The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the German Development Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation) is co-hosting the South-South Knowledge Collaboration on Designing and Implementing Social Protection Programs for Employment, an international workshop that brings together program and policy representatives from around 20 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America for an exchange of strategies and perspectives on sustainable livelihood and social protection.

“The Philippines, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, is honored to co-host the South-South Knowledge Collaboration Event. It is indeed an opportune time for all of us to come together and discuss how we could all move forward to bring about significant and lasting improvements in each of our countries through social protection programs,” DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said in a speech delivered by Undersecretary for Operations and Promotive Programs Malou Turalde-Jarabe during the workshop’s opening session held at Novotel Manila Araneta Center yesterday. The four-day event will run until May 12.

The main objective of the workshop is for the delegates to learn from practical experiences on what works and what does not when it comes to social protection programs for employment by exploring examples from different countries.

“With each of us implementing programs in the context of our respective countries, we look forward to an exchange of strategies and perspectives on improving our delivery of services, as entrusted to us. Let us look at how we can not only work for our countrymen, but work with them,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.

The knowledge collaboration, which is organized by the Philippine, German, and Australian governments, includes group discussions, plenary sessions, and presentation of case studies of different countries, including Bangladesh, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, India, South Africa based on the four identified clusters.

These clusters include linking social protection programs to employment through graduation and sustainable livelihood approaches; linking social protection programs to employment through inter-sectoral approaches; addressing youth unemployment and under-employment; and, building temporary labor demand through public works.

The event also takes a closer look at the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Philippines under the DSWD.

SLP Director Amada Pornaras briefed the delegates on how the Department implements its livelihood programs to enhance the capabilities of poor Filipino families and individuals by strengthening their skills, competencies, abilities and resources in accessing income-generating opportunities. In line with this, the delegates visited today some of the sustainable livelihood program beneficiaries of the Department.

An important reminder

During the opening session, Sec. Taguiwalo reminded the delegates on the importance of working not only for, but with the people and the reasons ‘why we do what we do.’

“Let this week be rooted on the very reason for which social protection programs are put in place. Let us be reminded of why we do what we do. At this juncture, allow me to give a pledge of assurance to our partners, beneficiaries, and even our staff and employees who work with both,” she said.

Sec. Taguiwalo went on by enumerating the reasons why collective efforts in providing social protection programs and services are significant.

“Our collective efforts when it comes to the provision of programs and services continue to be important because in many aspects, we seek to promote individual and family well-being; weave a stronger social fabric; and slowly but surely build the foundation for a just society where there is no exclusion and marginalization even as it we all create a sense of belonging for the poor and those in need,” she added.

In closing, the Secretary emphasized the importance of implementing programs efficiently and with compassion.

“There is no doubt that we all want the same things for our clients – better health and improved well-being, increased financial security, and more stable means of livelihood and income. Within our agencies and organizations, we do what we can to achieve these for as many people as we can by implementing our programs efficiently and with compassion.

“At the same time, we should not stop learning and setting new goals, improving our systems and processes, and assessing our mistakes and errors with the intent to correct them so we can serve our clients and beneficiaries better. We should always make use of all opportunities to improve our social and human services to reach more people; increase the greater impact of the same on their way of life; hasten the development of more promotive and protective programs; and, secure help for more individuals and communities in our country,” Sec. Taguiwalo ended. ###