A ‘stake’ is an interest in a potential or actual activity. It is about the question ‘what is it to me?’ Social stakes pertain to elements such as specific community concerns which, if left unaddressed, can lead to jeopardizing the goals and activities of an organization or its projects.
The social stakes are high if unattended demands from affected sectors can lead to an organization’s loss of legitimacy or tarnished organizational reputation. Social stakes must be managed by any organization whose goals and activities impact on the environment, culture, economy, and everyday living of one or more communities who are key stakeholders in any project, be it large or small.
Managing social stakes is a crucial groundwork in the governance, ethics, and community relations nexus. This is where my services at Social Stakes and Solutions would be needed. I work with large or small organizations, including business enterprises, state agencies, and development institutions to engage with communities. I channel my passion for participatory research to optimizing the capabilities of local stakeholders. I deliver services that include developing practical mechanisms for listening and responding to local concerns. Most of these concerns may have already been raised by individuals, community groups, or other entities who may be affected – directly or indirectly – by corporate/organizational decisions and project activities.
I work with clients and other partners based on the premise that any developer or implementor of a project or activity, whether planned or ongoing, must hear the voices of local constituencies, receive their insights, and meaningfully respond to them. Equally, I strongly believe that community concerns or demands, in order to be rightfully dealt with the organization concerned, must emanate from legitimate locality-rooted constituencies, not imposed by external forces.
Based on project requirements or scope of work, I often supplement the required skills needed by consulting organizations that contract my services. In certain cases, I work directly for clients on my own, but there are a few times when I bring in additional expertise from a ready pool of fellow social scientists.
As required or necessary, depending on configurations (scope of work budget, skills set required, etc.) of clients' projects, I draw from individuals with whom I have worked both in previous and present project engagements -- my fellow experienced community development workers.
We all share a deep commitment to the values of participation, collaboration, transparency, and empowerment. We believe that these are essential ingredients in any engagement of two or more parties to achieve mutual benefits from each other’s relationship.
Our project themes have revolved around enabling involved parties to have optimum gains from their engagement in resource development. We promote and help launch the dynamics and processes for participative decision-making. We foster collaboration that incorporates non-discriminatory distribution of costs, risks and responsibilities (as well as attendant accountabilities) towards achievement of long-term benefits.
With our interrelated professional experiences of working on diverse resource management and sustainability issues, we have continued to regularly consult each other and learn together as we draw from each other's experiences and fields of expertise.
We all have continued engaging with multiple sectors such as Government (national and sub-national levels), multi-lateral institutions, industry, academia, and relevant development organizations. We volunteer for relevant capability-building schemes mainly for community groups to give them some start-up skills as may be needed.
Minerva Chaloping-March, PhD
I am Minnie, with more than 30 years cumulative experience in undertaking social science research, developing and delivering training programs in community engagement for various clients including local government units and community organizations, consulting within the minerals industry, and volunteering for indigenous ecological-cultural heritage protection.
PhD (Anthropology), Asian Social Institute, Manila, Philippines
MA (Philosophy), University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
I and Alan had worked together at the Resource Center for Environment and sustainable Development, Development Academy of the Philippines. He and I developed training materials for environmental/social impact assessment (EIA/SIA) and solid waste management for local government units and civil society organizations.
Now with almost three decades' experience in government (Philippines), Alan has developed a repertoire of expertise in his multiple project engagements with state agencies, educational institutions, big business, and multilateral organizations as well as local government councils and community organizations. He continues to teach postgraduate courses (Public Management Development, Biodiversity Conservation and Management, Certificate in Corruption Prevention) at the Development Academy of the Philippines.
Alice and I worked together in a natural resource management project when we were both at the Cordillera Studies Center, University of the Philippines - Baguio. Years before that, we both grew up in a mining community as both our fathers were employees of a large copper mining company in northern Luzon, Philippines. We share a passion in social science research and interest in community resource management and impact analysis.
Alice’s areas of expertise, acquired over her 30 year-career include: a) developing and delivering capability-building for climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness for community sectors, academia, and local government; b) social science research on a host of economic and social-environmental issues including child labor, indigenous customs and formal policy in forest management and agriculture, participatory governance in watershed management; c) research administration and project management; and d) managing teams and partnerships among government agencies, local government units, community groups/associations, multilateral organizations, and non-government organizations.
MSc (Community Development), Benguet State University, La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines
BSc (Social Work), Saint Louis University, Baguio, Philippines
Myrna, with 30-year experience in community development, has wide-ranging engagements in planning, coordinating, and documenting as well as assessing (monitoring and evaluation) rural investment projects of various scales and foci. These include tourism, small and medium agriculture-based pursuits, women’s health, school-based feeding programs, community waste management, and billage electrification.
Mursha and I are both based in Melbourne where we continue to spend coffee time on resource management issues and their implications for sustainability in Indigenous households and communities.
Her professional experience includes university teaching (sociology, social anthropology, psychology) research administration and project management, and community engagement. She has led multidisciplinary projects commissioned by agencies in the education, agriculture, and governance sectors.
