Twenty-two delegates came to attend the annual capability building activity of DISOP Philippines partners focusing on Succession Development for NGOs. The training was an answer to the cited needs of the partners in a needs assessment conducted in 2013. The need for a Successor Generation (SuccGen) Training was prioritized in order to:
- arrest the declining trend of devoted social development workers, and
- revive interest in community work to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable development.
The over-all objective of the training is for the partners to come up with a transition SuccGen Plan. This plan will eventually pave the way for partners to craft a full-blown SuccGen Plan to be implemented by the respective organizations. Besides, the partners were required to draw an organizational timeline where they recalled significant events that showed the success points, challenges and issues they faced over the years of their existence. Further, they were made to anticipate the facilitating and hindering factors in implementing their SuccGen Plan. They were also made to do an internal assessment of their organization and identify their own strengths and weaknesses and recommendations that would enable them to undertake an effective and successful SuccGen Program.
For the partners to have valuable and adequate inputs in creating their SuccGen Plan, esteemed development workers whose organizations have had success in implementing the program were invited as resource persons.
Participating local NGOs sent two representatives as their immediate second liners. Except for SPPI that was founded in 2001, the rest of the partner organizations have been existing for over two decades. The major common denominator among all these NGOs was that all went through a rise and fall over the years of their existence. Generally, their successes were attributed to capable leadership or management, access to external funds, and committed staff members. On the other hand, their challenges included the lack of business acumen (for NGOs who opted to become more enterprising as a sustainability mechanism), the lack of innovation, limited funds and frequent changes in leadership. The partners expressed the need for continuing staff development and the capacity to manage organizational shifts that threaten their sustainability.
The resource persons were generous in sharing their experiences, best practices and learnings to enlighten the participants on what to expect when they do decide to embark on a SuccGen Program. Ms. Baugbog tackled the topics Human Resource Development and Succession Development, Mr. Comeros discussed the Managerial and Leadership Development in Civil Society. Mr. Conrado Brigoli gave a background on DISOP Philippines and its development framework.
Insightful recommendations from the resource persons were appreciated by the partners. Most significantly, they were advised that they should not be limited by perceived lack of resources to pursue SuccGen. They were encouraged to exercise volunteerism and encouraging the youth to take part and be involved in social development. There is a need to develop the skills of current program heads and tap pioneers who want to give back to share their own. Although SuccGen does mean money, but time will cost more. For now, they have to identify resources and capacities within their own organization and innovate such that these opportunities are maximized.
For most of the partners, the most practical way of surviving is to be lean and mean. It is up to them to look for resources that correspond to their mission to improve the quality of life of the communities they serve. Their richness, and the meaning of their existence, can be found in these communities. Accordingly, their organizations should not be about numbers or size. It should be about programs and services. It is a matter of appropriateness and extending the quality of service that their stakeholders deserve.
Successor generation may not be for all of them, and they have to consider various models before they can decide whether they must pursue it or not. There are options for movement-building; the strictly organizational, where they look into both internal and external but without clearly identifying the external partners, and the purposive, where they are both internal and external-driven, and at the same time, the external partners’ criteria are clear and aligned with the organization’s purpose, programs and services.
In conclusion, the partners identified the next steps that will allow them to assess more thoroughly whether they intend to pursue SuccGen. It was recommended that they revisit strategic directions by examining their stakeholders, objectives and plans and take inventory of existing movements around them and reflect on possibilities to be part of these movements.