Community Building in a Time of Social Distancing

Posted under bayan on May 04, 2020
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How were your organizations affected by the global health crisis? Our panel answered this and more. After discussing their current situations, they provided their solutions and policies in detail.

ROOTS Collective, located in Katipunan Avenue, was badly hit by the ECQ.  No classes, no students, no noise therefore no business in the area, which is considered as a college town. There were layoffs and uncertainties. Now, in order to catch up, there is a shift to digital. There needs to be a creation of new products and a study of the emerging new market. A message of hope is to be made and implemented. Leaders are needed more than ever.

Mr. John Francia from SEARCH Foundation and Woven PH talks about the communities that they work with in Samar, Basilan and Benguet. After seeing the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan, he believes in design and innovation for all communities. This is Woven’s main principle.

During the discussion, there is an observation that urban life was more affected than rural life. Cosmopolitan city dwellers are not used to farmwork after all. The city goes hungry without aid from the provinces.

Mr. JT Solis, co-founder of MAYANI, an agri-tech start up, talks about working with local farmers. The goal is to organize and mobilize them, cut out the middlemen and empower them to speak out, earn more, communicate with the customers and eventually improve their lives.

To address the crisis, all organizations communicated with their staff, gave them opportunities to learn or switched to new kinds of production in order to adapt.

Ms. Rei Tugade from Balai Kamay talks about her organization, a furniture company which maximizes recyclable materials. Balai Kamay works with carpenters, designers and customers. The community thrives because of purpose and principles. The community is home and the people within it are the pillars. Christ is at the center for the organization.

These entrepreneurs have one thing in common: principles. Always start with a why. Why would you choose to choose a certain decision? Accountability and transparency go a long way in community building, In this, there is a very important lesson: Never give empty promises. That is unbecoming of a leader. Leadership demands accountability, transparency and willingness to do more, go further and sacrifice if necessary.

Another principle is that of malasakit. Find ways within the community to help. Take note of resources. Assess the capability of each member. After doing all this, communicate.

Technology is very helpful. Leaders can call their people, ask how they are. Viber and Messenger are also very helpful platforms. Communication is journeying with your team, your customers and your fellowmen. That is leadership.

We are not in this alone. That is the core essence of community, journeying, recovering and thriving together. This is both a ‘high-tech and high-touch’, community-based world. There is no turning back.

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