Monday, 18 February 2008

They Do Not Come Out in the Papers


It’s amazing why a few good things, though how phenomenal they are, do not get printed in our newspapers while all the mudslinging, dirty politics, and boxing matches do. It’s also quite spectacular why a public official who inaugurates a building gets full media treatment (read: words, sounds, and pictures) but not when a non-governmental organization was able to strengthen the livelihood of 536 rural poor households.

Last Friday (15 February), I presented an independent evaluation report on a project implemented by the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation in four Eskaya communities in the towns of Duero, Guindulman, Sierra Bullones, and Pilar and in 8 other barangays within Sierra Bullones. The project was successful in increasing the income of around 345 rural households, from below 2,000 monthly gross income to 2,500 and more. It also made possible the strengthening of 12 community associations, most of which currently have more than P70,000 of capital build up (from almost nothing) to continue their different livelihood projects.

The evaluation report concluded that the project has afforded beneficiary communities with the chances to increase income, improve well being, reduce vulnerability against livelihood shocks, achieve a certain degree of food security, and manage their resources sustainably. These opportunities could not have been made available to these communities without the project and may have taken a longer time to develop.

But news such like these do not come out in the papers. NGOs like SWCF do not have PR people who write news stories every week, and the media may have not regarded these as stories that sell. In print media, as it is elsewhere, there is always the marginalization of the people at the periphery, that their plight, much more their achievements, become virtually insignificant.

1 comment:

erick said...

yes, the same thing happened to ELAC (Environmental Legal Assistance Center). Even if there were suggestions to come up with PRs or LTEs at least once a month, still, it did not materialize. this is probably because ELAC & SWCF & most other NGOs are not comfortable "lifting their own chair" so to speak. it would be a fright if NGOs start getting comfortable with it. this is also probably because NGOs have a different dynamism or "culture" or whatever you'd like to call it compared to government or other mainstream organizations. and i think NGOs are more results/impacts oriented. it's a classic example of an analogy of two brands of potato chips snack. the first one, although not a known brand, but is really full of chips. while the other is just a bag full of air whose label and packaging only promises more chips inside but does not actually have them.