2nd Ten Photos to Shake the World opens today!

13 08 2012

Happy Monday morning everyone! 🙂 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!


ADB NGOC-ASSIST Click Photo Contest winners announced

4 05 2012

The ADB NGO and Civil Society Center and the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) are pleased to announce the winners of Click: Capturing Images of Inclusive Growth a photo contest launched in partnership with the ADB NGO and Civil Society Center for the 45th Annual Meeting at PICC.

Professional Category:

First Place: Joel C. Forte
Second Place: Dani Pozo
Third Place: Pansiri Pikunkaew

Amateur Category

First Place: Soni Ramesh
Second Place: Partha Pratim Saha
Third Place: Michel Lagueux

Popularity Contest:
Professional Category: Dani Pozo
Amateur Category: Mukherjee Sandipan

View the photos here.

Women’s groups open discussions on Justice and Healing for VAW victims

29 03 2012

As part of the women’s month celebration, the Justice and Healing Project Team hosted a forum-launch on its project Justice and Healing for Victim-survivors of Gender-based Violence on March 28, 2012 at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City.

The forum aims to engage various groups – the police, barangay officials, and women’s rights advocates in a discussion to address violence against women (VAW) and the long journey in seeking justice and healing.

The program also served as the launch some of its project publications: “Springboards for Women’s Journeys Toward Justice and Healing: A Baseline Report” on the experiences of survivors and service providers including lawyers, prosecutors and judges with VAW laws, conducted by Women’s Crisis Center (WCC) and Women’s Legal Education, Advocacy and Defense Foundation, Inc. (WomenLEAD); “Compendium of Laws and Rules on VAW Litigation” compiled by WomenLEAD for the Paralegal Skills Training in VAW Litigation for Community Service Providers, and; Justice and Healing Legal Monograph — the first of three legal monographs on gender controversial aspects identified by WomenLEAD that need to be addressed.

The event gathered leading advocates against gender-based violence, namely Olivia Tripon of Women’s Feature Service (WFS), Atty. Claire Luczon of Women LEAD, Theresa Balayon of WCC. A response was given by Winnie Penaredondo, a VAW survivor/advocate .

The Justice and Healing project seeks to strengthen the components of the justice system to deliver rights-based and gender-sensitive services using the Justice and Healing perspective with respect to the VAW cases.

Funded by the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the project is implemented by WFS, WCC, WomenLEAD, and the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST).#

ASSIST joins ADB Social Enterprise Forum

16 03 2012

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) is glad to have joined the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Social Enterprise Forum held last February 28, 2012 at the ADB Headquarters, along with representatives of social enterprises, impact investors, NGOs, corporate foundations, development agencies, and the Philippine government.



The forum served as a venue for 1) sharing insights on the regional and Philippine social enterprise landscapes, 2) showcasing examples of promising social enterprise models with prospects for growth and replication, 3) identifying possible resources for social enterprises seeking to scale up their activities, and 4) providing a platform for Philippines social enterprises to connect with domestic and international impact investors.

The day-long affair began with Bart Édes, ADB Director for Poverty Reduction, Gender and Social Development Division welcoming the participants. Harvey Keh, the Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship of the Ateneo School of Governance then spoke on the State of Social Enterprises in the Philippines.

This was followed by four sessions led by esteemed panelists: Characteristics of a Successful Social Enterprise, How to Scale Up a Good Idea: Replication and Expansion, How Emerging Social Enterprises can Attract Capital and Nurturing the Philippine Social Enterprise Ecosystem.

ASSIST was represented by Managing Director Sreeni Narayanan and Group Associate Mahnaz Zanganeh. #

News Commentary: From Durban to Cagayan de Oro: the Climate Change Tragedy

29 12 2011

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST)

News Commentary by Sheena Carmel D. Opulencia

The United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted in 1992 made one specific provision which recognized that “all countries, especially developing countries, need access to resources required to achieve sustainable social and economic development and that, in order for developing countries to progress towards that goal, their energy consumption will need to grow taking into account the possibilities for achieving greater energy efficiency and for controlling greenhouse gas emissions in general, including through the application of new technologies on terms which make such an application economically and socially beneficial” (UNFCCC, 2007).

Almost 20 years after, in Durban, South Africa, global leaders, policymakers, civil society representatives, and climate change experts convened for the UN Climate Change Conference from November 28 to December 9, 2011.

The ultimate decision-making body is the Conference of Parties (COP), allowing for the adoption of COP decisions and resolutions for the practical and effective implementation of the Convention. Major decisions adopted focused on the establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, Launching of the Green Climate Fund, modalities and procedures of the Technology Executive Committee, and national adaptation plans (UNFCCC, 2011).

