|A Catalyst for Community Partnering Finding Institutional Partners Recruiting and Training Community Researchers Conducting Research with Community Members Presenting Research Findings Sustaining Partnerships||
A successful Community Partnering process does not end. The aim of an intensive partnering intervention is to establish on-going partnerships that will sustain whatever experiments with local development have begun. New born community enteprises will require continued support until they have established a secure niche in the local and regional economy. And no niche is secure for long. Competitive forces will continue to send challenges.
There are many ways of ensuring the creative initiatives of the Community Partnering porcess will be sustained. Here are some examples from our experience.
Institutionalizing Financial Support for Community Enterprises
The case of Sintesa
Sintesa has assisted fledgling community enterprise groups to access on-going finance. Building on their parallel 'Community Banking' (Lembaga Ekonomi Desa) micro-credit and savings program, Sintesa has sought to extend the arrangements of their developing network of financial cooperatives to include the new community enterprises.
Community Partner Enterprise Groups, KMUM (Kelompok Mitra Usaha Masyarakat) are encouraged to participate as financial members either within an existing Cooperative (LED) or as members in the creation of a new one.
Membership and continuing cash contributions allow participants to access financial credit based on assessments of their enterprise feasibility. Sintesa provides additional cash reserves to expand enterprise funding possibilities when the cooperatives demonstrate increasing capacity and effective credit expansion.
With this formal link the NGO partners are able to maintain continuing contact and advisory support beyond the formal end of the action research. The strategy forms part of the mutual obligations of partnership that Sintesa seeks to fulfil with local enterprise groups. At the same time the fledgling community enterprises are able to access support and advice from the wider community based economic cooperatives of which they are a formal part.
Social Enterprise Research and Development Centre
The case of the SEEDs Center in Linamon
The Social Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED) Center in Linamon Municiaplity was established by a partnership between the LGU and Unlad Kabayan Migrant Services Foundation Inc. This center is a focal point for training, production experimentation, financial planning and community outreach. It continues to support the new enterprises begun through Community Partnering.
The local government of Linamon is happy to provide access to a building for the SEEDs Center and on-going assistance with maintenance and resources. It is clearly of benefit to all residents of the LGU to have such a center of activity in the area.
But the SEEDs Center is more than a place for R&D. It has become part of the community. During recent conflicts it was able to house many displaced families as they waited for peace to resume. Part of the peace-building process will be the generation of more community based enterprises that will address poverty in the community. At the SEEDs Center people are encouraged to take the risk of becoming social entrepreneurs.
Regional Support Networks
Regional networks: the case of Jagna Community Partnering
At the conclusion of the action research project in Jagna Municipality the community enterprises continued to be supported by an new local NGO, Bohol Dev. They also started to build networks with each other so that they could help each other out with marketing and promotion. The dressmakers made the protective garments for the nata de coco producers. The porters built a new office where they could showcase local products at the port and soon the Jagna market had a special stall for local products.
Bohol Province is actively supporting its locally produced goods. Jagna community enterprises joined up with provincial organizations to get their products known.
There is an interest in setting up a regional association of local producers so that unhealthy competition between community enterprises in different localities does not occur.