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SAAD Caraga capacitates staff to lead beneficiaries’ Organizational Development training

BUTUAN CITY, April 14, 2023 – As front-line agents of community organizing, local field implementers of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program operations underwent Training of Trainers (ToT) on Organizational Development, in preparation for managing farmers’ organizations for Phase 2 implementation.

The training held on February 14 in Butuan City aims to inform the regional, provincial implementers, and 14 local government partners of the principles of community organizing, their functions, and roles, and equip them with skills in organizational management for the SAAD Program community engagement activities. One of the primary goals of the said training is to reinforce SAAD-mobilized groups’ sustainability through the establishment of an effective and strong group structure.

According to the implementing guidelines for Phase 2 implementation, SAAD will no longer cater to individual beneficiaries, and only formally organized groups may qualify. Following the graduation of Phase 1 beneficiaries, the majority of the SAAD-assisted FAs for Phase 2 are newly organized groups. Aside from aiding them in managing their livelihood projects through a series of specialized and technical training, securing cohesiveness among members through organizational development training, for one, is recognized as crucial for successful project implementation.

Institution Development Specialist Marisol Tuso, Executive Director of Butuan Bay Development Alliance, a cooperation of eight (8) local government units (LGUs) straddling Butuan Bay that envisions a well-managed common resource for the upliftment of marginalized municipal fisherfolk, was the workshop resource person. 

Tuso is an expert in project management, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), communication, and institution building. She is also a Training Specialist for the Food and Agriculture Organization. 

Tuso discussed strategies to prevent misunderstanding among members through understanding their conversation nature: chatterbox (talk or answer on and on);  the know-all (think they know everything); slow learner (do not have the same prior knowledge as other participants); contradictor (often disagree); and silent type (hardly ever speak). 

According to Tuso, as a community organizer, full awareness of people’s different personalities is the first step to preventing conflicts. Some of the related strategies include intervention only when the conversation is becoming disruptive to others; acknowledging sharing of ideas; creating a safe environment for everyone; paraphrasing ideas, among others.

Tuso also introduced tools that staff can utilize throughout project implementation, which include Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Challenges (SWOC) Analysis, Situational Analysis, and Community Needs and Resource Assessment to examine internal/external factors and determine the situation of the group as a basis for strategizing actions to address them. 

Stakeholder mapping and developing vision and mission statements through drawing were also tackled. The former is important to check the interest and commitment of stakeholders that are key players in sustaining the projects while the latter is utilized to come up with goals that best represent the desired goals of the association. 

Project and policy formulation and development and financial literacy are among the major activities under the Social Preparation component of the Program. This year, SAAD-Caraga aims for FAs to begin understanding their role and functions; craft vision and mission statements; and learn strategies to sustain their projects.

Following the ToT, SAAD Community Development Officers and Project Officers will lead in cascading the same workshop learnings as resource persons in their respective areas of assignments in March 2023. 

SAAD Phase 2 targets to provide assistance to 24 farmers’ associations with at least 700 farmer members from its 14 priority municipalities, which include Remedios T. Romualdez in Agusan del Norte; Alegria, Sison, Tagana-an, Malimono, General Luna, Pilar, Santa Monica, San Isidro, San Benito, Del Carmen in Surigao del Norte; and Libjo, Dinagat, and Tubajon in Dinagat Islands. ###

Writer: Mark Angelo Pineda, DA-SAAD Caraga Information Officer

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