Prior to the Conference, the Philippine government has approved and submitted to the UN a National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) which sought to set priorities such as water governance, improvement of fish yield and administrative changes in the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), and other climate change adaptation practices (Poblete, 2011). These priorities will allow the national government in preparing proposals to the Green Climate Fund over and above the Adaptation Fund.

IBON Foundation (2011) released an assessment of the Durban climate change conference, and claimed that the Durban Package “amounts to more heavy lifting for the South, less obligations for the North, and little help for the poor”.

First, the conference has become a mere “platform” for the delegates to present their national statements and not to come up with clear, long term decisions and accountability rules and measures (Black, 2011). Second, the launching of the Green Climate Fund has only increased individual initiatives of each country to develop short term solutions to climate change, undermining possibilities of collaboration with neighbor countries in eliminating climate change risks and not merely working on adaptation. Lastly, the deal for the United States of America (USA), People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India to cut back on their carbon emissions is considered passé and a dramatic way of ending the summit.

More than the political will of global leaders especially from developed countries in claiming accountability to the effects of climate change, the call for urgency and drastic strategies to reduce the risks of climate change was considered “jaundiced” in the proceedings (Black, 2011). Furthermore, the withdrawal of Canada from the Kyoto Protocol[1] implicates how most developed countries have failed to comply with the protocol agreements, and have not been able to address its effectiveness and relevance in the 21st century (The Guardian, 2011). “Canada, Japan and Russia said last year that they will not accept new Kyoto commitments.”

The end of the Durban Conference seemed more tragic than what it was meaning to generate from the 195 countries which participated in the conference. As Rahman (2011) stated, the Kyoto protocol itself has been much debated especially in terms of each country cutting back carbon emissions by 5% in 1997, and other countries have addressed their reluctance to comply by 2012. Second argument that he raised was that carbon emissions of other countries cannot be reduced as long as rich countries such as the member states of the European Union and China will not take the first move to commit to deeper cuts in the emissions. Lastly, monetary contributions from past agreements were not properly managed (Rahman, 2011).

The tragedy that was in Durban was also experienced in the Philippines. Over a thousand deaths in Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and other nearby areas in the Mindanao region, in what is a clear result of the lack of empathy from developed countries for poor nations such as the Philippines who are facing the onslaught of climate change. Even with efforts to come up with good strategies and plans of action to mitigate the effects of climate change, a developing nation such as the Philippines with almost 100 million inhabitants can only do so much. Apart from governance issues, national government agencies are attributing the effects of this disaster to climate change.

A “Yes” to cutting back carbon emissions and advancing accountability among rich countries could have saved innocent people not just from the Philippines but from other developing nations witnessing immense rainfall and flooding. Indeed, our present vulnerability is a direct result of the inaction and apathy of national leaders from before. #


Black, R. (2011). Durban: Winners and losers. BBC News. Retrieved from BBC on December 22, 2011 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16131111

IBON Foundation. (2011). The Durban Package: escape hatches, empty shells, and a death notice to equity. Retrieved from Climate Justice Now! on December 21, 2011 at http://www.climate-justice-now.org/the-durban-package-escape-hatches-empty-shells-and-a-death-notice-to-equity/

Poblete, J.P. (2011). Climate change action plan approved. Business World Online. Retrieved on December 20, 2011 from http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=Climate-change-action-plan-approved&id=42076

Rahman, A. (2011). Durban conference: Most successful failure! Retrieved from the Daily Star on December 21, 2011 at http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=213565

The Guardian. (2011). Russia supports Canada’s withdrawal from Kyoto Protocol. Retrieved from The Guardian on December 21, 2011 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/16/russia-canada-kyoto-protocol

United Nations. (2007). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved from the UNFCCC on December 14, 2011 http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf

____________. 2011. Decisions adopted by COP 17 and CMP 17.

[1]The Kyoto Protocol is an international climate agreement adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan to cut carbon emissions contributing to global warming.

photo from PinoyTeens.net

ASSIST hosts research team from Hand in Hand Micro Finance

23 12 2011

ASSIST is proud to have hosted the visit of Hand in Hand India’s team who sought to conduct a scoping research of the micro-finance situation in the Philippines last December 19 to 23, 2011.

Together with partner Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia Pacific (ADFIAP), ASSIST facilitated the research schedule of the team, to meet with leading microfinance and small enterprise organizations in the country: the Grameen Foundation, Small Business Corporation, People’s Credit and Finance Corporation, University of the Philippines Institute of Small Scale Industries and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Inclusive Finance Advocacy.

