The Learning Experience

Listed below are some of the most important learning experiences of what is needed to achieve a success. The reader will notice that there are no new, revolutionary experiences gained but rather the universal ones that go for almost any success.

The five chosen barangays turned out to be very different in terms of ability to accomplish the project. The basic requirements in the ToR were fulfilled for all barangays, but in order to accomplish the enhanced ambitions mentioned, the management decided to focus on one barangay for the additional efforts. Since no additional funding could be received from the original source the project management decided to invest its own time and effort. Consequently, it was not possible to accomplish these efforts in all barangays.

Practically, the implementation capacity within four of the five core barangays was a bit poor and the reasons were identified as follows:

  • One barangay captain could not make the council agree on and approve the necessary resolutions and actions necessary to fulfil the barangay's commitment in the project.
    Reason for not succeeding: Political conflicts on the barangay level.

  • The management in one barangay was more focused on higher level politics and therefore the practical interest and necessary commitments were not there.
    Reason for not succeeding: No real commitment and political ambitions beyond the barangay level.

  • The management in one barangay turned out to be too weak to push through the activities needed to be an active participant in the project.
    Reason for not succeeding: Too weak political leadership on the barangay level.

  • The management in one barangay had very high levels of ambitions and comprehensive plans but the real implementation turned out to be rather poor.
    Reason for not succeeding: High ambitions and a lot of plans but weak implementation capacity on the barangay level.

This is also a Learning Experience...

However, barangay Pinagkaisahan stood out as ambitious; had the political commitment; got the council enthusiastic and onboard; provided the necessary internal (though limited) funds; and followed up the various development steps on a detailed level.

The success in barangay Pinagkaisahan can be used as a "cookbook " for others
The following "ingredients" are needed for a good result
:

  • A strong leadership.
    Without the strong and dedicated leadership no positive changes will succeed.

  • A scrupulous and frequent empowerment work among the inhabitants.
    Without the bottom-up approach and more or less solid understanding why and how the changes are needed and will brought about, there is no solid foundation stone for the positive changes.

  • Frequent feed-back to the inhabitants about the progress of the change based on the "seeing is believing" concept.
    Most of the inhabitants have heard so many times about new ideas, new project, new concepts; but the positive results are still lacking. By showing real hands-on practical positive results the inhabitants will more readily accept the ideas and change their habits.

  • If there are costs and/or efforts involved there must be a direct benefit for the inhabitant.
    This is partly the same as the previous pre-requisite, but it is even more important to show a direct, measurable, benefit for the inhabitant if there are costs involved. "What's in it for me...?"

  • Make sure a failure of the activities will create a lot of "lost face".
    This might sound harsh but is a practical way of creating a tough incentive for success.

  • Positive changes will take time.
    All changes take longer time than planned and desired. Do not expect or promise rapid positive results. Start in a small scale and expand once the foundation is solid. In many cases, e.g. when equipment is involved in the process, Murphy's Law will apply: "If anything can go wrong, it will..."

There are also some conclusions drawn from the project extension activities in barangay Pinagkaisahan.


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