To ground and strengthen partnerships among members of the coalition for abaca rehabilitation, the WorldFish facilitated a Scenario Building Workshop on February 4-6, 2015 at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel, Cebu City.   The activity aimed to: 1) review and assess the current stage of team development, 2) identify future vision and clear short term goals, 3) make action plans for the coalition, and 4) identify roles and responsibilities of each coalition member.

The gathering was participated in by the members of the coalition, as follows: WorldFish; DOST-PCAARRD; DOST-8; PhilFIDA; PhilFIDA-8; DA-BAR; DA-EVIARC; IPB-UP Los Baños; NARC/DDC-Visayas State University; Southern Leyte State University; Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Eastern Visayas; Philippine Federation of Rural Broadcasters; DYDC-FM; Cebu Gifts, Toys & Housewares Foundation, Inc.; Municipal government of Sogod; Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Southern Leyte; and abaca farmers of Barangays Maac and Mahayahay in Sogod, So. Leyte.

The first day of the workshop focused on describing scenarios for the abaca rehab coalition. It started with a short opening program wherein the WorldFish consultant, Dr. Gita Modgil, talked about the five factors of effective partnerships.  These are: 1) commitment to time and resource people with right competencies; 2) engagement in different approaches and on taking risks without completing due diligence; 3) sustainability on building trust with each other and agreeing on a shared agenda and processes, mutual benefit, mutual learning, and adequate funding among its coalition members; 4) evolution on continually exploring opportunities and connecting research and development; and 5) emerging outcomes with deeper partnerships in rehabilitating the abaca industry in Southern Leyte.

Meanwhile, the WorldFish Regional Director for Asia, Dr. Maripaz L. Perez, presented the VisMin Hub in the AAS program, abaca initiative timeline, and the objectives of the workshop. Then, the workshop proper followed with Mr. Paul Joseph B. Ramirez of WorldFish as the main facilitator.

A total of 31 participants including the secretariat learned on the 12 steps in building scenarios. They brainstormed and agreed on a shared vision of having a successful coalition and in identifying key drivers for the success or failure of the envisioned coalition by four groupings—academe, private sector, national government agencies, and the LGUs. The participants came up with four scenarios, namely: Expressway, Rough Road, Traffic Jam, and Buried Road.  The session ended with an educational tour to the One Town, One Product (OTOP) showroom in Cordova, Cebu which is managed by Dr. Venus C. Genson, the president of Cebu Gifts, Toys & Housewares Foundation, Inc.

The second and third day of the workshop had the participants’ team assessment and consensus on prioritizing team actions by tasking and identifying team members’ roles in the abaca rehab coalition with the Productivity Initiative Leader and Country Communications Officer of WorldFish, Dr. Lily Ann D. Lando, as the main facilitator.

The three-day workshop posed a challenge to each coalition member to really work hand-in-hand to realize their goal of helping the farmers improved their plight in abaca in Sogod, So. Leyte. It can be recalled that five months prior to the scenario building workshop, a stakeholders’ consultative workshop for the development of an integrated plan of work for abaca rehabilitation was held on September 24-26, 2014 in Midas Hotel, Roxas Boulevard in Manila. Christina A. Gabrillo/DDC