Opportunities in challenging times

Philip Felipe, Bayan Academy Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Bayan Academy, based in the Philippines, shares how it works, its mission, and how its partnership with Oxfam helped it become a big contributor in the WASH sector.

In the words of Dr. Eduardo A. Morato, Jr., Chairman and President of Bayan Academy, “who would have thought that there could be so many opportunities in toilets? And not as just as source of livelihood of communities, but as a chance for building partnership among different stakeholders and organizations”.

Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development considers itself a learning organization emerging and evolving as situations unravel and new opportunities for innovation present themselves. Also as a social development institution, it takes on development with a spontaneous approach and serendipitous one. We learn from our experiences, document them, publish and disseminate them.

Building the nation from the bottom up is what Bayan Academy believes its contribution to be growth and development in the Philippines. All our undertakings are geared towards the uplifting of the Filipino people, particularly the poor, marginalized and dis-empowered. We do this through the democratization of the ‘5Es’ – entrepreneurship, education, employment, environment and ethics.

As a small organization with a big heart, Bayan Academy must always be true to its mission
As a small organization with a big heart, Bayan Academy must always be true to its mission by continuously asking itself: What can it do that is not being done yet? How can it make things better for its end beneficiaries?

Not losing our sense of service to the marginalized, Bayan Academy positions itself as an intellectual, social, human and community capital builder. Our ability to network and ally with like-minded institutions, both locally and internationally, whilst leveraging our resources and expertise is a path that continuous to bring us to avenues where it is mostly needed.

Bayan Academy’s partners with Oxfam on the implementation of Microenterprise Development of WASH-related Enterprises and Entrepreneurs in Haiyan affected areas of Bantayan Island, Northern Cebu and Eastern Samar. The partnership came as both a surprise and an opportunity. It was a surprise because why would Oxfam partner with a small organization such as us? But it was an opportunity as Bayan Academy considered it a chance to deliver its social and development technologies in high-need and deserving areas. Through Oxfam, Bayan Academy could expand its services to a level compliant to the standards of an international NGO. It could showcase not only its ability to deliver, but also to document its research, training, monitoring and evaluation activities, in such a short period of time.

The Oxfam partnership was able to make Bayan Academy known in the WASH community. Oxfam influenced us positively in designing and developing gender-sensitive programs. They trained all our staff on gender awareness and sensitivity. Though the partnership was short-lived, the experience for Bayan Academy was so rich that it is now ready to replicate the best practices learnt in other communities. 

Though the partnership was short-lived, the experience for Bayan Academy was so rich

Through the program, Bayan Academy produced two Sanitation Value Chain Analyses and a number Training Needs Analyses, as a basis of finalizing a sanitation-based entrepreneurship and management program with coaching and mentoring components.  We trained more than 1,200 direct beneficiaries and affected more than 4,800 indirect beneficiaries. The program also convened WASH players in these areas and was provided with Organizational Support Delivery Training. Reinforcing awareness on the benefits of having a toilet, two major sanitation market fairs were held with the support from private and public organizations. An online platform was also developed to raise awareness of the need to address the problem on sanitation.

A challenge we faced is that all stakeholders needed to have an integrated approach from the start of the project, but Bayan Academy’s entry came at the later stages. We had to deliver our expected outputs quickly as the program was already coming to an end. Developing the entrepreneurial spirit of the community-based enterprises is a process that must be monitored as you go, and we realized that organizational development and enterprise development must go hand in hand to create greater impact.

Nevertheless, the program was a good start in bringing together the grassroots, government, local NGOs, businesses, organized communities, business owners/ entrepreneurs, international organizations, barangay health workers, cooperatives and individuals working together to push for WASH and Markets program.


Philip Felipe, Bayan Academy