PRO-FIT initiative holds Training of Trainers

30 08 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) initiative PRO-FIT (Promoting Food Industry Competitiveness Training Program) conducted a training of trainers last July 30 to August 24, 2012 at the University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries in Quezon City.

Co-financed by Sequa and BMZ, PRO-FIT is implemented by ASSIST, AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation (AFOS), TUV Rheinland and UP Institute for Small Scale Industries (UP ISSI) that will run for 2 years. It aims to train practitioners on a variety of qualification options on food safety and sanitation practices at the UP ISSI.

Covered in the ToT are five qualification courses: Certified Quality Associate, Basics of Food Safety & Hygiene, Certification Programme on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Certified Food Safety Professional, and Diploma in Food Safety Management.

The training was led by speakers Engr. Leoncio T. Cubillas, Jr. (Chairperson, TEEDD, UP ISSI), Prof. Nestor O. Raneses (Director, UP ISSI), and Mr. Israel S. Baleta (Program Manager, HAVI Logistics Philippines, Inc.).

Meanwhile, the Project Team was represented by Tristan Loveres (Chief Operating Officer, TUVR), Pinky Zamora-Villacrusis (Sales and Marketing Manager, TUVR), Alexander Go (Business Development Officer, TUVR), and Miriam Ruth Yap-Gabon (Group Associate, ASSIST).

Said qualification courses will be taught in UP ISSI for a pilot run. All participants will receive certificates or diplomas upon successful completion of the courses.#

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SAFE Cambodia ends with a Best Practice Forum

24 08 2012

The Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia (SAFE Cambodia)  initiative culminated with a Best Practice Forum held August 3, 2012 in Phnom Penh.

SAFE Cambodia is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative implemented by Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) along with TUV Rheinland and DEG. It seeks to instill mass awareness on international food safety and cleanliness standards amongst local SMEs operating in the agriculture and fishery industry. The target SMEs were introduced to the international supply chain model, the expectations of international buyers and the importance of improving the safety, hygiene and resource efficiency practices to protect the health of the local community and boost exports of agriculture and fishery products.

Through the forum, the Project Team hoped to gather lessons learned by pilot factories during the in-house technical assistance phase of the initiative.

TUV Rheinland Cambodia CEO Alexandra Herbel welcomed the participants, while ASSIST Project Manager Vy Truong presented a Project Overview and a quick report on the deliverables. Then, Yea Bunna of the National Productivity Center of Cambodia discussed the current situation of food safety in the country, and the challenges it faces in implementing the standards. Three best-performing pilot companies were also selected to share their experiences: The Fair Manufacturing Company (FMC), Men Sarun and Phnom Meas Association.

Finally, Project Consultant Odette Mangaban facilitated the open discussion among SMEs and provided advice on the implementation of food safety standards, especially how to keep the good practices after the project completion. In the afternoon, the Project Team arranged a tour for all participants to witness the FMC and Men Sarun on-site improvements in their factories, taking into account the project recommendations.

Thirty (30) SMEs from the food industry were represented in the event.#





2nd Ten Photos to Shake the World opens today!

13 08 2012

Happy Monday morning everyone! ūüôā We are accepting entries to the 2nd Ten Photos to Shake the World National Photo Competition starting today until September 13, 2012. This year’s theme is: Challenges and Triumphs in the Pursuit of Sustainable Development. Visit and ‘like’ the TPSW Page to know more!





SAFE Cambodia conducts Gap Analysis of pilot companies

17 01 2012

The SAFE Cambodia Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia initiative conducted a Gap Analysis among nine pilot companies in Phnom Penh, Kompong Thom and Battambang last Dec. 12 to 17, 2011.

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of TUV Rheinland and  Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), it seeks to instill mass awareness on international food safety and cleanliness standards amongst local SMEs operating in the agriculture and fishery industry.

For the Gap Analysis, project partners TUV Rheinland and ASSIST assessed the companies’ capacity in implementing the international standards Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Food Safety Management System (FSMS)/ ISO 22000).

Following this activity, Project Consultant Ma. Lourdes Mangaban will develop the action plan for the companies to ensure compliance of their documentation and records to requirementsof GMP and HACCP.

The action plan will outline the steps to take, to prepare the participating companies for the rigorous certification process.

Pilot companies include caterers, water bottlers, and farm produce distributors.#





PRO-FIT initiative opens with a multi-stakeholder forum

17 01 2012

 

Food safety practitioners gathered for the multi-stakeholder forum of PRO-FIT (Promoting Food Industry Competitiveness Training Program) last January 12, 2012 at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay.

Co-financed by Sequa and BMZ, PRO-FIT is implemented by Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation (AFOS), TUV Rheinland and UP Institute for Small Scale Industries (UP ISSI) that will run for 2 years.

It aims to train practitioners on a variety of qualification options on food safety and sanitation practices at the UP ISSI.

The vocational training courses will target Micro, Small and Medium enterprises of the country’s food products as well as beverage manufacturing sectors.

TUV Rheinland Philippines COO Tristan Loveres (COO, TUVR) welcomed the participants to the forum, while DOST XI Regional Director Dr. Anthony Sales and AGHAM Partylist Chief of Staff Dr. Florentino Tesoro discussed Food Safety Initiatives.

