The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 7 has formally inked its partnership with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at a hotel in Cebu City on Monday, October 23, 2023.

Both parties agreed that they would collaborate to pursue projects, initiatives, and activities to achieve positive outcomes in different programs, particularly in the areas of physical well-being, social well-being, and economic well-being for a period of three years.

DSWD 7 Director Shalaine Marie Lucero and RAFI Chief Operating Officer Riella Mae Christa Guioguio strike a partnership pose following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, along with the witnesses.

DSWD 7 Regional Director Shalaine Marie Lucero and RAFI Chief Operating Officer Riella Mae Christa Guioguio signed the MOU, which DSWD Assistant Regional Director Juanito Cantero, RAFI Executive Director for Physical Well-Being Miraflor Enecio, and RAFI Chief Communications, Advocacy, and Partnerships Estee Marie Plunket witnessed.

RAFI and DSWD recognize that the efficient and effective delivery of services can be made possible through strong collaboration, cooperation, and coordination among other national government agencies, non-government organizations, and other institutions and stakeholders in the region.

Under the agreement, the physical well-being area covers the development of sustainable environmental, technological, and health-related programs to benefit marginalized sectors of society. The programs include collaborative endeavors that address the need for continual improvement in such matters as food security, early childhood nutrition and education, water resources, waste science and technology, energy science and management, environmental sustainability and climate change, app development, health and wellbeing, and humanitarian disaster preparedness and response.

Whereas social well-being centers on heightening people’s awareness of and appreciation for their capabilities to contribute to society’s betterment and develop their abilities to perform their vital roles in socio-economic and political decision-making and as agents of social change, activities in this program area shall be geared towards promoting the following: human capital formation, leadership formation, responsible citizenship, Cebuano culture and heritage, and rights promotion.

Meanwhile, economic well-being aims for the empowerment of the people in the communities by capacitating them and creating socio-economic leverage and opportunities to improve their lives and their capacity to engage in productive entrepreneurial activities.

As agreed, both parties would extend professional or technical expertise, equipment and/or facilities, and human resources to specific programs or projects to be agreed upon within the scope of the MOU.

Subject to the execution of a separate agreement, RAFI shall utilize its programs on the following: biodiversity conservation and protection; early childhood education, care, and nutrition; cancer awareness and advocacy; humanitarian disaster preparedness and response; professional and student development; preservation and promotion of Cebuano culture and heritage; education development; and micro-finance services to underprivileged entrepreneurs and startups.

Both parties have the obligation to observe the following: sharing of material, human, and resources in the fulfillment of the terms of the MOU; extending professional or academic expertise, equipment, and/or facilities and human resources to specific programs or projects to be agreed upon within the effectivity of the agreement; assisting in providing professional and technical inputs and posting them through its different Information Education Communication (IEC) platforms; and creating content and videos for the general public.

They would assist in providing training and technical assistance on enterprise and organizational management; utilize its primary mandate and functions of identifying and proposing areas for convergence for integration and harmonization with the various programs of the different stakeholders; act as the custodian and resource center of knowledge products and make them accessible and available to both parties; protect the intellectual property rights of both institutions; and promptly and properly inform the other party of any changes, such as the replacement of a party’s authorized representatives, or any crucial development, to avoid or minimize disruption to the project or activities.

In her message, Director Lucero said they are immensely grateful for having RAFI as their partner, as she emphasized that they also want to expand their partners amid the huge mandate that they have. The regional director stressed that there are many poor families waiting for their service, which she said DSWD cannot do or serve alone.

“With RAFI coming into the picture, I am very certain that we will be able to somehow make a dent not only in the face of poverty, disaster, or early childhood care and development but in all other aspects to be able to address the social issues that we are facing, particularly in Region 7,” she said.

For her part, RAFI COO Guioguio expressed her gratitude to the DSWD, particularly to Director Lucero and Assistant Regional Director for Operations Juanito Cantero, for giving them the opportunity to create and magnify their impact in the community.

Amid their partnership with DSWD, she hopes that RAFI can open a lot of partnerships and programs that they can implement in different sectors.

RAFI is a non-stock, non-profit organization that prides itself on being an architect of change, elevating the dignity of man through solutions that enable people to achieve higher levels of well-being. ###

(36) Views