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Community Organizing

 

THE RURAL CO STANDARD

To foster unity, the rural COs published their common view on the definition and success indicators of rural community organizing. They spelled out the success indicators for each organizing phase in the following areas:

1. Organizational Development (OD)

2. Critical, Creative and Collective Consciousness Raising

3. Coalition Effort and Advocacy Work

4. Overcoming Gender and other Biases

5. Basic Services and Infrastructure

6. Resource Tenure Improvement (RTI)

7. Economic Self-reliance Strengthening

8. Agricultural Development and Ecological Nurturance

9. Democratic Participation in Governance

 

The success indicators in each of the above areas are presented in this section as the Rural CO Standard. During the 1995 National Rural CO Conference in Cebu City, the participant-organizers agreed to accept and promote the Standard, with the understanding that it is open to further development.

To help in the application of the Standard, an evaluation instrument was developed and pre-tested in 31 barangays (9 in Luzon, 9 in Mindanao and 13 in the Visayas). In the pre-testing, it was realized that for the instrument to be effective in assessing the state of organizing in a barangay, its users must be leveled-off on how to read and interpret the Rural CO Standard.The framework used in the application of the Standard is explained as follows: Promotion of a Common Rural Community Organizing Standard in the Philippines was published last April 1998 as an output of this effort.-- by the Philippine Community Organizers Society (Philcos) Secretariat.

Each area of concern is divided into components called variables. They are called variables because their state varies from the first to the third phase of organizing as a result of the intervention done by the organizers. For instance, Organizational Development has eight variables: democratic structures, development structures, active members, among others. The success indicators for each variable are presented each of the three phases. These indicators serve as a yardstick in measuring the success of the organizing work in a particular area of concern. For example, the first phase, development of democratic structures is successful if all of its success indicators are present. Success indicators can also be used to assess the state of a people’s organization. For example, if a majority of the success indicators from first to third phases of the variable democratic structures are already present in a PO, then it can be said that democratic structure is a strength of the PO.

The formulation of the Rural CO Standard -- a common framework by which to asses organizing work -- is a historical milestone in rural community organizing. This implies a common understanding of how rural organizing should be pursued in a community.

The Rural CO Standard (Areas of Concern and Success Indicators)

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A. Organizational Development (OD)

Organizational development refers to the quality of organizational functioning of the people’s organization as it fulfills its aspirations. Specifically, OD seeks to the following features of the organization are clear and operative: 1) Organizational Goals and Objectives, 2) Organizational Structures, 3) Leadership/Membership, 4) Education Programs, 5) Mechanisms for Internal Relationships Enhancement,  and 6) The Financial Capability of the PO

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B. Critical, Creative and Collective Consciousness Raising

Critical, Creative and Collective Consciousness Raising refers to the level of awareness or consciousness of the leaders and members of the PO. Specifically, this area of concern seeks to assess the PO’s: 1) Socio-Political Awareness, and 2) Community Orientedness and Group Centeredness

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C. Coalition Effort and Advocacy Work

The efforts initiated by the organizer, and eventually undertaken by the people’s organization, to establish common ground with other POs and sectors on an issue-to-issue basis. In some instances, the alliance formed is strategic in nature, especially if the issue is a long term one. Advocacy work is the effort of PO/NGO to call the public’s attention or the resource holder/controller (most likely the government) to an issue that needs immediate action from the group or the public.

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D. Overcoming Gender and other Biases

The ability of the PO to recognize the gender issues within the public and private sphere of their community. It is also the capability to develop appropriate programs and measures that will ensure equality and respect for the rights of women and other marginalized sectors.

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E. Basic Services and Infrastructure

The capacity of the people’s organization to ensure that their community is provided with and is capable of managing and developing the delivery of basic services, such as health care and sanitation, education and training (formal and informal), credit, water, electricity, housing, pre and post harvest facilities, and the necessary infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads.

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F. Resource Tenure Improvement (RTI)

This area of concern seeks to evaluate the impact of the people’s organization in improving their relationship with the major natural resources— land, water (lakes, rivers, municipal waters/deep sea) and forest resources in the community.

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G. Economic Self-reliance Strengthening

This area of concern refers to the capability of the people’s organization to develop and manage economic projects or enterprises for increased incomes, economic growth, social equity, and environment sustainability.

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H. Agricultural Development and Ecological Nurturance

Refers to the ability of the PO to plan and implement programs that will develop the natural resources of the community to meet their basic needs, while ensuring the right of future generations to these resources.

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I. Democratic Participation in Governance

The POs capability to participate directly in the governance of their community. This also relates to their participation in mainstream political activities.

 

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