DAVAO City, PH — More than a hundred participants representing almost 50 organizations took part on March 6 in the first-ever German Aid Actors Forum Mindanao that was co-hosted by the German Embassy in the Philippines and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
While most participants didn’t know each other, they all have two things in common – they are operating in Mindanao and are partly or fully funded by German public money.
Highlighting the event was the discussion by Dr. Roland Schissau, deputy head of Mission of the German Embassy in Manila, about the changing set up in Mindanao and future German development engagement in the region.
“A strong feature of our cooperation lies in the different faces of interaction – we create synergies through formal and informal interactions, mutual planned interventions and an active exchange and knowledge transfer within the projects,” one participant summed up the experience of attending this historic event in Mindanao.
The event was divided into two sessions, with the morning session focused on the Mindanao Coordination Meeting (MCM), which was a follow-up to a similar event in late 2016. The afternoon session was the meeting of representatives of almost least 50 development, aid and non-government organizations — local, national and international — working in Mindanao that are partially or fully funded by Germany.
During the MCM, representatives of the GIZ-implemented projects and program that work on and support the peace processes and conflict transformation, responsible land governance, inclusive resource management, internally displaced persons as well as public-private partnership in the agriculture sector such as the Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management (COSERAM) Program, Strengthening Capacities on Conflict Induced Forced Displacement in Mindanao (IDP) Program, and Development Partnership Projects with the Private Sector in the Agriculture (Agri-DPP), with the Civil Peace Service (CPS) and ForumCPS reflected on past works and discussed about future cooperation in Mindanao.
“I was really surprised how many different organizations in Mindanao are funded by German public money. I am really looking forward to deepen some of the contacts I made today,” said one participant working in the healthcare sector during the afternoon session where all development and aid actors from local, national and international NGOs, as well as political and other foundations in Mindanao, interacted with other German-funded programs and projects and stakeholders for the very first time.
Other participants echoed this participant’s statement in different ways. And the very positive feedback on the event could indicate that German funded development engagement in Mindanao will benefit through a higher degree of coordination and cooperation between the stakeholders in the future.
Lorenz Bitsch is an EZ trainee assigned to the GIZ-COSERAM principal advisor’s office in Manila.