Trinitian Center for
Taking the Challenge…
The Trinitian Center for Community Development (TCCD) is the official arm of the University to carry out the third function of the University being a higher education institution –that is Extension. The Trinity University of Asia in its quest for excellence desires an interdependent approach of the three functions of Higher Education Institutions that is alive, nurtured and sustained towards the total transformation of all human beings it has favored to serve.
As a Christian school, the Vision of the Trinity University of Asia is explicit in its quest for people’s transformation where it envisions achieving “A premier Christian University in Asia and the Pacific transforming a community of learners as leaders towards a humane society.”. This vision is the guiding torch for the integrated approach in the delivery of service. In the fulfillment of its vision is the mission statement that provides its direction as follows: 1. Instill Christian values in all its academic programs, co-curricular and extra curricular activities; 2. Provide effective and efficient services for quality learning environment; 3. Extend our ideals of service learning to our partners by empowering communities to be self-reliant and by collaborating with other institutions; and 4. Encourage self-empowerment among employees to gain higher competence and better skills towards service excellence; and 5. Exercising situational and servant leadership in the sound management of our human and material resources.
The Legal Bases
The Philippine Constitution, Article XIV, Section 1, provides that the State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make accessible to all.
The Republic Act No. 7722, an act creating the Commission on Higher Education has the following thrusts and programs as follows: Efficiency; Quality and Excellence; Relevance and Responsiveness and Access and Equity.
The CHED’s vision clearly states that all higher education institution in the Philippines serve as a key player in the education and integral formation of professionally competent, service-oriented, principled and productive citizens. Through its tri-fold functions of teaching, research and extension services, it becomes a prime mover of the nation’s socio-economic growth and sustainable development (Peralta, 2004). Parallel to this and usually said in a simplified manner is what Dr Epi Palispis would always say about the functions of CHED: Instruction, which is the dissemination of knowledge; Research the generation or acquisition of knowledge; and Extension, the application of the knowledge.
The University Extension programs and services is designed and rooted from the biblical perspective that “whatever you did to the least of your brothers and sisters in Christ you have done it unto me” (Matthew 25: 35-40)
The TUA-TCCD Approach
a. Integral Community Development
A human person is not just a body. He is corporeal and ethereal; sentient and rational; flesh and spirit. A human person is a ‘universe’ – a whole albeit a partial whole is multifaceted with each facet overlapping the others making him dimensional and yet always whole. Thus, if one is to be totally empowered then his development should not come in piecemeal basis but always in symmetrical consideration of all the facets that make for his wholeness. Furthermore, as Aristotle once put it, “man is a social being” meaning, primordial in his nature is his need to interact, thus making him a member of a group – family, peers, community and society; a part of the national community; and of the international community. His story already a mélange of forces and factors is inevitably and perpetually linked with a bigger story in ever widening circles that commits him to a role that would make him shape and be shaped by the cosmos considerably bigger than his own person.
Total human development is achieved through total self-empowerment at all levels. The development that empowers all human dimensions without exclusion and is responsive to the needs of people at various levels of their development spells justices, peace, and well-being-ness. Such essence of development has also been affirmed by Mahbub ul Haq, (1999) who described development as:
"The basic purpose of development is to enlarge people's choices. In principle, these choices can be infinite and can change over time. People often value achievements that do not show up at all, or not immediately, in income or growth figures: greater access to knowledge, better nutrition and health services, more secure livelihoods, security against crime and physical violence, satisfying leisure hours, political and cultural freedoms and sense of participation in community activities. The objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives."
b. Three Components of Learning (espoused by Dr Mina Ramirez) as bases for Understanding the Need for Community Service
There are three (3) dimensions of the learning process that is necessary for people to understand their responsibility towards other people especially the poor and marginalized sectors of our society. These are three questions that can serve as guide in the integration process. First there is the need to understand the WHY. The “why” provides us with the philosophical belief and worldview including our perspective of the human person. In this particular component the person determines his way of seeing things, process what he sees and he discovers, reflect and develop his motive for action. This component also ushers him or her to do his vision for a better world. This is also our faith based perspective that is anchored on the Christian philosophy that God is our Creator and the Doer of all that we have in God’s creation.
The second learning component is the WHAT. The “What” provide us the realities in life that we see in our everyday encounter with peoples. These realities can be learned through the various theoretical frameworks of analysis and even learned with new research approaches. This part of the component is making oneself aware with the physical, social, cultural, economic, political, ecological and other aspects to better understand the human person. These realities will serve as the basis to further the thought of what can be done to address such realities.
