Saturday, May 10, 2014

CBFM and Participatory Management


CBFM AND PARTICIPATORY MANAGEMENT
by Hazel Henrisha T. Chua, Elizabeth M. Villezar, Zaldy Lumaan and Antonio C. Antonio

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Hazel Henrisha T. Chua (December 6, 2013):

Participatory management, which is also known as “employee involvement” or participative decision making, encourages and calls for the involvement of employees and relevant stakeholders to be a part of the decision making process.

Its underlying principles, advantages, and disadvantages have already been discussed thoroughly by Anton Antonio in a previous thread.  This time around, we will be taking a closer look at several case studies of the method in action in various fields, including forest management and organizational management (as in the case of NGOs), and in the industrial sector.

We will start with the case on CBFM, which you can find below.  More case studies will be added to this thread within the week, so you can digest them one by one.

Case No. 1: Participatory Planning and Management in Philippines Community-Based Forestry

Guiang and Harker (2000) observed the implementation of the community-based forest management program (CBFM) and the planning process behind the Natural Resources Management Program of the DENR.  At its very core, CBFM encourages forest communities to manage the resource while allowing them to get sustenance and harvest its products.  Summarized, the process is as follows: the DENR works with LGUs to identify possible CBFM sites.  Consultations with candidate forest communities are held followed by the granting of the CBFM Agreement (CBFMA).  The 25-year CBFMA must then be turned in an Annual Work Plan (AWP) that has to be affirmed.  It is during this process that notable problems were observed:
  • AWP affirmation cannot ensure that the forest community has the capability to manage or harvest their assigned sites
  • Income allocation from harvests were subjected to conflict and allegations of unfair practices
  • Insufficient funds to comply with the DENR’s documentation requirements, purchase necessary equipment, rehabilitate the road, etc.
  • Difficulty in marketing harvested products due to lack of funds (hence, lack of transportation), unclear payment arrangements, etc.
The study concludes that while participatory planning empowers communities and provides increased ownership resources-wise.  However, the lack of technical skills, capital, and linkages to financial institutions causes CBFMA holders to eventually fail.

Points to Ponder:
  • Discuss participatory management’s role in CBFM.  How is the approach applied?
  • Identify the stakeholders in CBFM and the benefits they stand to gain from the program.
  • In this particular case, CBFMA holders failed not because of the CBFM policy, but because of external factors.  How should these be addressed?
  • Assuming that the problems described frequently arise, would you recommend policy changes to CBFM?  Why or why not?
References:
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Elizabeth M. Villezar (December 9, 2013):

Hello Hazel,

Discuss participatory management’s role in CBFM. How is the approach applied?  The role of participatory management in CBFM is very vital as this kind of management needs the participation of several stakeholders most especially the involved community.  Every stakeholder is needed to perform what is expected from each of them as several functions are necessary to realize the effectiveness of participatory management in CBFM (technical skills in performing several tasks such as resource inventory, monitoring & evaluation, etc.).  Knowledge of the area managed has to be acquired through the participation of the inhabitants (community within the area), thus, thorough analysis can be performed by the external parties such as the DENR, the USAID, etc.  Several issues can then be dealt with accordingly.

Identify the stakeholders in CBFM and the benefits they stand to gain from the program.  Several stakeholders in CBFM are involved:   The community within the forestland.  Members of the community are equipped with ancient knowledge on how to manage their habitat the way their ancestors did.  They are also familiar with the anatomy of the forest thus, their participation is very important.  The national government represented by DENR.  DENR is the implementing agency in the management of forestland for its preservation and sustainable development.  The task of DENR is to collaborate with other external stakeholders to effectively implement the CBFM through active participation.  Securing financial resources; adapting methods/ mechanisms for effective CBFM, securing the commitments of LGU for their added protection from external forces that might be involved in illegal poaching and the like.  

LGUs.  The role of local government units is important in the implementation of CBFM.

In this particular case, CBFMA holders failed not because of the CBFM policy, but because of external factors.  How should these be addressed?  External factors such as politics and the lack of constant monitoring mostly caused the failure of CBFMA implementation.  The involved stakeholders should be very serious in establishing, implementing and monitoring the CBFM by focusing on its main objectives and not just for the few stakeholders with their own self-interest.

Assuming that the problems described frequently arise, would you recommend policy changes to CBFM?  Why or why not?  There might be some revisions to be made on the policy for its consistent implementation and monitoring, however, the main problem is the individual interest of each of them.  This is the main reason why many policies or projects failed because of self-interest.  There’s a saying in Filipino “ningas kugon” this is always true in every project as I have observed.  The continuance depends on the motivation on the part of the involved parties.  If we could only change this, maybe we could be able to achieve our common goal.

