Now that I have had the pleasure of helping to establish a new center in Iloilo City, I have moved on to another aspect of the Scala program. I recently spent a few days in Batangas City, Batangas with Sarah and the DSWD monitoring one of the Scala centers. This particular center began in 2004, has trained 7 batches of out of school youth (OSY) so far, and has just started on its eighth batch. This center is also interesting because it is run by the PSWDO (the provincial social welfare and development office), as opposed to the CSWDO (the city). This means that instead of being responsible for training the OSY in one city alone, they are involved with training all of the OSY from the local municipalities, 33 of them in this case. Of course, this adds the additional hardships of communication and geographical issues that must be dealt with, as the municipalities are often quite a distance from the PSWDO office. Nonetheless, the Batangas center trains batches of 15 OSY from one municipality at a time.
Along with the DSWD, EWB aids in monitoring centers to make sure that everything is running smoothly. This includes finding out
if all of the computers are functioning, reviewing records, interviewing youth that have graduated from the program, visiting some of the OJT (on-the-job training) placements, and meeting with the center manager and trainers to discuss issues and recommendations. This is all in an effort to ensure that the centers are functioning as intended and thus, ensuring sustainability of the project. This was my first monitoring visit, so I knew I would learn a lot. And I wasn’t disappointed! The enthusiasm and dedication of the center manager and the trainers was very inspiring. They are overworked, underpaid, and there aren’t enough staff available (welcome to work in the social services sector!), but their belief in the project and the youth they’re serving is amazing. They’ve also incorporated some really great ideas into their program, including asking the mayor from each municipality pay for the trainees’ transportation and meals while undergoing training, as well as having the LGU (local government unit) utilize all 15 of the trainees for their OJT placements in their city government offices.
In addition, another really neat idea that this center has implemented is an OJT placement with the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP). I am
a Girl Guide leader here in Canada, so I was particularly interested to hear of this placement. Rochelle is a 17 year old high school graduate from Bauan (a nearby town). Her father is a bus driver and her mother is a housekeeper, with a combined family income of less than 6,000 pesos per month (or $140). She is not employed and cannot afford to go to college. She was chosen for a placement in the Scala program in July (2005) and has just recently started work at the GSP provincial office where she is a data encoder. This involves inputting the names of new members of the GSP into a database that will eventually find its way onto the GSP national website. Most OJT placements are not paid, as the youth are gaining work experience, but fortunately, the GSP are paying her 75 centavos per name that she enters. So if she enters 200 names in a day, she is paid 150 pesos. It is not a great deal of money, but it will pay for her meals and transportation to and from the GSP office. I have to admit that it is fabulous to see the GSP getting involved in the Scala program - hopefully this is a practice that can be implemented at other centers in the country!
So my first monitoring visit was a success. Batangas is a thriving center with great hope for the future of their youth, and it shows! If all the other centers are this successful, the Scala will be unstoppable in the future.
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