The third learning component is the HOW. The “How” is the process that will bridge the gap between a person’s vision for other human beings and the philosophy which is rooted in his or her faith perspective where his worldview is anchored, and finally the theories and analytical tools that will match or enhanced with that of the human person’s belief system.
Community Development Paradigm
(adopted from the context of the Philippine Experience, Prof. Manny Luna’s Paper on Rethinking Community Development)
The ultimate goals of community development are: Promotion of people’s well-being and welfare; enhancement of people’s potential and capabilities; and active participation of the people through collective actions in the process of change and transformation.
In support of these goals are three (3) important fields of community development practice:
- COMMUNITY RESOURCES MANAGEMENT- In this field it will cover the areas of economic development, social enterprises development, community environment and disaster management;
- COMMUNITY EDUCATION- In this field the areas include conscientization, community value formation, ,skills development for collective action;
- AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZING- include sectoral organizing; area-based organizing and alliance and coalition building
This paradigm requires the process of interdependence, meaning genuine total. human development to be achieved requires that the three fields must be considered. It is important that the area of organizing is weaved in the whole process of people’s empowerment so that the community people feels the ownership of the programs and projects that they desire to achieve for their total being.
The TCCD programs and directions are anchored on this development paradigm for total community empowerment and sustainability.
SYNERGIZING THE INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
TOWARDS BUILDING COMMUNITIES
It is on the assumption that communities have different problems, issues and concerns and therefore strategies and approaches to address this must also be uniquely packaged and implemented with the maximum participation of community people. The programs that can be designed must be based from people’s perspective of their need and not based on an outsider’s point of view.
The University curricular offerings are the side arm of the University Extension Programs but the different Colleges in the University are tapped by their expertise e.g. College of Education and Arts and Science is in-charge of the literacy and other related matters ; the College of Medical Technology address diagnostic tests, preventive, and promotive concerns of partner communities; the College of Nursing for access to health services; College of Business Administration and College of Hospitality and Tourism Management for livelihood training; the Graduate school is in-charge for developing evaluation instruments as well as monitoring tools and assist Colleges do impact studies; our Chaplain’s office takes charge for spiritual nurturance; and other Colleges and other Units including the Non-teaching personnel contributes towards the self-empowerment of our partner communities in different levels of engagement. Hence, each of the discipline carries with them their own expertise that is in line with the development paradigm but these programs are based on facts and needs of the communities being assisted.
The TCCD Process of Integrating and Working with Communities
The Road to Self-Empowerment of People
The general strategy of the TCCD is partnering with a poor community where all the expertise and niche of the different Colleges and Units in the University are maximized that can make an impact in the lives of the people being assisted in the community.
1. Pre-entry (the need to conduct orientation about the University and its programs for partnership.
2. Formalize University Entry for Community Engagement and Partnership
- Enter into a Memorandum of Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding. Usually the community that is decided upon is one that is hopeless, oppressed, poverty-stricken and exploited or marginalized in the society. The terms and responsibilities for the school and the community are contained in the Memorandum of Agreement. In the case of the University, the MOA is for 5 years.
- Another way: Act on immediate invitation from local communities that seek assistance to assist in their problems, issues, concerns that they are confronted with. This partnership is called “open partnership” or “open engagement”. The process is determined based from the need of the requesting party and the response is based from the capability of the University through TCCD.
3. Conduct Participatory Action Research. The need to complete a Profile of the Community to determine the needs and possible partnership with the University.
4. Preparing the Ground
- Seat down for a round table discussion with all heads/coordinators of all existing disciplines to be familiar with the results of the research and to determine areas for collaboration among the different disciplines
- Assess the capacity of each College, who will be in-charge in responding the problems and concerns of the community.
5. Sustaining Partnership
- Assist the community to do their own vision and community plan;
- Conduct sessions to help the community identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) using the community asset mapping approach;
- Tie up with the data that was gathered by the school and validate with the community;
- Identify resources needed as well as networks to respond to complement what the community can put up to realize the projects
6. Launch the Community Projects
- Implement the agreed projects according to the needs of the people;
- The different disciplines in the school will also provide technical assistance to the community
- Regular visits to the project sites will ensure the smooth flow of the implementation process;
- There is a need to do a Gantt chart for the different activities being done by the school in coordination with the different disciplines to avoid overlapping of schedules
- Evaluation is an important area in any program or project/s undertaken or implemented. It is necessary to consider that evaluation does not only happen after the project is implemented- it should start from its project concept until it is completed;
- All programs and projects must be documented from its inception until the completion of the project;
- All gains must be written and packaged to be used for instructional materials and future program planning and dissemination to public