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Antonio C. Antonio (December 17, 2013):

Hi, Hazel...

Thank you for adding the CBFM case study to our discussion on Participatory Management.  Your contribution certainly provided additional knowledge on our topic.

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Hazel Henrisha T. Chua (December 19, 2013):

Hello Beth,

Thank you for your input.  I agree that in order for programs like CBFM to succeed, the stakeholders should exert effort and be very dedicated to the program and its objectives.

The government and the enforcing agencies have a huge role, so stakeholders must also work hand in hand with these institutions to carry out their objectives.

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Hazel Henrisha T. Chua (December 19, 2013):

Hi Anton,

Thanks! Hopefully this can expand the concept of participatory management.  If you can give your input on the case study presented, it would be wonderful. Thanks!

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Antonio C. Antonio (December 19, 2013):

Hi, Hazel...

Please allow me to re-print your guide questions for my guidance...

Points to Ponder:

1.     Discuss participatory management’s role in CBFM. How is the approach applied?
2.     Identify the stakeholders in CBFM and the benefits they stand to gain from the program.
3.     In this particular case, CBFMA holders failed not because of the CBFM policy, but because of external factors.  How should these be addressed?
4.     Assuming that the problems described frequently arise, would you recommend policy changes to CBFM?  Why or why not?

In the previous comments/discussions of Beth (Villezar), she practically covered all the bases and provided sufficient answers to these questions... but allow me to add a few more points...

The CBFM concept is a workable one.  There are several CBFM projects in the Caraga Region that worked and are continually providing benefits for the stakeholders involved.  If this particular case failed, there are fundamental flaws as you mentioned... “the lack of technical skills, capital, and linkages to financial institutions”.

The CBFM, from the business standpoint, should have the following basic requisites to succeed as a business venture: (1) Management; (2) Manpower; (3) Material; (4) Market; and (5) Money (or financial capability)... the 5 “Ms”.  From the problems already mentioned (therefore: “the lack of technical skills, capital, and linkages to financial institutions”), it seems apparent that the problem is in Nos. 1 (Management) and 5 (Money).

No. 1 (Management) should relatively be the easiest to solve since it only entails a “good choice” of manager.  No. 2 (Manpower) should provide the solution.  From the ranks of those attached to and allied with the CBFM organization, someone should be able to fill up the top managerial position.  Someone who could meet the expectations of all stakeholder.  In case no one makes the grade from within the organization, the appointment of an outsider will be the next best option.

One of the 5 “Ms” also presents a solution to problem No. 5 (Money).  The demand for timber and wood products will always be good considering its dwindling supply.  So long as the CBFM has No. 3 (Material), (in this case timber, wood and other forest products,) it could be used to gain financial resources to fund its operations.  The giving of “advance payments” is an accepted wood industry practice in the Philippines.  So long as the buyer (supposed to be another stakeholder) is assured of the supply of the good, he will be more than willing to advance payments.  Another strength of the CBFM organization is the fact that wood and timber products is considered a seller’s market... and therefore, the CBFM has the option to maximize selling prices within the limits of what the buyer can afford and is willing to buy.  The CBFM management, however, should also make certain that their buyer/s has/have legitimate Wood Processing Permits (WPP) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)... or else, the transaction will be deemed illegal. 

Another possible solution to the problem of “money” is access to financing institutions.  The moratorium (Executive Order No. 23) banning the harvesting of timber from the residual forest declared in February 2011 has made most Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) holders struggle to make their operations viable.  The DENR-Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB) has been facilitating and assisting these tenurial instrument (IFMA) holders in securing soft loans from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) since the 3rd Quarter of the current year.  With this information, it would be just a matter of the CBFM organization informing and making formal representation with the DENR-FMB on its financial woes and, like in the case of the IFMA holders, this government agency will be more than willing to help.

Going back to participatory management and the matter of identifying stakeholders, the financial sources (as discussed: the buyers and lending institutions) should be a necessary inclusion to the roster of stakeholders for the CBFM.  Rather than treat them as external factors, they could be treated as internal factors.  In a SWOT analysis, external factors/environment are the organization’s Opportunities and Threats while Strengths and Weaknesses are internal factors/environment.  We are all aware that an organization’s internal environment is easier managed than its external environment.  By bringing-in the buyers and financial institutions as stakeholders and, therefore, becomes part of their internal environment, the CBFM can now manage and control them better.  Other external factors like market forces, climactic conditions, etc., mostly unpredictable, would be the only remaining factors the CBFM management will have to watch out for.

