In the Philippines, we are supporting community development
The Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP) has adopted a specific approach to development that draws upon the skills and resources of local communities.
According to Floyd Lalwet, provincial secretary of ECP, explains, it is a biblical approach to development.
He said: ‘The problem with handing out resources is that communities can become dependent on external parties, which can leave them feeling disempowered.
‘By contrast, ABCD encourages a change of attitude – from dependency to self-reliance. Rather than looking for external help every time there is a problem, people learn that they have hidden talents, strengths and resources. People say: Maybe we can do this ourselves!’
Through the ABCD training process, communities learn to identify and rely on their own strengths, skills and resources, and to seek out only those partnerships with external parties that honour this perspective.
Communities learn to identify their resources, assets and talents
Here is a typical comment from someone whose community benefited from ABCD training: ‘I came to realise that if we really utilise, maximise and share our resources, assets and talents, we could attain our mission-vision. We can do it with God’s help!’
Another comment: ‘ABCD does not only focus on financial capabilities, but also on people’s gifts, time and effort, and their willingness to share what they have with others, both within and outside the church. We can make a difference with the little we have.’
Receivers to Givers programme
The Receivers to Givers programme is an adaptation of the ABCD approach.
According to ECP, the programme aims to effect 'a significant reversal in the worldview of ECP congregations – from dependency to self-reliance and from mendicancy to enjoyment and assertion of rights – so that they can be better equipped and capacitated at doing spiritual and social transformation.'
For 2017 and 2018, the programme will be run in seven congregations/communities each year. The aim is to empower the people socially, economically and spiritually, while at the same time enabling the local churches to become more self-reliant and willing to share their blessings with others.
Having experienced the 'receiving' of these benefits, experience shows that the 'receivers' become 'givers' who are keen to help other communities undergo the same transformation.
It is also hoped that the programme will have the overall benefit of increasingly the influence and impact of the ECP as a national institution.
Lyla is a beneficiary of the Receivers to Givers programme.
She told USPG: 'My situation before was that I worked for others because I had no garden of my own.
'I worked in other people's gardens. They supplied everything I needed, and when I sold the vegetables I grew I would split the profits 50-50 with them.
'However, what I received was not enough to support my family, especially when my children started going to school.
'Then the Receivers to Givers scheme came to my community. I accepted a grant so I could rent a plot of land and buy my own tools and seeds and so on.
'This meant that when I sold the vegetables, all the profits now came to me. The income was higher than what I had previously earned, so I am so thankful.
'My business is now growing. I can rent more gardens and earn more for my family.'