The Asia Foundation Holds Fellows Colloquium for Resilient and Cohesive Communities
On June 19 and 20, 2023, The Asia Foundation held a Fellows Colloquium with support from the Australian Government and in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Galing Pook Foundation. The two-day event showcased local government unit (LGU) social cohesion and resilience initiatives, a media launch of the fellowship network, and the ResilientLGUs.ph website, as well as an action planning activity to expand the network.
The colloquium is part of the LGU Fellowship Program on Social Cohesion and Resilience, which aims to strengthen a community of practice in fostering cohesive, inclusive, and resilient communities.
Community of Practice
The goal of building a community of practice is built around recognizing the agency of LGUs as the most critical and essential entities to strengthen cohesion, inclusion, and resilience in communities affected by conflict and violent extremism and the acknowledgment of the need to harmonize national to local programming.
Before this colloquium, the months of interactions with the Local Chief Executives (LCE) and LGU Fellows created a space where they could be candid yet constructive in exchanging experiences and lessons on building inclusive and resilient communities. Mayor Jimmy Pansar of Butig, Lanao del Sur, shared, “There is some sort of different approaches that we have applied to our respective municipalities, but the important thing for this to move on is to stabilize the peace and order alongside moving towards a genuine development.”
The investment to support such genuine development remains a challenge given the limited resources of the LGUs, particularly in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The presentation of the various initiatives by the LGUs of Tipo-Tipo, Maluso, and Tuburan in the Province of Basilan and Pagayawan and Butig in the Province of Lanao del Sur has led to a stream of potential collaborations with academic institutions, legislators, and private partners, highlighting the need to include these stakeholders in the community of practice. Rosemarie Rafael, Airspeed Philippines, Inc. chairperson shared, “We need more private sectors and the government to help collaborate so we can build up our communities in the Philippines.”
The LCE and LGU Fellows agreed that best practices should not remain as best practices but should translate into standard procedures. To make this happen, the Foundation rebranded an online repository of resources —proven effective during the time of the pandemic to equip LGUs with up-to-date information and inspirations, into a nationwide one-stop-shop for LGU-led initiatives and resources to help other LGUs foster and enable resilient, inclusive, and cohesive communities.
The website, co-designed with the DILG, draws on the department’s Seal of Good Local Governance resiliency categories and could serve as a tool to bridge the gap between local solution benchmarks. Through ResilientLGUs.ph, LGUs could learn from each other’s policies, programs, and initiatives that encourage meaningful engagement between vulnerable communities and the local government.
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