NGOs Convene to Plan for Achieving Zero Street Children

Posted on June 21, 2018

By Marj Ibanez

June 21, Intramuros, Manila - “No one NGO can create an impact that will allow us to see a major change in the realities of society today. If we were to be effective it will require one NGO working with many others,” said Br. Armin Luistro during his opening remarks in the roundtable discussion on “Achieving Zero Street Children” held on June 21 at Bayleaf Hotel.

It was convened by The International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov), the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and the Asian Community Center 21 (ACC21). 12 different organizations working to address the situation of street children in Ermita and Intramuros attended.

These organizations assembled to evaluate the current initiatives for street children by identifying the gaps and areas for improvement and to cooperate with each other to make use of every organization’s strengths to address the problems identified. This is so that a more significant and successful impact can be seen as a result of this cooperation.

As such, a “joint effort” was agreed upon through this discussion to address collaboration between the groups present. Br. Luistro volunteered PBSP as the joint effort’s current secretariat for one year.

CCT’s Kabigan ministry then brought up the need for a systematic referral system.  It is a collaborative effort called for by all the organizations present. These organizations pointed out that the need for this system arises from the overlaps or gaps created due to the directness and specificity of their interventions and services. It will also allow the participants in this joint effort to establish wider networks and form deeper connections with one another.

To address the issue of data collection and management, the idea of creating a shared directory/database of the participants of the joint effort and the beneficiaries they monitor was brought up.

Virlanie foundation then pointed out the existence of SENMMAP (Street Educators Network of Metro Manila Partners), an organized group composed of different NGOs and agencies that deal with street children, which is working on creating a standardized and common database among its member organizations. Ms. Soliman suggested that SENMMAP should be open to expanding their network. But, the SENMMAP members present sought time to discuss this decision with their own board.

In the end, the group discussed the call to complete and formalize the nature of the “joint effort”. Participating groups were to meet with their respective boards and get back to the Secretariat whether they would like to take part and join such a network by June 30.

Br. Armin said that the first task of the to-be-established network was to create an over-arching framework/program.  PBSP will help manage and market to gather a larger pool of resources instead of marketing smaller and unified projects alone.

Ms. Soliman then ended the day’s activities by leaving the participants with a call to take action. She urged the participants to continue striving for this joint effort and to not let it be a situation with so many meetings and plans that are all for naught. She emphasized that “this time let’s make it happen for the children.”  - by Karla V. Laqui