Phase 2: Engage at the City and Municipality Level
In this phase, the ZEP2030 local convergence organizes itself for action. ZEP2030’s objectives are localized based on the poverty situation in the province or highly urbanized city and put to motion through broadening the alliance work with other stakeholders and poverty actors, most notably the local government units (LGUs).
Initial Mapping of ZEP Presence in Bukidnon
Source: ZEP Bukidnon Convergence Map
- Local poverty actors have been mapped and engaged
- Collaboration with the LGU has been initiated;
- Plans, roles, and responsibilities among ZEP2030 local convergence members have been agreed upon and drawn
Options for Action: To achieve these results, the ZEP2030 local convergence may pursue the following actions under this phase, in any order as the coalition may see fit:
- Assessment of the local poverty situation — The ZEP2030 local convergence may begin to look at poverty incidence using available data. To emphasize, ZEP2030 defines poverty not only based on a family’s income and how it relates to a defined poverty threshold, but also on other equally-important dimensions of hunger and nutrition, educational completion, and access to water and sanitation. The local convergence may include other poverty and development indicators that are important to their context (e.g., access to clean energy, peace and order, etc.) and aligned with the SDGs.
UNDP and ZEP2030 have prepared poverty profiles for an initial set of 12 provinces [lead to that page!] based on available data from official poverty and labor statistics, the ZEP2030-UNDP COVID Pulse Survey, and other publicly available data. The local convergence may start off from this, critique this, and build on this using data that they may have access to. Information generated from official LGU reports–local development plans and agendas, local SDGs and poverty monitoring (e.g., CBMS), if any–may also be accessed to enrich the analysis.
- Prioritization of component LGUs for action — Priority cities and municipalities within the province (or barangays within a highly urbanized city) are selected. Definitely, prioritization should be based on the local poverty situation, based on the assessment described above using available data and coalition members’ experience.
The prioritization should also account for the coalition members’ current areas and strengths. These include but but are not limited to
- Mapping of local development actors — By this time, local NGOs who are the “usual suspects” have already been tapped and invited to join the ZEP2030 local convergence. It will be useful to get detailed information on where they are operating, the projects they are implementing, the beneficiaries they are serving, among others. The mapping tool of the ZEP2030 national secretariat may be used for this purpose.
Other potential coalition members and alliances should also be mapped, identified, and engaged. These “unusual suspects” include but are not limited to i) NGOs or POs who are outside existing CSO formations; ii) academic institutions; iv) businesses and private sector organizations; v) professional organizations; and vi) faith-based organizations. These nontraditional development actors bring in their respective agendas but also their strengths and resources which could be leveraged for ZEP2030’s local advocacy.
- Engagement of local government units — the ZEP2030 local convergence would only be able to function optimally if it works with the local government where they plan to operate. To introduce ZEP2030 to local government officials, the local convergence may hold courtesy calls and find opportunities to meet with local chief executives and other officials to introduce ZEP2030 and its objectives to them, to engage them in their local poverty reduction agenda, and to find specific points of collaboration.
Most likely, some members of the ZEP2030 local convergence already sit in local development councils and other local special bodies. These coalition-members are encouraged to bring the ZEP2030 agenda and position into the deliberations of these planning bodies. It will be strategic to bring the voice of ZEP2030 in key milestones of the local governance process, e.g. comprehensive development plan and local development investment program formulation exercises, annual budget deliberations, project monitoring. Engagement with the LGU’s participatory mechanisms, if any, are a must.
To deepen the relationship, the ZEP2030 local convergence may enter into memoranda of understanding or agreement with the LGUs involved. As ZEP2030 is a loose coalition and not an incorporated entity, the PBSP as national secretariat or the local convenor’s organization may stand as signatory for the coalition.
- Convening to draw up plans, roles, and responsibilities — At this point, the local convergence may already agree on a local agenda for ZEP2030 which defines preliminary goals and targets that are hinged on the poverty analysis described above. An initial plan which includes deepening the mapping and alignment of programs, undertaking poverty profiling and family and community visioning, and deepening partnerships with LGUs and other development stakeholders. The agenda and plan at this stage need not be perfect, and frequent adjustments based on learnings from the ground are encouraged.
Within the local coalition, roles and responsibilities may be drawn out as it sees fit. For example, focal organizations who will lead ZEP2030 action in each priority municipality or barangay may be designated. Specific functions may also be designated: for instance, an academic institution may lead the poverty assessment and profiling, while the corporate foundations may spearhead resource mobilization efforts.
SUCCESS STORIES FROM THE FIELD
ZEP2030 Cebu Convergence: A Journey to Mobilize Cities and Municipalities to End Extreme Poverty
ZEP2030’s journey to go all-in-local by expanding their work through area-based convergences had its early start in Cebu. Cebu is one of the most densely populated and highly urbanized provinces located in the Central Visayas region where pockets of poverty persist despite the decreasing poverty rates in the province in the last six years.
Cebu is also home to long-established coalitions of civil society organizations (CSO) working on different development programs and agenda in partnership with the government. The province has deep ties with the ZEP2030 network and seemed like the ideal choice to pilot the establishment of a ZEP2030 local convergence, a locally led coalition that will consolidate efforts of different CSOs to implement poverty alleviation programs and services for the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors.
Quezon City Convergence: Poverty in the Urban Realm
When people think of extreme poverty, they often think about areas in far, distant rural communities. Cities are usually depicted or expected to have modern technology, high-rise buildings, and overall, a convenient livelihood. However, ZEP2030 saw the other side to this picturesque. It recognized the slums and the struggles of those trying to get by in the painstaking route to survival in the city.
In the attempt to pivot from the thematic clusters to local convergences, the 2019 ZEP2030 General Assembly segmented roundtable discussions to invite member organizations to identify particular areas they were interested in convening – one of which was Quezon City. Many of those organizations based in the National Capital Region (NCR) expressed their liking and participated in the first conversation that would eventually form the Quezon City Convergence.
Eastern Samar Convergence: The LGU Lens
Local Convergences need not be initiated by civil-society-led organizations. ZEP2030 recognizes the roles of partners from other sectors and recognizes that each area may initiate a process of convening different from the others. Arteche, Eastern Samar is one example that local government units, with a progressive local chief executive, can successfully bring together various stakeholders towards a common goal.
Arteche is a small municipality located on the northern and eastern boundaries of Samar, approximately four to five hours away from Tacloban City. It inhabits around 16, 000 individuals yet is considered to be one of the poorest municipalities in Eastern Samar. With a vision to alleviate poverty in their municipality, Mayor Roland Boie “Bowad” Evardone strives to stimulate individual behavioral and communal change through his innovative interventions.