I previously worked for a global mining company (Rio Tinto Technical Services in Melbourne, Australia and Bristol, UK) as Senior Consultant for Social Development and Community Affairs. In this role, I provided specialist advice to both corporate headquarters and subsidiary business units on the implementation of the company's Communities Policy. My consulting roles with other organizations included reviewing environmental impact statements of large-scale development projects and 'best practices' of mining companies in corporate social responsibility.
On a freelance capacity, I have continued to provide much needed evidence/research-based advice to industry leadership teams on broad social performance concerns which cover stakeholder management, inter-cultural communication and transparency, social development planning (and thereafter, implementation, monitoring and evaluation), corporate - community partnerships, and social risk analysis. My research and consulting projects include human rights assessment, cultural criteria for mine closure, and livelihood vulnerability within communities during pre- or post-closure phase. I have also looked into indigenous institutions and customary law on natural resources. This gave me opportunities to help develop social science course modules along the lines of indigeneity and resource governance. I help design and deliver capability-building programs -- in partnership with local governments, tertiary institutions, and indigenous communities -- on ethnographic research and cultural-ecological heritage protection. At present (2020-2021), part of my activities includes providing research-based advice and direction on social change management by a mining project (confidential).
Alan's vast fields of specialization include: a) risk management (disaster risk reduction, project risk management, corruption vulnerability assessment), b) organization development (strategic planning, operational planning, business planning, organization assessment), c) quality assessment, environmental planning and management (includes environmental and social assessment), d) local governance (covers environmental public policy), and e) development planning and management (includes community immersion, community organizing, participatory development planning).
Alan leads technical teams in developing standard operating procedures and frameworks for climate change resiliency, environmental management, and organizational performance. The numerous projects he directs include programs for local sustainability focusing on waste management, social vulnerability to corruption, ecotourism, renewable energy, and capacity-strengthening for local councils. He has also spearheaded teams in integrity development reviews for the European Union (Office of the Ombudsman) and USAID.
He has continued serving as resource person for the World Health Organization and national line agencies in the Philippines on organizational management, project monitoring and evaluation, strengthening systems for sustainable institutional structures, and environmental policy analysis.
Alice provides advice to state agency officers and technical staff of international organizations on planning, coordinating and implementing disaster risk reduction and response. She previously worked as Senior Programme Associate for the United Nation's World Food Programme Philippines where she provided technical assistance in proposal preparation, project implementation and reporting to local partners in implementing projects on disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation. Her most recent consulting services expanded to providing technical support to disaster response projects implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Embassy of Australia).
Alice’s professional engagements in biodiversity protection, disaster preparedness and digital modelling, natural resource management, participatory community planning, as well as training and workshop facilitation all require skilled coordination at multiple levels of governance – international, national and sub-national. She adeptly manages overlapping networks with academic institutions, community-based groups, and non-profit organizations, and cause-oriented groups.
Her expertise has been tapped for several training programs in: a) geoinformatics in research, planning and management, b) GIS Application in the social sciences, and c) participatory GIS mapping and planning in aid of good governance. She continues to lead interdisciplinary teams in conducting periodic (mid-year, end-of-year) assessments of various investment programs in agricultural production, social forestry, poverty alleviation, watershed management, women's rights and welfare, and community health (e.g., dengue prevention).
Myrna has been my fieldwork partner in a human rights impact assessment project in 2019 (confidential). She shares my continuing interest in mining communities and the issues households face with social transformation.
She served as social due diligence specialist for exploration companies (Gold Fields Philippine Holdings B. V., Anglo American Exploration Philippines Inc. - Cordillera Exploration Company, Crescent Mining and Development Corporation Inc., Cordillera Tiger Corporation), and carried out social audits for infrastructure projects of the Orient Integrated Development Consultants Inc. as well as monitoring and evaluation of anti-human trafficking projects (Cambodia).
In countless training programs, Myrna has readily availed hersef as resource person on topics under her fields of expertise: participatory project monitoring and evaluation (M & E), micro (rural) development planning; community organizing, resource mobilization and institutional development; social risk assessment and social due diligence for industries.
The recipients/audience of her capability-building services include agriculture-based cooperatives, parent federations, campaigners for environmental legacy protection, advocates for anti-violence against children, among others. She has authored training manuals on critical community issues for a number of state agency projects including the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan ADSDPP (Philippines), and the enterprise resource planning-Cascade for the Department of Agriculture. Likewise, she contributed to developing the handbook on the barangay development planning procedures/ processes.
My Co-Workers and Co-Learners
Currently, Mursha coordinates a community engagement project on family violence prevention. For this project, she prepares and implements the project workplan, develops training modules for participants, and collaborates with project stakeholders including funding partners on updating and refining grant applications.
Mursha conducts policy and issue analysis using multi-scalar, multi-dimensional, historical and contextual approaches Her research projects cover a range of issues affecting rural communities, including sustainability transitions in agriculture, participatory and community-based climate change adaptation strategies, mental health and well-being, as well as indigenous healing and reproductive health She also led a research on understanding suicide among farming households in the context of a cash crop economy.