided by the University was instrumental in the sourcing of funds for the projects from various partner agencies both local and international. However, such strong institutional backing also hindered the development. Observably, there was a domestication of the spirit of empowerment on its actual operation in the organization because of institutional inhibition.

The participatory integrated development approach of the Katin-aran Center was timely and relevant during that period. However, such approach also put the Center in volatile situation due to the expectation of consistency in running the affairs of the organization. The staff and even the POs expected the administration to “walk their talk” related to integration and participation. As such, the condition was always vulnerable for assertion of rights to participate which requires only a little agitation to ignite the consciousness of stakeholders who were sensitive to discrepancy on the principle of participation and empowerment. This explains the mass leave of majority of the staff in early 1990s.

While the Center bannered on this participatory and integrated approach, it failed to apply this within the University wherein other units are not involved in the outreach projects. The University itself appeared to be a mere repository/treasury of funds as the actions were limited to the Katin-aran personnel, funding agency and partner communities. Thus, this deprived the other supposed stakeholders with learning experience. On the other hand, the Center forfeited the built in support system and resources from other units that could have become buffer for crises. It was only the Department of Social Work which provided support to Katin-aran Center during the termination of projects and delay in funding support.

The Katin-aran Center through more than three decades of experience is indeed worthy of emulation as a model in community outreach. Its experiences, both happy and sad, provide valuable lessons and learnings for academic institutions undertaking outreach endeavors as part of the trilogy of the higher education institutions.

Despite the problems it encountered and whatever negative experiences it has, there is no question that the Katin-aran Center has given us learnings on how to manage outreach work in the context of academic institution. Reviewing the four dimensions in managing an outreach project, it can be concluded that the Katin-aran Center has satisfactorily met the first two dimensions, namely: significance and context of the project. It is in the last two that the Center obviously failed.

The Scholarship and Impact dimensions were not given much attention. The Center lacks documentation about new application of knowledge gained, as well as the dissemination, utilization, and possible replication of the new model or hypothesis generated. With such deficiency, the project by default failed to give the University the expected benefits: new opportunities for student learning and professional staff development, innovations in curriculum, and improvement in the institution’s operations and visibility.

________________________

This is the third  of the series of posts related to the research study on Katin-aran Center presented to the University Research Center, Central Philippine University on October 2012. The series is a response to the request of interested parties after the summary of the study was posted on this blog earlier.

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LEARNINGS IN MANAGING AN OUTREACH PROJECT: The Case of CPU Katin-aran Center (Part 2)

By: Edwin I. Lariza  and DZ Patriarca-Lariza

METHODOLOGY

This study used the exploratory and descriptive design, employing the historical approach as well as the qualitative method of research. Both the primary and secondary data were used in this study. Primary data were collected through interviews with key informants using a semi-structured interview guide. Secondary data were gathered either from the retrieved records in the office and from personal file of officers available to the researchers during the data-gathering period. Data from those sources were validated through focus group discussions wherein initial findings were presented to pioneers and key players for confirmation and additional insights.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

Katin-aran Center emerged as a response to the needs of the Department of Social Work for more field placement for students. Soon it grew with established development concepts and framework and effective methods in organizing communities. Starting as an outreach project of the Department of Social Work, Katin-aran expanded and was managed by the University Outreach Council until it was treated as a separate unit in the University. Because of its track record, the Center earned recognition and respect locally, nationally, and internationally for its quality implementation of participatory, integrated community development programs. It has reached its peak when it became a separate foundation implementing multi- million empowerment projects. While this period appeared to be the peak of empowerment endeavors, it was also the most trying moments for the Center

This evolution of Katin-aran strengthened its organizational life. Vision-mission-goals were formulated, as well as its development concept and framework based on participatory development. The Center has a well-placed structure conducive to the implementation of its six major programs, special projects and other services to the community. Due to its dynamic history, growth and development, the Katin-aran Center underwent various changes in organizational structure. Modification of the structure took place from time to time in order to accommodate new projects or new funding partners. The structure was changed again when Katin-aran became a separate foundation.

The achievements and contribution of Katin-aran to the community are highlighted by establishment of federated people’s organizations that became functional in respective communities. The impacts of the programs and services to personal lives of the Katin-aran members have been translated into community involvement in various forms and services. Foremost, is the development of self and service to community. They learned to value their humanity, develop self-confidence and positive attitude in life. Becoming service oriented, they developed the courage and commitment to stand for and protect their rights, as well as the rights of others. The degree of such development was best described by the comment of one member, “Nangin tao kami” (We become human beings).

Such development has benefited the community, as well as the university. Katin-aran members became responsible, productive citizens, and effective leaders in the community. With developed skills in leadership and linkages, they served their respective communities in various ways. The initiatives and breakthroughs undertaken by the Center in communities gained recognition and awards from local to national level. These in turn benefited the University in its accreditation requirements, as well as in community relations.

