How Collaboration can inspire New Leadership skills in the Philippines

map of current brite pilots

The Barangay Resilience and Innovation Through Empowerment Project began as five organizations with different backgrounds began to ask the question—what is the most systemic way to build resilience in the Philippines?

The Philippines isn't a stranger to disasters—its geography makes it host to yearly typhoons, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Disaster Resilience and practices in its Reduction and Risk Mitigation are coded into public administrators' toolkits and agendas. However, no one was prepared for the type of non-linear and drawn out state of emergency that COVID-19 has brought along with it. The cycle of lockdowns have led many communities to rely on their immediate local government leaders for direction and protocols. This pandemic is cementing the fact that lasting resilience can only be achieved if those who can respond first and efficiently, are equipped with the right skills to do so. 

In the Philippines, the government's firstliners in responding to the pandemic have been the barangay (the most primary local government unit). It was apparent that the new emerging inequality for Filipinos depended on whether their local governments can provide for its needs and safety during community quarantines. Some with innovative and empathetic leaders were able to spare their constituents from the worse of COVID. Other locales whose leaders were not ready or were not empowered to cope with the pandemic, couldn't keep up with the demands and complexity of this long emergency. 

Seeing this new inequality, leaders of Ashoka Philippines, Kaya Natin!, xchangeA Single Drop for Safe Water and Limitless Labs convened to discuss how might we empower barangays as the key determinants for resilience of Filipino communities?