The team includes Managing Director Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy, and Directors Jeyaseelan N., and Srinivas Krishnaswamy.

Hand-in-Hand is an Indian public charitable trust founded in 1988 in Kancheepuram District in Tamil Nadu.

It undertakes partnership networks, education, and CSR initiatives and extends consultancy and hand-holding services for smaller NGOs / MFIs across the country. #

NEWS COMMENTARY: Philippine Media Innovations: Programming Towards Informed Citizenry

13 12 2011

Representatives of media establishments, top businesses and advertising groups, and students in the country convened last November 16 to 19 for the biennial Philippine Ad Congress (PAC). This year, its theme was “Changing the Game,” pointing to the evolution of media in the digital age (Escandor Jr., 2011).

At the congress, ABS-CBN President Eugenio Lopez III said  that the oldest and [biggest] media outfit will still concentrate on improving their television programs, while boosting investments on technology that will scale up their delivery of public service (Sunio-Granali, 2011).

He was joined by the top executives of rival networks TV5 and GMA 7, whose CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon, said that the television is still the “medium to beat.” He believes that Filipinos will still turn to the television for entertainment for many years to come, and that the battle will go from simple content to high quality content (Sunio-Granali, 2011).

For TV5’s Manny Pangilinan, technology has completely altered the way people consume media products. He said that TV5 will strive to become the number one provider of digital content to the Filipino people (Sunio-Granali, 2011).


PAC is a celebration of the Philippine free media and the creativity of the minds behind it. But aside from visions of the future, the PAC also discussed serious topics on advertising, among them the performance-based payment, as raised by Zenith Optimedia’s CEO Venus Navalta. In this scheme now used by TV5, one determines a reasonable fixed price for each rating point that a program gets.

It provides media buyers (companies placing ads on television and on other forms of media) the option to purchase ad spots in programs with the same number of viewers as others but which has lower ratings and lower production costs. This way, they can still reach the same audience for a smaller price. This spells value-for-money for media buyers and some form of regulation for media sellers.

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas sets a minimum of 18 commercial minutes per program hour. However, Reyes notes that while networks try to follow this rule, demand for ad spots in high-rating television shows often prevails. If implemented by all networks, Reyes argues that this could keep other good programs on air, by having enough commercial loads (Reyes 2011). The advertising industry (in broadcast and print media) is valued at 226 billion pesos annually as of 2010 (Reyes. Jr., 2011).

This development tells us that, as TV host Boy Abunda concludes in his master’s thesis and shares in his program Bottomline, “The kind of media that we have reflects the kind of public that we have.” In large part indeed, media groups simply respond to the needs and wants of their audience.

But it also makes us realize that innovation in the business of media buying and selling can help improve the quality of the programs that we have on television.

If the performance-based payment scheme will be start of a string of innovations for the advertising industry, then the media can greatly improve towards being more responsive to the need of their audience. They can focus on creating content that will promote critical thinking instead of just giving the public the same kind of shows over and over again simply because they need not always succumb to the sponsors’ preferences.

Especially during primetime which gathers the viewers more and is marked by greater news and current affairs content, innovation in advertising can allow the networks to support more educational programs.

Works cited

Escandor Jr., Juan. The Philippine Daily Inquirer. November 19, 2011. http://entertainment.inquirer.net/21405/ad-congress-told-tvs-big-3-not-a-crowd (accessed November 24, 2011).

Reyes, Resti Jr. The Lobbyist/Mind Wars. November 20, 2011. http://www.thelobbyist.biz/perspectives/mind-wars/1245-ad-congress-postscript- (accessed December 08, 2011).

Reyes. Jr., Resti. The Lobbyist. May 10, 2011. http://www.thelobbyist.biz/perspectives/mind-wars/749-the-advertising-industry-how-much-money-are-we-talking-about (accessed November 24, 2011).

Sunio-Granali, Demai G. Philippine Entertainment Portal. November 21, 2011. http://www.pep.ph/news/32006/abs-cbn39s-eugenio-lopez-iii-for-me-and-for-the-people-at-our-network-working-at-abs-cbn-is-not-a-job-it-is-a-calling/1/1 (accessed November 24, 2011).

—. Philippine Entertainment Portal. November 19, 2011. http://www.pep.ph/news/31987/Manny-Pangilinan-sees-TV5-at-the-helm-of-digital-media-revolution-in-the-Philippines (accessed November 24, 2011).

—. Philippine Entertainment Portal. November 21, 2011. http://www.pep.ph/news/32005/gma-739s-atty-felipe-gozon-says-as-far-as-we-are-concerned-we-are-number-one (accessed November 24, 2011).