Democracy, accountability, and transparency are essential for organizational capacity. They foster trust, participation, and effective decision-making, enabling organizations to harness diverse perspectives, hold leaders accountable, and ensure transparent processes. This promotes organizational growth, efficiency, and resilience in achieving their goals. Hence, the Capacity building training on Democracy, Accountability, & Transparency has been developed by Fairtrade NAPP in collaboration with TRAIS SEA that aimed at enhancing the organizational capacity of small-scale producer organizations. The goal of this initiative is to empower these organizations to effectively manage their resources, foster inclusivity, and enforce policies that address social inequalities, particularly for vulnerable groups of society. The concept of this capacity-building initiative was developed during a consultation with small-scale producer organizations and the Fairtrade Producers Network in the Philippines.
The training has been divided into 3 parts to cover various essential aspects. Part 1 will focus on inclusive leadership, good governance, and business model development. Part 2 will cover rules formulation, parliamentary procedures, meeting management, records management, and the establishment of financial standard operating procedures. The first part of the training, spanning four days, focused on inclusive leadership and good governance. It employed various modalities such as lectures, group dynamics, workshops, breakout sessions, and guest speakers who shared success stories both online and in person. The training concluded with the Fairtrade Producer Network General Assembly, where the newly elected officers were announced and proposed amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws were presented. 60 representatives from 14 Small Producer Organizations (SPO) participated in the part 1 capacity building training.
1.Day 1 of the training: WELCOME, OVERVIEW AND LEATRA TRAINING.
On the first day of training, 43 participants representing 14 Small Producer Organizations participated. Miss Erika welcomed the participants and provided an overview of the training’s objective which focused on improving governance in producer organizations. The areas of emphasis included inclusive organizational development, financial management, and negotiation skills. She stressed the importance of democratic leadership and the need for change and improvement within the organization, extending beyond sales to the family and overall structure.
Mr. Franklin Bonifacio, TRIAS Lead Officer, facilitated the training, introducing TRIAS as an organization providing not only financial support but also capacity-building and livelihood training, savings and loan services, online marketing collaboration, and technical assistance. He introduced the Leadership Trajectory Training Module (LEATRA), which aimed to foster attitude change and transformational leadership. Participants engaged in lectures, group discussions, and activities to explore various aspects of the organization. Concepts such as inclusivity, exclusivity, and diversity were discussed to signify the importance of welcoming individuals without discrimination.
“Everyone should be welcome to the organization despite diversity.” –Mr. Franklin Bonifacio
Equality, equity, and accessibility were examined which highlighted the need to consider individual needs and ensure fair treatment. The participants recognized social justice as crucial for development and discussed its significance in achieving a more equitable society. Leadership was explored, with participants sharing their perspectives on what constitutes effective leadership. The common features of leadership were identified, emphasizing character, integrity, trust-building, influence, motivation, inspiration, and the ability to make a positive impact.
“Social Justice is what every one of us wanted, and if we can’t realize it in our country, at least we can make it happen in our own organizations.” – a representative.
The distinction between governance and management was highlighted, with governance focusing on authority and control, while management dealt with day-to-day operations. Participants gained insights into the tasks and functions of leadership and management to avoid conflicts and duplication of efforts.
“Governance, management, and leadership sometimes overlap but they should complement each other” – a representative.
Effectiveness and efficiency were briefly discussed which emphasizes the importance of doing the right things and doing them in the right way. Leadership styles were examined using the Blake and Mouton Leadership Grid Model which encourages participants to reflect on their own styles and opportunities for improvement. Overall, the first day of training received positive feedback from participants, who recognized the value of LEATRA in enhancing their leadership skills and guiding the organization’s development.
“We should aim to improve our leadership style, both at being task and people-oriented”, Mr. Franklin Bonifacio.