Katin-aran was under two types of leadership/management styles of the organization which David Brown (cited in Clark 1991) described as charismatic and collegial. These management styles were instrumental in the sustenance/survival of the Center. The charismatic qualities of the pioneer director coupled by her resourcefulness and excellence in linkages and networking sustained the Center for decades. Her deep commitment to a mission of empowering people served as inspiration to her staff, mostly her former students in the Department. A believer in participatory approach, she involved people in various aspects. She even considered the beneficiaries of Katin-aran Center as partners in development, not recipients.

The director was concerned with relationship and was good in maintaining such. This virtue endeared her to the staff and even to funding partners and possible donors. Her relational approach maintained good working condition in the office. Conflicts were easily managed and support system were felt by the staff and their families. Such management style sustained the organization and its survival, despite multiple crises. Her successor manifested the second type of leadership which is collegial leadership. She was concerned with structure, less with relationship, to the extent that many organizational changes took place during her stint including streamlining. Such paradigm shift in management style had consequential effect to both the staff and organization.

(to be continued)

_____________________

This is the second of the series of posts related to the research study on Katin-aran Center presented to the University Research Center, Central Philippine University on October 2012. The series is a response to the request of interested parties after the summary of the study was posted on this blog earlier.

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LEARNINGS IN MANAGING AN OUTREACH PROJECT: The Case of CPU Katin-aran Center

By: Edwin I. Lariza and DZ Patriarca-Lariza

INTRODUCTION

Community Outreach is one of the trilogies of functions of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs). As with other functions of education, the concept of outreach originated from the West. In the nineteenth century, universities in the United States of America had engaged officially in the development of the community. However, prior to aforementioned official engagement, state colleges in the US had already been helping the extension program of the government through various ways according to the context of respective communities.

The same trend was followed in other countries especially those influenced by Western countries like the Philippines. While education, i.e., teaching is the primary duty of colleges/ universities, they have major service obligations to their communities and their country. Most often, it is the outreach endeavors of the academic institutions that have a bearing in the lives of the people in the communities, as the programs and projects directly affect their lives. The impact is more, when the outreach project is properly managed. In some cases, the quality outreach projects and programs of colleges and universities were institutionalized. Some even were transformed into independent non-government organizations (NGOs) that continue to engage in development work apart from the academic base.

The Michigan State University, in its Guidebook for Planning & Evaluating Quality Outreach (2000), has identified four dimensions in managing an outreach project. These dimensions reflect four fundamental characteristics of any outreach project in higher education. The first dimension is significance of the project. This involves the importance of issue/ opportunity to be addressed and goals/ objectives of consequence. Next is context. It has five components, namely: consistency with university/unit values and the stakeholder interests, appropriateness of expertise, degree of collaboration, appropriateness of methodological approach, and sufficiency and creative use of resources. The third dimension in managing an outreach project is scholarship. This refers to the resources, application, generation and utilization of knowledge. Finally, the project’s impact on issues, institutions, and individuals.

In the Philippines, outreach or extension services have been institutionalized by the fundamental law of the land. The government has even created the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to ensure the maintenance of quality college education through its trilogy of function such as institution, research and extension service.

At Central Philippine University, it is the major goal of outreach to implement social development programs that help improve the life of our people. To attain this goal, outreach in the University has a two-fold objective namely, to: 1) develop awareness of existing local and national economic problems and social issues; and 2) stimulate voluntary involvement in community service.

Among the outreach projects in the University, the Katin-aran Center stands out in terms of concrete and lasting manifestations and impact it has created. With various programs related to Social Development, Rural Productivity, and the Community-Based Health Program, the Katin-aran Center has earned recognition and respect locally, nationally, and internationally for its flagship of quality implementation of participatory, integrated community development programs

With such experience in outreach endeavors, it can be assumed that the University has already established a system of outreach mechanism that can be replicated in other communities and followed by other units. This, however, is far from the truth. Little has been made to document and assess such fate and similar experiences to serve as basis to improve the current and future endeavors. While the University has rich experiences in outreach endeavors, it still has to establish a concrete model worthy of emulation in the absence of conscious and deliberate study/assessment of its outreach activities. The need to study and learn from past experiences in managing outreach projects cannot be overemphasized.

This study was conducted to describe the administration of Katin-aran Center in coping with the demands of times and circumstances in the development work. Specifically, this study addressed the following objectives:

1) To describe the factors and processes that brought about the growth and development of Katin-aran Center and the conditions under which it was organized.
2) To evaluate the structure, function, activities of Katin-aran Center.
3) To appraise the significant achievements or contributions of the organization to both the University and community it serves.
4) To look into the management styles of the organization and how these affect their sustenance/survival.
5) To identify issues and problems emanating from various management styles in administration.
6) To analyze the administrative factors that promote or hinder its development.

(To be continued)

________________

This is the first of the series of posts related to the research study on Katin-aran Center presented to the University Research Center, Central Philippine University on October 2012. The series is a response to the request of interested parties after the summary of the study was posted on this blog earlier.

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