Windecker to Bangsamoro CSO Leaders: Bangsamoro Needs You

Formulation and implementation of a strategy in influencing policy are necessary skills to participate actively in the democratic decision-making process. In the first day of the DELACSE Bangsamoro Training of Trainers at I’M Hotel in Makati, Dr. Gidon Windecker of the Rootsfactory Consulting Network gave a lecture and facilitated a workshop on building strategy to influence policy-making.

The Why, What, and How of CSO Participation
Good governance and policy-making are intertwined. Policy-making answers what the people want and why they want it, while good governance is a product of how they realize their policies.

According to Windecker, CSOs enhance the transparency, accountability, quality and effectiveness of policy-making when they participate in the process.

There are formal and informal channels of engaging decision-makers, and it can be done in a cooperative or confrontational manner. One way is not necessarily better than the other. It simply depends on the most appropriate approach with the given situation.

How can CSOs influence policy?
Windecker dispelled the common notion that networking is the be-all and end-all of influencing decisions. Networking will not be sufficient as a stand-alone strategy, although it is important. CSO leaders also need to raise awareness on their selected issues by reaching out to lawmakers and conducting trainings, seminars, and other capacity-building and knowledge-transfer activities. They can also reach out to the policy-makers themselves and relay their issues. But the most effective strategy is to forge a direct partnership with the government and decision-makers.

Follow through – Don’t just start
Philippine history is rife with numerous attempts at getting all stakeholders to the peace table. The Filipino people have seen peace agreements forged, only to fail at the implementation level. This should not deter the CSO leaders to try again.

“Keep doing the good work. Society needs you. Bangsamoro needs you,” Windecker told the delegates after they presented their strategies after the workshop. He also reminded them to “stay engaged through the entire policy process”. It may not be a walk in the park but they shouldn’t be derailed by bumps along the road. If they don’t see the results, they should re-calibrate their strategy. Consistent monitoring and evaluation will ensure that they stay in the right course.

Never losing sight of the big picture

Competent and effective leaders are able to tread through difficulties because they never lose sight of the big picture. The first day of DELACSE Bangsamoro’s three-day training was all about the big picture. Atty. Hamid Barra of the Islamic Studies Department of the Mindanao State University in Marawi gave a lecture linking democratic governance and Islamic leadership, a cornerstone of democratic leadership of the future Bangsamoro political entity.

These lectures laid the groundwork for the modules on the state of Philippine democracy and the need for political reforms, political participation, democratic leadership, Bangsamoro peace process, federalism, and participatory budgeting, which were rolled out in the next two days.

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