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:
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:
. 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 mayseek comfort in CO Multiversity programs offering rest and recreation activities for jaded souls.
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.