Active Citizens Global 10th Year Anniversary

Active Citizens Global 10th Year Anniversary

by Ms. Angel Flores, Head Society and Social Enterprise Lead, East Asia, AC-London 2015

Angel Flores shared about the Active Citizens Global Movement and the development of Active Citizens Philippines. She speaks in detail about how the pioneering batch came to grow and become this growing and empowered local network of social enterprises across the whole country. 
It has been a journey of 3 years of building the Active Citizens network in the Philippines. When we started, we were really just imaging how to create a new movement of not just Active Citizens who want to make solutions in their communities but to create sustainable solutions. Social enterprises are sustainable models for development. A lot has happened over those 4 years and we have discovered very diverse stories. But at the end of today, what binds all of us together is the common desire to change whatever concerns us in our community"

Leaders for Social Impact 
by Ms. Marge Defensor, Active Citizen Master Facilitator AC-London 2015

Marge Defensor shared about her work with different social enterprises through Active Citizens. She affirms the big difference that Active Citizens in the Philippines are doing because of their engagement and the strong network that was built and is still growing through the years.
“Looking back in 2015, we were just starting out, discussing and thinking how we can pull the best of the best back home. As we covered all the major islands: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, we’re very proud to have produced social impact leaders across the country. To commemorate the 10th Year Global Anniversary, the national forum has brought together representatives from different regions sharing stories of empowered communities. Being part of this global network is not just an affirmation of the many talents of Filipinos, it is an affirmation that if we work together, we set ripples in creating positive social change.”

CSO SEED Active Citizens Journey
by Ms. Maritess Puspus, Active Citizen Master Facilitator AC-Vietnam 2017

Maritess Puspus sahred about the CSO-SEED Inception Workshop and the various nine cascades that she has worked with, especially in the BARMM. She also talks about their journey with Active Citizens for the past few years.
“CSO-SEED is more on the program for BARRM. It is different from the other islands because of the structure of Mindanao, our work mostly happens offline. When we talk about our community, it is easy to map out our area. But when we look together at our community, we are looking at it from different perspectives again. It is important that when we do community work, we build an inclusive community. If we do that, we allow wonderful visions of our community to be realized.”

Painting Walls to Break Walls by Alima Community Founders of Alima Community Marrz Capanang and Kristine Buenavista talk about their project in partnership with Bristish Council called Artivism. They discuss how their art has developed into a movement brand and social enterprise made to empower the local community through art. They also did on-site mural painting with the National Forum participants and a poem was also performed.
(Marrz photo)

This poem performed by Kristine Buenavista of Alima Community titled “Philippine Eagle” which represents the journey of Active Citizens Philippines (written and performed by Kristine Buenavista)

You are the Philippine eagle:
strong, resilient, rare, loyal.
You are the Philippine eagle,
your wings are not only intricately made of feathers,
but of the expanse and breadth of your vision.
Your flight signifies thriving:
seed to flowers; pod to fruits.
You carry life in your bill,
and spread it across the ocean
in this rich, vast, exotic, golden
and beautiful archipelago.
I am the Philippine eagle.
I will watch you soar.
I will watch you glide.
I will watch you soar amidst storms.
And wars.
And in the night, as I fold my wings
I will pray for you
in a dark, beautiful patch of the forest.
Where maps could not find.
Where loggers and deforesters
could not even imagine.”

by Ms. Cherame Lopez and Mr. Cris Vinzon
Weaving Dreams is a series of activities made into an interactive session designed by Cherame Lopez and Cris Vinzon. The point of the session is to engage the Active Citizens’ participants in creative means like drawing or through meditation and reflection to properly interrogate abstract concepts like mission, vision, and dreams. This session is mostly inspired from the speakers’ joint efforts in interacting with children and engaging them in similar activities.

by Ms. Elizabeth Laurico and Ms. “Wen”
Being a timely social issue in the Philippines, especially with the rising prominent of gender issues, the talk is designed to properly dialogue and discuss gender issues in the Philippines such as stereotyping and discrimination. It also adds to the social component of peacebuilding and the facilitators talk about their experiences (mostly in Balay Mindanaw) about how the peace dialogue also involves these gender issues.