2. Day 2 of the Training: BREAK-UP SESSIONS; GOVERNANCE AND BUSINESS MODEL INSIGHTS
The morning session of the training began with a prayer and energizer. Participants were then asked to share their learnings using keywords, which included leadership, inclusivity, social justice, communication, attitude, IDEAS (inclusivity, diversity, equity, accessibility, and social justice), and commitment. The participants expressed that the leadership training was informative, and one participant mentioned inviting TRIAS to conduct LEATRA in their SPO.
The Fairtrade NAPP consultants then facilitated the break-up sessions for women and youth NAPP consultants. The goal was to develop plans and priorities for the next three years. During the sessions, participants discussed issues, challenges, opportunities, and interventions specific to women and youth. They also selected nominees for the Fairtrade Producer Network Board of Directors. In the women’s group discussion, participants addressed gender-related issues and identified priorities for bridging the gender gap and promoting gender equality and equity. The youth group discussed their initiatives, challenges, and goals for organizing and activating youth organizations. Their priorities included capacity-building, partnerships, advocacy, and lobbying. Several guest speakers were invited on Day 2 to present their insights on governance and business model. Former Representative Crisente Paez of AgriCoopPH discussed governance models, emphasizing the importance of capital shares and loan repayments for successful businesses. Mr Warj Dalagan shared his experience with the Department of Agriculture’s Small-Medium Enterprise Program, highlighting the advantages of certification and the economic impact of Fairtrade. Ms Anu Rai discussed the results of the recent survey Globalscan to understand consumer demand behaviours, Fairtrade Brand positioning of Fairtrade International in the market, the trends, and the marketing strategies that need to be promoted. Mr Erwin Novianto explored how Fairtrade makes a difference in improving business and proposed alternative solutions for Fairtrade producers, governments, and consumers.
The presentations sparked discussions and questions among participants, including concerns about European government policies, certification fees, exploring new markets, and the need for an enabling environment. Suggestions were made to lower certification fees and provide additional certification subsidies. It was agreed to further discuss these matters at the Regional Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
Overall, the sessions provided valuable insights into governance, gender issues, youth engagement, consumer demand behaviours, and the impact of Fairtrade on business. Participants expressed their enthusiasm for applying the knowledge gained and implementing initiatives to address the identified priorities in their organizations.
3.Day 3: General Assembly theme – “Strengthening FTPN core as an inclusive and sustainable network of Fairtrade Small Producer Organization in the Philippines.”
The General Assembly commenced with a prayer and acknowledgement of the participants, including representatives from 14 SPOs and guest speakers Mr. Paravakar Mejer, Chairperson, Fairtrade NAPP, Mr. Elvie Gayoza, Senior Manager, Trias SEA (virtual), Mr. Franklin Bonifacio of TRIAS, Mr. Ariel Guides, President, Alter Trade Foundation Philippines and MJ Ann, Sales Manager, PT Coop-Korea. The guest speakers conveyed their solidarity messages virtually, congratulating FTPN for organizing the General Assembly. Mr. Elvie Gayoza highlighted the significance of choosing capable leaders to address the organization’s challenges. He emphasized the importance of reflecting deeply before voting for leaders.
Mj Ann from PT Coop, South Korea, expressed her honour by virtually meeting the group and extending her congratulations. She encouraged the group to continue their commitment to fair trade, assuring them of Korean partners’ support. Mr. Ariel Guides, President of Alter Trade Philippines Inc., congratulated FTPN and emphasized the need to think outside the box and prioritize strengthening the organization to tackle challenges.
“I firmly believe that Fairtrade will move forward changing the trading system fair and better. Terra!” – Mj Ann.
Who would have thought that FTPN could have reached this milestone?” Mr. Ariel Guides.
Mr Pravakar Meher, Chairperson of Fairtrade NAPP, expressed his solidarity message virtually after reviewing the Constitution and By-Laws. He shared NAPP’s achievements, challenges, and prospects, including the upcoming Regional Conference in Bangkok. He discussed the need for new financial design, resolving legal and pending audits, and focusing on income generation, human rights, environment, digitalization, advocacy, partnerships, and fundraising among others.
