“Empowering 10,000 Pala'wan Indigenous People in Local Governance” Top Civil Society Fund Grant Applications in the Philippines

MANILA, 4 JULY 2011—Building the capacity of indigenous peoples to participate in local governance in Palawan topped applications to the Civil Society Fund (CSF) in the Philippines for 2011.

To be implemented by the Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives (IDEAS), the project will benefit up to ten thousand members of the Pala'wan tribe in the municipality of Quezon by enabling their farmers’ and women’s federations to articulate their development concerns and advance the right to participate in local governance.

World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman said civil society organizations (CSOs) have become one of the most important actors in the struggle for better and effective governance in the country, amplifying the needs and aspirations of the less fortunate in society.

“With our modest contribution through the CSF, we would like to support CSO’s efforts in strengthening the voice and enhancing the contribution of the poor and the marginalized in the development processes, making these processes more inclusive and equitable,” said Mr. Hofman.

Three other Philippine projects will receive CSF grants:

  • “Empowering Marginalized Sectors towards More Proactive Involvement for Good Governance” to be implemented by Antique Foundation of NGOs, Inc. (AFON) at Antique province;
  • “Citizen Engagement for Effective Barangay Budget Utilization Project,” to be implemented by Kaabag sa Sugbu Foundation, Inc. at Mandaue City, Cebu City, and Lapu-Lapu City; and
  • “Instituting System of Partnership and Social Accountability between the Communities and the Barangays of the City of Naga,” to be implemented by the Naga City People’s Council

These four winners will receive a grant to finance their projects, with a total amount of Php1.671 million.

Created in 1983, the Social Development Civil Society Fund (formerly known as the Small Grants Program) is one of the few global programs of the World Bank that directly funds civil society organizations. It is a concrete tool to aid in the advancement of the Bank’s social development agenda to empower poor and marginalized groups. With funds from the Development Grants Facility, the program is administered through participating World Bank Country Offices reaching civil society organizations through transparent and competitive processes.

The Civil Society Fund supports CSOs’ activities whose primary objective is ensuring the increased civic engagement of marginalized and vulnerable people in developmental processes. For 2011, the CSF Team in the Philippines focused on the theme of “Civic Engagement for Good Governance,” which reflected the concerns of CSOs and development partners, and largely supported the Philippine Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) with the theme “making growth work for the poor.”

Following the global announcement, the World Bank Group in the Philippines issued the call for applications in March 2011 to various civil society organizations and networks throughout the country, including the university-based Knowledge for Development Centers.

All proposals were screened for completeness and eligibility and then subjected to a three-stage evaluation and deliberation by the CSF Team. Requests for grant support were received from many worthwhile organizations to support innovative programs in various parts of the Philippines. Unfortunately, the CSF could respond favorably to only a small fraction of them.

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