“Basically, the session was about respect. We need respect for each other, the sexes, the differences in the sexes. In peace building, the Filipino culture is one level up already. This is because most of our Social Enterprises have women as beneficiaries. For years, it has been common that women just want equal pay, opportunities, and other rights. It is changing now but also at a very slow pace.”


by Mr. Richard Rejas
Richard Rejas talks about the journey of Active Citizens Philippines in Mindanao, his journey as a Master Facilitator, and some pointers from his experience in social enterprises in Balay Mindanaw. The point of his talk was to inspire the participants to keep on doing what they are doing as Active Citizens even during trying times, especially for those in Mindanao with the ongoing transition to become BARRM.

 “For me, a Social Enterprise is the best non-violent Extremism. It is beyond the normal. Because when you think about it, you are doing business but at the same time, you are maximizing social impact and development for your chosen community. I think we have to remember to ask ourselves: how big is my/your/our smile? Our Social Enterprise should be based in our smile (or smiles): Social Impact, Mission based, Interest/passion, Leadership, Economic/Earning, and Sustainability.”

by Ms. Dhang Tecson
Dhang Tecson talks about the way Luzon Active Citizens were able to encourage one another through meeting and openly communicating. She also talked about her own experience though her own SE, Balangay’s Best and how her AC Luzon was able to uplift her during this difficult time.

“I think what is the best about Active Citizens is the Diversity of the things that we are and that we didn’t become successful in one snap. We worked hard together to empower ourselves and our communities though our social enterprises. If you were to ask me the question: “What is a social entrepreneur?” I would say it is someone that is “grit-ful”. Someone who is filled with grit or determination. We never give up. This is what it means to be an Active Citizen”.

by Ms. Chareme Lopez, Mr. Cris Vinzon, and Ms. Girlie Flores
The Active Citizens Visayas team talks about how they communicate in spite of the difficulty to travel to each ones’ community. They talk about their inspiring way to have coffee or eat together to discuss their social enterprises. After the brief summary, Ms. Girlie talked about her journey as an AC Visayas through her SE, Atelier de Hablon. 

“We have a total of 27 Active Citizens in Visayas and we are growing. What I appreciate most of all about our journey together is our ability to connect. One of our formulas in AC Visayas is ‘Food or Coffee = good conversation = collaboration = active citizen friendship!’ It’s that simple. We don’t even meet after the vent. What we are saying is this: if it’s possible with us, it’s possible with you guys. And we don’t compete with one another.”

This session is all about the importance of bringing together what is readily available for social enterprises to reach opportune markets and customers. There was a workshop about market opportunity, looking into the attractiveness map, and initiating the target dashboard. There was a workshop on this for the participants to identify real targets for their enterprises. The other speakers also talked about their journeys and how they were able to use their resources to reach a wide market and maximize opportunities.

by Mr. Saidamen Mambayao
Given the many unpredictability of a social enterprise and challenges for a social entrepreneur, especially in the Philippines, Mr. Saidamen Mambayao talks about shifting perspectives and strategies to engage communities tailored after the framework of an Active Citizen in the Philippines. He also talks about his experience in context to his enterprise and work in the BARRM. This session had dialogues throughout the activity.

“I hope that we can make this part of the program more conversational. Let’s all help in the reimagining because part of the challenge is not just for me but the challenge of everyone. I strive to believe in the principle of Kaisen. It is a Japanese concept of continuous improvement or change for good. There is a parallel concept here in Islam. It’s called Ihsan which means aiming for perfection or excellence. I am striving to live by these principles as I ask ‘what can be done for the Active Citizens to work in the Bangsamoro’.”

by Ms. Tess Puspus, Mr. Jim Yashier Talang Talang
As part of the closing activity, the participants were asked to pour out their frustrations or “hugot” from being an Active Citizen or a social entrepreneur. The activity was made to ease this hurt, release these frustrations or insecurities, and prepare them for their journey back to their communities. (write “witty” or “hugot line”- funny phrases) They write in on a piece of paper and put it on the white board (or inside the jar to release the hurt). As a culminating activity, the Jar of Hearts was followed by a community prayer where the participants joined in to pray for their journey together.