During the official business part I, the quorum was declared, and the previous minutes were reviewed with suggested amendments for future deliberation. Chairman Sandrico Cornelio presented the Chairman’s Report, highlighting Fairtrade Producer Network’s accomplishments, increased membership, partnerships with Fairtrade NAPP and TRIAS, and various activities undertaken.
“Miracles happen every day!” – Mr Pravakar Meher.
Fairtrade Producer Network’s Treasurer Ms. Joecel Palacio presented the financial report, indicating a budget deficit and account payables. She mentioned the income generated from monthly dues but acknowledged the need for additional financial support. The financial report sourced from TRIAS was also presented. The review of the Constitution and By-Laws was presided over by Fairtrade Producer Network Chair Mr. Sandrico, with suggestions for amendments discussed for future approval. Various proposals were put forward, such as board membership representation from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, the inclusion of youth and women representatives, and the clarification of proxy voting. The election process took place by the election committee and the newly elected Board of Directors and officers were declared for the period of 2023-25, with messages delivered by each member. The board of directors then conducted the election for Chairman, Secretary General, Treasurer, Auditor, and Environment Officer.
The training concluded successfully with the achievement of its goals, and the evening was filled with celebration through singing and dancing. Overall, the General Assembly provided an opportunity for participants to elect new leaders, discuss organizational matters, and celebrate their achievements, fostering a sense of unity and commitment within the Fairtrade community.
4.Day 4: LEARNING VISIT TO LAMAC MULTIPURPOSE COOPERATIVE.
On the final day of the training, participants embarked on a learning tour to LAMAC Multi-purpose Cooperative. Despite it being a Sunday, the cooperative staff warmly welcomed the group. The tour began with a visit to the new building office, where pictures showcasing the old and new officers of the coop and recognition medals adorned the walls. The staff then guided the group to witness the cooperative’s new housing project for employees before proceeding to another building for a briefing.
LAMAC Multi-purpose Cooperative has implemented various programs and services to enhance the well-being of its members. They continue to expand their reach by establishing branches in different provinces and have formed partnerships with government agencies, business establishments, and financial institutions. The cooperative has also ventured into diverse businesses, including hotels, gasoline stations, resorts, travel and tours, water refilling stations, bakery, dairy products, and garment production.
In the afternoon, the group was guided by one of the Board of Directors to explore different areas of the cooperative. They visited the wave swimming pools, cottages, dairy farms, organic farms, housing projects, and the vast expanse of land owned by the cooperative. This learning experience provided valuable insights into the advantages of building and strengthening cooperatives while offering an enjoyable and enriching experience for the participants.
This capacity building training Part 1 was a resounding success in achieving its goal of enhancing the leadership skills of FTPN participant leaders. The feedback received from the group served as a testament to the profound understanding and appreciation they gained from the training facilitated by TRIAS. Throughout the four-day program, including the lectures and the enlightening learning tour, participants acquired valuable knowledge on how to strengthen their SPOs and contribute to the growth of FTPN as a federation. Many participants considered it the best leadership training they had ever experienced.
The newly elected officers took the opportunity to express their unwavering commitment to becoming better leaders and serving the organization to the best of their abilities. However, they acknowledged that such endeavours require constant guidance and supervision from NAPP and TRIAS to ensure sustained development as a federation. Participants universally agreed that the training was both fruitful and inspiring, particularly when learning about the success stories of cooperatives and their positive impact on members and communities. In fact, some participants expressed their intention to join cooperative branches in their respective regions, inspired by the examples shared during the training. They are also interested in the program “Big Brother, Little Brother” wherein big cooperatives will be helping newly organized individuals to become a cooperative.
While the Fairtrade movement has made significant strides, there is still a pressing need for continued efforts to challenge unfair trading practices both domestically and globally. The training served as a catalyst for change, but ongoing dedication and advocacy are required to achieve a more equitable trading system. In closing, participants were reminded of the importance of completing the follow-up sessions and encouraged to share their newfound knowledge with their members and board of directors. This dissemination of information will foster continuity and ensure that the lessons learned during the training are effectively integrated into the organizations, propelling them further on their fairtrade journey.