St. Hannibal Empowerment Centre

St. Hannibal Empowerment Center (SHEC) is a religious organization of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus. It is a community of Spirit-led persons which aims to follow Jesus Christ in his union with his Father and in his proclamation of the kingdom of God. It is an inserted community among the squatters. The goal of SHEC is to empower the poor people of Metro Manila, Philippines, through housing, livelihood, education, health, waste management, youth and values formation.

Location: Pasay City, Metro Manila

Mission: Its mission is to empower the poorest of the poor and catalyze an integral Christian transformation of urban poor communities in collaboration with the local Church by a holistic process that addresses concerns on housing, livelihood, education, health, environment and sanitation, justice and peace, youth formation and values formation. The goals of SHEC consist of assisting in alleviating poverty among urban poor communities in Pasay and other cities in Metro Manila; and building the foundation of community transformation through intensive values formation. Its objectives are, specifically, to facilitate the organization and formation of people’s organization that are self-sufficient and empowered, facilitate the values and spiritual formation and capability building of urban poor leaders, to assist the urban poor / informal settlers of Pasay and other cities in Metro Manila in realizing their dreams of achieving security of tenure through in-city relocation, to facilitate the implementation of economic programs and basic social services in urban poor communities, and to facilitate access to formal education in favor of the poor and deserving students.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Expanding livelihood opportunities for the urban poor

SHEC’s Livelihood Program aims to help the urban poor cope with their financial and economic obligations by expanding opportunities for employment and income generation. The components include skills training, micro-finance, processing/production and marketing of goods, job fairs and referrals, and access to basic commodities.

As of CY 2006, several program components were put on stream. One job fair was held in partnership with Caritas-Manila which benefited mainly young adults from the SHaCC barangays. The St. Hannibal Community Store was opened, with capital assistance from the Office of the Presidential Liaison for Religious Affairs under the Office of the President, and was accredited by the National Food Authority as an outside retailer of grains. Skills training were held on soap-making, reflexology and bead-making with technical assistance from Caritas-Manila and DSWD. The Livelihood Commitee of SHaCC is now organized and is SHEC's main partner in the implementation and management of the Livelihood Program.

For CY 2007, the Program intends to train more people on various processing skills through echo trainings at the BEC levels. It further aims to promote application of the skills gained in the training by producing the products on a micro-cottage level and link up production with markets. The models and approaches to develop micro-finance and cooperatives are also being explored with the purpose of establishing, within the next two years, the most viable approach for SHaCC. Organizational strengthening and capacitation will be intensified to enable the SHaCC to effectively manage the Program even with minimum intervention from SHEC.

The SHEC’s key consideration in advocating any livelihood undertaking is the ability and level of preparedness of the target communities to sustain and own the livelihood intervention. Hence, it is deemed more important to start from where the people are and build increments from there slowly but surely, than to introduce an ambitious project that promises big but detached from the realities of the communities. The strategy is to capitalize on the current resources of the urban poor communities, to make these community-driven, and build the capacities through complementary capital and technical assistance from external sources.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Where to

The SHEC and the St. Hannibal Christian Community came up with a three-year Strategic Plan for the calendar years 2007 to 2009. The plan outlines the critical outputs to be generated per year under each of the programs that have been designed for the SHaCC, i.e., values formation, housing, livelihood, education, youth formation, health, environmental management. The aim is to fully implement all these programs in three years time.

Within the three year period, the Values Formation Program shall have helped the SHaCC members reach higher level of maturity in being spirit-driven and can serve as inspiration in community building for other communities. The Housing Program shall have completed the transfer of land titles to all the 15 homeowners/neighborhood associations, developed the sites for housing purposes and constructed the needed housing facilities. The Youth Formation Program shall have developed and implemented a youth formation plan and trained a core of youth leaders. The Education Program shall have granted scholarship to about 300 students in the elementary, high school and college levels, and 200 young adults for technical training. The Health Program shall have developed all the barangay health centers in the seven barangays, trained at least 15 barangay health workers per barangay and set up one botika per barangay. The Livelihood Program shall have expanded the production of viable commodities to micro-cottage level, linked up with markets, set up a cooperative and established the micro-finance component of the program. The Environmental Management program shall have established one material recovery facility per barangay and promoted recycling, particularly composting, in all the barangays.

The Strategic Plan will be implemented with the help of the Archdiocese of Manila and the parishes within the SHEC service area, namely, San Juan Nepumoceno Parish, San Roque Parish and Mary Comforter of the Afflicted Parish. The SHEC is currently initiating the signing of a cooperation agreement with the local church along this line. Coordination will likewise be strengthened with other partner institutions, such as UP-PGH for the Health Program, Caritas-Manila for Education, Pasay City Government for housing, and others.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Way To Go

The SHEC’s community building approach is a five-phased cycle that centers around the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. The first phase is community immersion in which community life is experienced and viewed from the people’s perspective. The second is community organizing and mobilization which is the phase of intensive capability building and values formation, selection of community leaders, formation of groups, problem analysis and action planning by the community. The third phase proceeds with the implementation of development projects to address the needs and concerns identified by the community. The fourth phase is consolidation to evaluate experiences and learnings and to strategize for sustainability. Last but not least, the phase-out to allow the people to exercise their new found capacity for self-determination.

The year 2006 marked the commencement of the third phase of SHEC’s community building approach. All of the programs that have been identified to address the needs of the people have taken off the ground. One of these, perhaps with the most remarkable accomplishment, is the Housing Program. By the end of 2006, all fifteen homeowners/neighborhood associations in the seven barangays were organized and registered with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Boundary surveys were likewise undertaken in all the occupied properties including the identified relocation sites. The St. Hannibal Housing Program became one of the pump-priming projects of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after she was appraised of the program when she graced the 2nd Foundation Anniversary celebration of SHEC on January 13, 2006. Two St. Hannibal housing projects have already been enrolled with the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) of the Socialized Housing Finance Corporation: Phase I in Bgy. 156, Tramo; and Phase II in Bgy 165, Malibay. House construction for phases I and II also went in full swing with the assistance of Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation. Construction for Phase I is financed by Pondo ng Pinoy and Phase II is through the CMP. The other housing projects are in the stage of negotiation with the landowners. The government properties proposed for Presidential Proclamation for Socialized Housing are being negotiated with concerned government agencies: Manila International Airport Authority for Phase III; Metro Manila Development Authority and Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the accreted areas in Phases V to VII; and the Pasay City Government for Phase XI.

We have come a long way, but the road ahead stretches out to unknown and perilous parts. There by the Grace of God we go.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Rising By Degrees

The second batch of the house construction project for the St. Hannibal Homeowners Association Phase I is now halfway through completion. This is financed through a PhP 4.53 million assistance from the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation, Inc (PnPCFI) of the Archdiocese of Manila. The houses are being constructed with technical assistance from the Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Inc. The project will benefit 40 urban poor families from the informal settlers of Barangay 156 in Aurora Boulevard, Pasay City. The first batch, also financed by PnPCFI and implemented in partnership with Habitat, already benefited 34 families in the same site.

The batch 2 project aims to construct 30 new two-storey houses and renovate 10 existing houses. At present, ten new houses are nearly completed and one renovation almost done. Thirteen more houses are in various stages of construction with 15 percent to 40 percent accomplishment. The project is scheduled to be fully completed by end of May this year.