CSO Academy-LEAD to Serve Course in South Cotabato holds historic graduation rites of pilot batch

Twenty scholars of the pilot batch of CSO Academy-LEAD to Serve Course in South Cotabato marched during their graduation rites on 29 November 2023 at The Farm @ Carpenter Hill, Marbel, South Cotabato after a year-long journey of the Course.

IN PHOTO: Graduates of the pilot batch in their “sablay”, together with officials of partner organizations AF, DBM Region 12, DILG Region 12, DILG South Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Mahintana Foundation.

The CSO Academy-LEAD to Serve Course in South Cotabato is an offshoot of the Leaders Empowered and Dedicated to Serve through the NGO Sector  (LEAD to Serve) Course of the Association of Foundations, which aims to address leadership issues in the NGO sector by nurturing a pool of competent and committed NGO leaders. The LEAD to Serve Course is the first course offered under the CSO Academy of SOCCSKSARGEN in partnership with the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Budget and Management (DBM) in Region 12 and Mahintana Foundation. Anchored on the Philippine NGO leadership competencies framework, the LEAD to Serve Course is complemented by the Local Governance Module delivered by DILG, DBM and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in Region 12.

The first of its kind in the Philippines, the CSO Academy of SOCCSKSARGEN aims to assist local government units in building the capacities of civil society to engage in local governance effectively and efficiently.

DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Marlo L. Iringan served as the keynote speaker during the graduation ceremonies. In his keynote message, Usec Iringan said while he has attended numerous graduation ceremonies of local officials, it was his “first time to witness a graduation of CSOs.” He called the graduates “local leaders who have the responsibility of ensuring people’s voices are heard.”

During the ceremony, Mahintana Foundation Executive Director Liza D. Hora recounted how the pilot batch had almost a year of struggle in completing requirements for the Course while juggling other work responsibilities. She then echoed South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo S. Tamayo Jr., who said in his opening message that “the graduation is just the beginning of a journey in continuing the delivery of quality basic services.”

The Course was launched in the province on 27 September 2022. An in-person session, called the Leading Self Module, was held in Lake Sebu in November 2022. The rest of the sessions for LEAD to Serve Course were held online, with 21 sessions focusing on the leadership competencies. Meanwhile, the Local Governance Module was held in-person on August 2023 at the Provincial Capitol, Koronadal City.

IN PHOTO: Mr. Jose C. Depita, Jr. of the International Care Ministries Foundation, Inc. delivering the speech on behalf of the Pertama Batch. (Photo courtesy of Provincial Government of South Cotabato Facebook Live)

In his message on behalf of the pilot batch, Mr. Jose C. Depita, Jr. of the International Care Ministries Foundation, Inc., described CSO Academy-LEAD to Serve Course in South Cotabato as a “humbling experience,” where his classmates became friends and friends became families. Through the Course, he was reminded that “leadership is an opportunity to serve our people.”

IN PHOTO: LEAD to Serve Program Manager Joji Abot-Camelon presented the CSO Academy-LEAD to Serve Course in South Cotabato during 4th Quarter Regional Peace and Order Council Region 12 Meeting on 30 November 2023 held at the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol.

AF will continue its engagement in the CSO Academy of South Cotabato with the second batch of scholars in 2024. Other provincial governments in Region 12 are also exploring about replicating their version of the LEAD to Serve Course. Seizing the opportunity, AF was invited to present the Course at the 4th Quarter Regional Peace and Order Council Region 12 Meeting on 30 November 2023, where all the provinces and city of Region 12 were represented.

To know more about the journey of the CSO-Academy LEAD to Serve Course Pilot Batch, watch the video here: https://bit.ly/LEAD-PertamaRecognition 

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