There seems to be a failure in the planning of this particular CBFM case.  Not only were the critical/crucial stakeholders not properly identified (which made participatory management insufficient and programmed to fail) but also the failure to include sub-plans for the pre-operations and post-harvesting stages in the initial planning.  The post-harvesting stage is “M” No. 4 (Market [or marketing]).  It should be noted that marketing plays a bigger role in a business venture as this is the stage where money/profits are infused back into the financial system of the organization to finance its next cycle of operations.

Lastly, on the matter of recommending policy changes for the CBFM program... I would not want to venture on a recommendation for the simple reason that it works... perhaps, not with some but for most CBFMs.  The DENR, with all its technical expertise and experience, has lengthily studied and developed the CBFM program.  I am sure they also have oversight measures to calibrate the program to adapt to mid-stream changes.  Besides, sincerely, with my limitations, it is not within my competence to make one. 

It is a sad fact that we are an archipelago and what works for Region I may not necessarily work in Region XII.  But public policies cannot include regional peculiarities... there should only be one that is generally ideal for all the regions.  Besides, if something works for most, let’s not change the entire set up but just make situational adjustments.  The best course of action is to document what works for most CBFMs, polish these cases into implementable procedurals and apply these success formulas to problematic ones.

Just my little thoughts...

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Hazel Henrisha T. Chua (December 27, 2013):

Link to the full case studies:  Case No. 1: Participatory Planning and Management in Philippines Community-Based Forestry - http://www.mekonginfo.org/assets/midocs/0002934-environment-participatory-planning-and-management-in-philippines-community-based-forestry.pdf

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Zaldy Lumaan (January 14, 2014):

My discussions on the post of Ms Hazel in particpatory management in Philippine CBF

Discuss participatory management’s role in CBFM. How is the approach applied?

In the Philippines, as in many less developed countries, NGOs provide the linkages between international funding on the one hand, and government agencies and POs on the other, especially where the latter are locally based and focused. The Philippine constitution has enshrined the role of POs by making it incumbent on government agencies to respect their role and to facilitate consultation with them. People’s Organizations are defined in section 15 of the constitution as: bonafide associations of citizens with demonstrated capacity to promote the public interest and with identifiable leadership, membership, and structure’. This section goes further in describing the relationship between the State and POs: ‘The State shall respect the role of independent people’s organizations to enable the people to pursue and protect, within the democratic framework, their legitimate and collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means’‘. The use of participatory processes has been made an obligation of government agencies by the inclusion of section 16 within the constitution, which states: ‘The right of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decision-making shall not be abridged. The State shall, by law, facilitate the establishment of adequate consultation mechanisms’. The implementation of the National Greening Program of the government involved the participation of the People’s Organizations in the uplands areas. Their sincere participation in the program not only helped the government in the rehabilitation of denuded and unproductive areas but also helped themselves uplift their economic condition. Through the raising of various species of forest trees and fruit trees and planting in their occupied lots, they can earn enough money for their family.

Identify the stakeholders in CBFM and the benefits they stand to gain from the program.

Programs developed to address the need to involve the community as a key stakeholder in natural resource management include Community Based Resource Management (CBRM), Community Based Coastal Resource Management (CBCRM), NGO-Assisted Community Based Mangrove Forest Management (NGO-Assisted CBMFM) and Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) (DENR, 1994; Ferrer and Nozawa, 1998). In their review of CBCRM in the Philippines, Ferrer and Nozawa (1998) define CBCRM, but equally applicable to the other versions of these programs, as ‘people-centered, community oriented and resource based. It starts from the basic premise that people have the innate capacity to understand and act on their own problems. It begins where the people are. They described community based natural resource management programs as including:

  • building support institutions or groups to promote resource user’s rights;
  • management of the environment for sustainable use;
  • economic upliftment and equitable distribution of benefits;
  • forging partnerships among institutions (government organizations, PO, academe and with NGOs) to improve capabilities and expand services; and
  • linkaging and advocacy for policy reforms.
In this particular case, CBFMA holders failed not because of the CBFM policy, but because of external factors. How should these be addressed?

“People first and sustainable forestry will follow” sums up the concept of CBFM. The Government believes that by addressing the needs of local communities, they themselves will join hands to protect and manage the very source of their livelihood. Governments must allow CBFMs to have increased formal involvement in the decision-making process and policy changes that can impact positively on their lives. Additionally, at a local level “strategic interventions are still needed to achieve the social justice and equality objectives of CBFM” thus addressing the observation in some projects that the community elites and educated are benefiting the most.

