In pursuit of public service and sustainable change, the University of the Philippines (UP) through the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UPCIDS) has implemented the Nurturing Grassroots Change through Partnerships Project (Grassroots Change) with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). Grassroots Change comprises a series of livelihood development activities through a “Skills Camp” with the goal of honing and enhancing the skills of project beneficiaries in their chosen field. The project is set to capacitate partner-indigent communities located near UP campuses/properties that host NGCP facilities, as they pursue their own start-up enterprises and other fruitful employment ventures.
UP and NGCP recognize that efforts of building communities must not be limited to their economic viability; and responsive and sustainable change must come from an appreciation of the people’s needs and ingenuity at the grassroots level. One must speak the community’s language, connect with their tolls, savor their food, and assist them as they steer their boats toward social change.
The program employs the conduct of a local scoping study, a community-wide needs assessment, and an interactive participatory planning session to ensure that the project stays true to its mandate. Inputs from such will be used to develop livelihood development activities for the communities which include a combination of technical skills and business-capability modules.
Grassroots Change is envisioned to deliver community-wide change through the partnership and synergy among the community, the academe, and the private sector.
In its kick-off year, the project has been focusing on communities within the municipalities of Los Baños in Laguna and Miag-ao in Iloilo, and the cities of Tacloban and Davao – wherein the needs assessment and the participatory planning have just concluded. Among the training areas identified by the community are Food and Meat Processing, Buri and Hablon Craftsmaking, Cacao Nursery, and Sewing, along with Product Marketing, Patent Registering and Organizing Local Cooperatives.