THE SMALL PROJECTS FUND: A YEAR IN REVIEW
by Teresa Claire Alcaba, SPF Coordinator

Overview:

Project Turnover - SPF

Throughout June 2011 to June 2012, CERNET has supported 14 PO-initiated projects from five (5) provinces. With the approval of six (6) more projects during the Board of Trustees meeting on 7 December 2012, CERNET has already reached its 20- project-mark- just five more marks short of its Phase 4 target.

Meanwhile, pilot projects with strategic partners are maintained each in the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, and Negros Oriental . Two of these projects are managed by local farmers’ organization (Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa San Jose or NAMASAJO in Mabini, Bohol; and Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Planas or KASAMAPA in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental) while one is being run by a city-wide urban poor federation (Nagkahiusang Kabus sa Lapu- Lapu or NAKALAP in Cebu).

The strategic partners selected for this pilot approach were among the top 10 PO partners of SPF from the past three phases, in the period between 2002 and 2011.

Current Project Distribution

For the one- and-a half year implementation of CERP 4, the SPF desk has received a total of 27 project proposals, out of which seven had been automatically disqualified for not passing the SPF criteria (i.e,. proponents were NGOs, PO proponents are below two years in existence, POs already supported by EED in the past, among others.)

Of the 20 projects approved, five are due for completion during the 1st quarter of 2013, while six are bound to begin their operations also in the same period. No more medium-level projects, however, will be approved after December 2012. This policy was enacted in order to ensure ample time for evaluation of medium –level projects as these projects are usually completed after one year and evaluation period is given at most three months after project termination.

In terms of project distribution by province, Cebu tops the list with six projects, followed by Negros Occidental with five, Bohol with for, Leyte with three, and Negros Oriental with two projects.
According to sector, 60% of the fund support were allocated to the peasant sector with 12 projects, the youth sector with three projects, the women and fisherfolks with two each, while the workers’ sector has only one project.
In its 12 years of existence, CERNET has supported various development projects of 130 marginalized peoples’ organization throughout seven (7) provinces in the Visayas region namely Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, and Dumaguete City in Central Visayas; Negros Occidental in Region 6; and Biliran and Leyte in Region 8.

CERNET & ACT’s Alternative Literacy Project

When the new school year opened in June 2012, a new project for CERNET also began. Termed as “ Alternative Literacy Program, “ this latest undertaking is the result of CERNET’s collaboration with Asian Community Trust, a fund raising charitable trust from Japan.

This project, which has the full title of “Reducing Child Labor Through Community Initiated Alternative Literacy Program in Guihulngan City”, has two approaches: providing access to education to pre-schoolers, by way of a Day Care Center and out-of-school youths thru the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System.
When the project was officially launched in two separated inauguration in June 23, 2012 ( Alternative Learning Program) and July 4, 2012 ( Day Care Center), the aspirations of the two local PO partners’ Kahugpongan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Buenavista (KAMABU) have finally been realized. Both organizations have conceptualized the project long before

ACT and CERNET’s partnership began.

The Day Care Center , which is located in the hinterland barangay of Sitio Agpapataw, Binobohan, caters to 52 students between the ages of 3-7 years old. The ALS, meanwhile, has 120 enrollees both for the elementary and high school levels , and accepts students from 15 to 18 years old. Two retired elementary school teachers have volunteered to hold classes each Saturday at the Buenavista Elementary School.
ACT coordinator, Megumi Nishijima, had conducted a monitoring visit in the project areas in November 15-17, 2012. Nishijima also visited the LGU of Guihulngan, the local DSWD and DepED School Division, which were instrumental to the project implementation.