Harnessing Filipino heritage for greater social good
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - May 28, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines remains a global leader in social work and continues to be regarded as having the longest-running and most robust charitable sector in Asia.

But there is still a lot the country’s charitable institutions can do to improve and address social challenges in the Philippines, says Elizabeth Eder de Zobel or Lizzi, chairman of Teach for the Philippines, and Ruth Shapiro, founder and CEO of Hong Kong-based Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society.

In a paper titled “Harnessing Filipino Heritage for Greater Social Good,” Zobel and Shapiro shared that the Philippines is in a unique position to find ways to harness both the supply and demand for philanthropy to best address the needs of the Filipino people.

“The Hong Kong-based Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society’s (CAPS) Doing Good Index reports that there exists space for improvement for the Philippines even as the country remains a global leader in social work,” they said in the paper.

For the Philippines, CAPS recognizes that many pieces of a charitable ecosystem are in place but the country’s tax policies and regulations pull down the overall score.

“However, beyond the score, it should be noted that we are not maximizing our ability to efficiently and effectively push our charitable sector to best address persistent social challenges in the country. The Philippines can still do so much more to creating an environment that encourages a variety of stakeholders to engage in solving our shared problems,” they added.

To move toward this goal, the authors said there is a need for increased collaboration.

“There is a need to be more innovative and break free from established patterns to build new, durable and mutually beneficial collaborative initiatives. The recent partnership upends the traditional notion that organizations doing similar work should only be the ones to work together. However, we strongly believe that the strongest collaboration emerge when the partners have diverse but synergistic strengths and roles within the project,” they said.

Furthermore, the authors added, there should also be increased support for administrative costs and capacity building.

“As a way forward, greater support to allow NGOs to be aligned with international governance standards and practices is needed,” the authors said.

They also said that the donor community should understand and support NGOs in their need to have administrative costs and develop capacity-building.

“Companies should encourage programs in sustained volunteerism that allows employees to participate beyond one-off volunteer opportunities. However, a more meaningful way forward would be to encourage companies to contribute their experts’ time and expertise as potential board members a well as in providing capacity building assistance.

“Indeed given the many excellent people and initiatives taking place in the country, the collective resort and energy of our institution and the strong deeply rooted passion to serve found at the core of our culture our success in this endeavor is definitely not far off in the horizon,” the authors said.

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