Meanwhile, AFOS Country Director Dr. Stephan Kunz and UP ISSI Director Prof. Nestor Raneses talked on the state of food safety in the Philippines, its challenges and opportunities. ASSIST Managing Director Sreenivas Narayanan provided a Project Overview.

Finally, TUV Rheinland’s Business Development Manager Pinky Villacrusis discussed the next steps and closed the program.

Through the event, the project implementers were able to solicit inputs from the representatives on the strengths and opportunities for harmonizing initiatives towards achieving food safety. Organizations also expressed support and offered contribution to the development of the training curricula.#





Philippines losing the battle against HIV/AIDS

2 01 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) News Commentary by Paula Bianca Lapuz

Consistent with the upward trend of the past months, with males having recorded the most number of cases, the latest government reports on HIV incidence in the Philippines raise red flags and demand greater support for prevention programs (Tubeza 2012).

photo from talakayanatkalusugan.com

 

According to the Department of Health, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) cases in the Philippines have surged by as much as 90% between November 2010 and November 2011. Majority of inflicted individuals acquired the virus through sexual contact (MSM/Men having Sex with Men) and sharing of needles. Mother-to-child transmission rates remain to be negligible (Tubeza 2012).

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS or UNAIDS has noted that while elsewhere HIV/AIDS growth rates have declined, the Philippines and Bangladesh have posted at least 25% increase from 2001 to 2009 (UNAIDS 2011). This is why, UNAIDS Manila Head Teresita Marie Bagasao pressed the government for immediate and decisive actions to address the further spread of the disease, blaming severe underfunding for the unabated growth.[1]

The Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry under the Department of Health (DOH) National Epidemiology Center reports that from 1984 to 2011[2] there have been 940 AIDS cases, 682 of which were males (Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry 2011).

DOH runs an HIV/STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) Prevention program which aims to empower communities and individuals through proper sanitary education and adequate health care services. However, this has obviously fallen short of its targets.

What went wrong?

Sectors

The government has evidently failed in assessing the gravity of the situation among homosexuals and drug users as HIV transmission among these groups become more rampant than among female sex workers (Macaraig 2011). Focus on prostituted women encouraged social workers and advocates to find ways to introduce ‚Äúinnovative practices‚ÄĚ in sex work which later proved helpful in radically decreasing possible new infections in Angeles City, Pampanga (ABS-CBN News 2011).

Budget

The budget for the prevention program is meager. Bagasao mentioned that almost 80% of the funds came from different multilateral agencies. DOH notes that it can only make ends meet by trying to maximize available resources ‚Äď just a little over half of the needed funds (Macaraig 2011).

Analysis

The government will most likely have to stretch the budget even more. Bagasao states that the government should decide which to prioritize: prevention or treatment? But as DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag puts it, “It is a race against time because the more cases there are; the more different kinds of financial support are needed in the long run.”

Although the proportion of individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS (7,884) is relatively small compared to the total population of the country (94 million), the fact remains that Philippines is among the few countries whose HIV rates have steadily gone up in the last two decades (Macaraig 2011).

With this in mind, there is a need to identify more mechanisms to address the worsening status of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, which is listed as part of the Millennium Development Goals. The government has to create aggressive and dynamic information-education programs that can be integrated with the high school and college curricula. This way, more people will be aware of preventive practices.

Indeed, the issue also brings to the fore the need for a reliable and effective sex education program which is part of the Reproductive Health bill pending before the congress. In particular, it will be challenging to reach drug users and homosexuals, since they have not been the target market of the past programs.

Other line agencies and local government units must scale up their efforts to contribute to the DOH initiatives as well. Truly, for the HIV/STI prevention program to succeed, the approach must be holistic, strategic, and pro-active.#

 

Works cited:

ABS-CBN News. ABS-CBN Lifestyle. January 23, 2011. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/01/22/11/safe-sex-101-how-put-condom-mouth (accessed January 02, 2012).

Macaraig, Mynardo. ABS-CBN Lifestyle. December 23, 2011. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/12/03/11/philippines-struggles-aids (accessed January 02, 2012).

Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry . Newly Diagnosed HIV Cases in the Philippines. Update, Department of Health , 2011.

Tubeza, Philip C. Philippine daily Inquirer/Latest Stories. January 02, 2012. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/121121/hiv-cases-rose-89-in-november%E2%80%94doh (accessed January 02, 2012).

UNAIDS. HIV in Asia and the Pacific: GETTING TO ZERO. Update, UNAIDS, 2011.

 





SAFE Cambodia TOTs tackle Hazard Analysis for Food Industry Practitioners

22 11 2011

Structured Program to Achieve Food Safety Excellence in Cambodia (SAFE Cambodia), a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of TUV Rheinland and  Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) conducted a training of trainers (TOT) for Food Industry Practitioners on October 3 to 8 in Siem Reap, and October 10 to 15 in Phnom Penh.

Focusing on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) module, the session featured an introduction to the approach, the prerequisite programs (PRPs), and the extensive discussion on the 12 logical steps to its application and implementation.

The HACCP training aimed to equip the food safety trainers with the skills at system implementation. These were reinforced through a combination of lectures as well as group discussions and workshops which covered each of the steps on hazard analysis, and the process for developing a per-product HACCP plan.

Coming from Siem Reap, Battambang, and Kompong Thom, the participants were representatives of the rice and vegetable farming, water purification, fisheries, food service sectors. #