For Rosario, a first-class municipality in the province of Batangas, it has been quite a long journey coming to its first Barangay Education Summit that will be held in each of the 48 barangays across the town starting this June 2017 up to February 2018.
This journey began more than 6 years ago when the late Mayor Felipe Marquez was invited to the National Education Summit and became interested in partnering with Synergeia to improve the quality of basic education in the municipality. Unfortunately, this never prospered because of the Mayor’s untimely demise.
Fast-forward to 2016, Leovigildo Morpe was elected Vice-Mayor and became Chairperson of the Sanggunian Bayan Committee on Education. He became committed to the promotion of education in the municipality and put up a Mobile Library that went to different upland barangays to encourage school children to read. Having been introduced to Synergeia by his Executive Assistant, Boots Cabralda, who had prior experience working with the Foundation in Padre Garcia town, Vice-Mayor Morpe attended the workshop for local government officials who are new members of the Synergeia alliance held last March 2017. When asked what changed and what would he do differently after attending the workshop, Vice Mayor Morpe had just 3 words: “commitment, focus, vision.”
Armed with these 3 words, Vice Mayor Morpe is now leading Rosario town’s preparation for the Barangay Education Summits to be held in all of the town’s 48 barangays. According to the Vice Mayor, the Education Summits aim to find out the problem areas in education in every locality and to generate community participation in finding feasible, time-bound solutions to these problems. Fay, who is one of the volunteers, said “Hindi kasi pare-pareho ang sitwasyon sa barangay. Maaaring ang problema ng isang barangay ay iba sa katabi nitong barangay. Madami tayong malalaman sa bawat barangay.”
Seeing the need to equip themselves with tools in facilitating a summit, Vice Mayor Morpe and his team of LGU employees and volunteers, with the assistance of Synergeia Foundation, attended the community facilitators’ workshop last May 16, 2017 and learned some important skills and techniques in workshop facilitation under the expert guidance of Dr. Nene Guevara and Councilor Eddy Tiongson. A fun but useful activity was one which tested their listening skill since facilitators are expected to listen to what their audience have to say.
Following the advice of our Synergeia mentors, this team held a dry-run last June 1 to apply what they’ve learned from their workshop and have a feel of how to conduct a barangay education summit. They divided themselves in groups, role-played and critiqued each other. While they think that there are a lot to be improved on, they believe that the activity allowed them to experience for themselves how to conduct a summit and be more confident doing so.
We wish our friends from Rosario, Batangas all the luck in their upcoming Barangay Education Summits.