Scaling Up Support to Cooperatives

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The series of activities designed to capacitate cooperatives officers, management and members is a testament to the commitment of the La Trinidad municipal government officials to bring change to the communities they serve. The bold steps are aimed at realizing the state policy to strengthen cooperatives as practical vehicles for promoting self-reliance and harnessing people power towards the attainment of economic and social development.

As of this writing, this capital town pooled its manpower to address issues affecting water service organizations (including cooperatives) operating in the valley. Employees from the various offices and the body constituting the Water Sanitation Council together with CDA representatives gathered at the Gasat’s Resto Bar situated at Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet for a three day (September 6-8, 2018) Trainer’s Training on Strategic Planning for Water Organizations. Focus of the activity is on enhancing the participants facilitating attitude, skills and knowledge on strategic planning.

Battery of speakers and facilitators took turns in sharing their experiences and insights on how to arrive at a strategic plan. The lectures and workshop exercises were intended to sharpen the skills of the pool of trainers’ related to preparation 3 year development plan and annual plan and budget. Also, setting of vision, mission, goals, objectives, plans, programs, activities were discussed. The La Trinidad Municipal Employees MPC served as subject cooperative that was diagnosed using the framework and templates for the workshops.

Highlights of the activity include Background and Objectives of the Activity and Facilitating Skills 101; Rationale: Why the Need to Plan?; Strategic Plans as Differentiated from Other Plans and Workshops on Long Listing and Ranking of Cooperative Problems; Revisiting the Vision; Setting/Resetting Mission Statement; Setting/Resetting Goal Statements; Situational Analysis using SWOC Analysis; Environmental Scanning; Objective Setting and Strategic Planning by Area of Concern. Participants took turns in reporting the workshop output of each group that reinforced confidence of each reporter to handle future groups.

The pool of trainers will assist around 10 water service organizations to craft their own development plans next week. Beckel Neighborhood Multipurpose Cooperative; Balangbang Multipurpose Cooperative; Shilan Multipurpose Cooperative; Bahong Multipurpose Cooperative; Barangay Alapang Multipurpose Cooperative; Alno Rural Community Development Cooperative; Gusaran Wangal Community Water Service Cooperative; GULPI Consumers Cooperative; Tawang MPC; and Conig Women’s Association representatives will be involved in Strategic Planning activity to be held on September 13-15,2017 at San Juan, La Union.

As the focus is on ensuring quality water service delivery to the residents of the identified barangays, the need for the involvement and support of the community residents is required. Internal and external stakeholders must help craft and implement the plan to solve the pressing issues on water services. Ensuring proper use of funds to mitigate the challenges on access to water is a universal concern.

Indeed, we need the right people to help attain the goals, mission and mission of the municipality. Having the right strategy on how to do things; focus; and presence of development plans as offshoots of participatory planning that can be executed by the cooperative planners and stakeholders can make a difference in scaling up cooperatives.

How I wish to name all the participants of the trainer’s training but I am afraid to miss one. As observed during the workshop and presentation of outputs, the group composed of Generation X and Millennials create a perfect mix of trainers that can hurdle the challenges of development work.

Kudos to municipal officials headed by Mayor Romeo K. Salda and to the employees for coming with such activity that will help provide direction to water service cooperatives/organizations operating in the different barangays of La Trinidad.

Finally, we would like to encourage other local government units to scale up their support to cooperatives and peoples organizations as partners in social and economic development. The initiatives exemplified by the LGU-La Trinidad manifest innovation and good governance practices that can be embraced by other local government units in the country.

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