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CO Multiversity

Community Organization Learning Centers (COLC)

     

The transformation of CO-TRAIN into the CO Multiversity in 1998 signaled a shift from its primarily training focus to one that looked at CO more broadly in the context of civil society roles and genuine social reform. A particular outcome has been the determination to assess CO accomplishments honestly, given the new challenges of the 21st century, starting with President Joseph Estrada’s "Pro-Poor" Administration.

This self-evaluation process involved extensive consultations with NGO and PO partners throughout the country. These in turn led to the formation of a loose coalition of Community Organization Learning Centers (COLCs).

 

Consultation with COLCs

 

The consultations with partner NGOs and POs were also aimed at addressing the needs of community organizers and the issues that confront local communities. In 1999, COLC consultations were conducted in Northern Luzon, Central Luzon and Bicol.

As in previous consultations, the participants discussed the issues and challenges that confronted community organizers and the people and institutions with which they work. Issues cited in all the consultations included:

• For communities: environmental degradation, lack of basic services, lack of support services and no security of land tenure for farmers and land reform beneficiaries, ancestral domain claims affected by large, influential landowners and the non-implementation of the Indigenous People’s Rights Act, and the socio-economic effect of the armed conflict in Mindanao

• For community organizers: low salaries, no job security, lack of or limited skills’ enhancement and professionalism.

 

The participants acknowledged the potential for CO Multiversity to help resolve these issues. Thus, they suggested for CO Multiversity’s consideration activities in the following seven main areas of concern:

1. Documentation and Information Dissemination. To document CO theory and practice for the use of new COs as reference materials; to assist other NGOs in research, documentation, case studies and proposal making. CO Multiversity could also provide periodic, accessible and integrated information, updates, researches, trends and approaches in CO for local and international organizations, and spread the CO framework of POs/NGOs to the academic sector.

        2. Refuge or Healing Center. Community organizers who experience stress and burnout, or who aging ad facing retirement may              seek comfort in CO Multiversity programs offering rest and recreation activities for jaded souls.

3. Professionalize CO Work. To professionalize community organizing, the CO Multiversity can set up alternative graduate studies or diploma courses for COs. A pool of trainors together with regional directorate can be tasked to handle this. The institution can also help by finding ways of ensuring job security and setting up a standard salary scale for COs.

4. Training and Education. To enhance the COs’ knowledge and skills, the CO Multiversity can offer technical and skills training, values formation and education, sessions on the CO theoretical framework to new COs, refresher courses for new or inactive COs seeking to return to the work, and sustainability and capability-building programs. Likewise, it can become a venue for educational development, training consultancy and enhancement of management skills.

5. Finances. NGOs that are looking for possible sources of funds for CO programs, projects and activities can go to the CO Multiversity for assistance in proposal preparation and referrals.

6. Networking and Coordination. With help from CO Multiversity, COs in Mindanao can create a forum, coalition and other forms of coordination. It can also develop links with other countries in Asia and Africa and consolidate efforts in strengthening CO work.

        7. Benchmarking. The institution can assess and evaluate the CO programs in Mindanao and recommend measures to strengthen  CO groups  there.   It can be an instrument also in re-tooling tactics and strategies in CO work. Particular attention to CO in the context of organizing Muslim  groups is also desirable.

 

Mabuhay! Welcome

C O Community Organizing

C O Multiversity

CO Library