·         The NGO partners needed to recruit and retain high quality staff with adequate programming experience from the inception of the project.
·         There should have been more interaction between partner organizations through cross visits and attending each other’s meetings and workshops.
·         It is important to identify weak areas of each partner organization from inception and then try to improve those gradually.
·         NGO partners should be selected with clear capacities in livelihoods and community group formation.
·         It remains unclear whether the various strategies employed by the partner NGOs produce equally equitable benefits; the exclusion of the very poor may be more likely under fisher-led approaches than under community led initiatives.
·         Some NGOs are involved in a range of different projects and approaches to CBFM and become over stretched and/or have less interest in continuing activities without funding.
·         The donor requirement was to focus primarily on vulnerable groups - this needed to be clearly communicated to the NGOs as a core aim.
·         Substantial progress was made in networking the CBOs of various projects engaged in CBFM. A series of workshops have been held at 4 which CBOs exchanged experiences and debated future strategies for coordination. The CBOs established their successes, failures and constraints to date and discussed opportunities to improve their effectiveness.
·         Some cluster committees are functioning, but no higher apex body has yet been formally convened, although CBOs have met to discuss apex establishment in one place.
·         NGOs should document the added value of cluster committees and apex bodies for future reference.
·         There are other resources in the forest that people diverted its attention. People have engaged extraction of  minerals ores as a means of immediate source of income.

Assuming that the problems described frequently arise, would you recommend policy changes to CBFM?  Why or why not?

No, it does necessarily follow to change policy to CBFM but to enhance its strategies how to have full participation of the people in the upland. And the harmonization of policies of the DENR and other government agencies like NCIP, agriculture department and the Department of Agrarian Reform. Like any other government agencies and department, its focus is on the welfare of the humanity in a well manage environment. The CBFM is the right program for the communities in the uplands. CBFM applies to all areas classified as forest lands, including allowable zones within protected areas not covered by prior vested rights. The program integrates and unifies all people-oriented forestry activities of the Integrated Social Forestry program, Community Forestry Program, Coastal Environment Program, and Recognition of Ancestral Domains.


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Hazel Henrisha T. Chua (January 16, 2014):

Zaldy,

Thank you for sharing your insights on the case.

I agree that NGOs have provided linkages between the government and institutional agencies and institutions who can provide further help and assistance in the programs that are being implemented.  Together with the stakeholders and with the relevant government agencies, much can be done.

CBFM as it is is a well-founded policy.  As you pointed out, the failures may not be due to a failure of the said policy, but failure in execution, which can be addressed by employing alternative strategies and methods.

Once again, thank you for your participation! 

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Hazel Henrisha T. Chua (January 16, 2014):

After considering three case studies of participatory management as applied to upland ecological systems, I’m sure that there are several conclusions you can draw with regards to the method and how it works as a whole.  Your thoughts and opinions would be very much appreciated, so please feel free to add your comment in this thread. To start things off, I’ll start by sharing what I think about participatory management.

First of all (and to state the obvious), the stakeholders play a huge role in determining the success or failure of the project. They are the main actors of the program. Government organizations and agencies only serve to act as guiding or implementing bodies, while the bulk of the action falls onto the shoulders of the stakeholders. Their efforts will be rewarded with success, which may come in the form of financial or cultural gains. At the same time, ecological rewards will be reaped by their future generations, provided the goal towards sustainability was met.

Secondly, another conclusion that I’ve come to is that it would be very difficult for participatory management to succeed without the proper support systems. In this case, it would be backing from concerned government organizations and institutions, as well as relevant bodies that would be able to provide assistance to the stakeholders as they embark on the project. For example, in Case No. 1, which discusses CBFM in the Philippines, the farmers encountered obstacles in meeting certain requirements of the program. Financial restraints and perhaps lack of information workshops also led to more difficulties in the long run. If there had been proper support systems, then the stakeholders would have encountered less problems as they would be provided with the assistance that they badly needed.

Lastly, it’s important to recognize that participatory management, as its name implies, is a team effort. It is through the collective effort of the stakeholders and implementing bodies that success will be obtained. The underlying goal of such method is to give stakeholders a bigger role in managing resources that will undoubtedly affect their way of life and standard of living.

Share your thoughts below!

If you have additional resources or case studies to share, please feel free to do so.
 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those who took the time to read the cases, research, and share their opinions in this thread. Especially to Anton Antonio, Beth Villezar, and Zaldy Lumaan.

Thank you for adding your insightful thoughts and analyses to the discussion! 


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