Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sustaining an advocacy

I have many advocacies in life and mostly brought by a need to be proactive in addressing problems or frustrations. Sustaining it is a bigger challenge as there'll be good and bad times that you just need to hurdle.

One of my longest running advocacy is the Philippine Schools Cyberfair project. With Internet cafes and online games proliferating, I hope that this competition will help develop the investigative skills among students and realize that there's so much that can be done and where they can contribute to creation of local content online.

Of course, money resources are critical in getting advocacy projects like this sustainable. However, this project is one of those that gets the least support as the number of schools joining hasn't reached by the hundreds yet. I guess that is also reflective on the state of Internet and computer use in elementary and high school in the country.

I have made some adjustment to the mechanics this year such as not requiring to have a Filipino version of an entry (in addition to English). I hope this will encourage more entries. Instead of training, I'm now budgeting resources (in case sponsorship won't come in) to procure gadgets that can be given to the teachers of the winning schools. To increase chances of getting sponsors, I've included a one thousand pesos package and will see how such will turn out.

So yes, when someone tells me that they have an advocacy, a lot of things come into my mind as to what they exactly meant by it. I believe an advocacy means --
  • Long term investment. Do it continuously until the objective is achieved.
    For the Philippine Schools Cyberfair, with more than 45,000 elementary schools and 8000 high schools, getting at least 1% will be an important breakthrough for the project. It requires visionary educators though who see the value of joining projects like this, more than just the prizes at stake.

  • Empower participants, show new talent, rather than yourself.
    They should benefit more than you.

  • Be ready to put in resources even if others are not.
    Knowing what you have makes you humble on what you can offer.
Lastly, if you truly believe in what you do, just stick to it. The people who benefit from what you do are far more important.