The current NASSA country program has evolved in three phases. First, the 1994-1997 National Pastoral Plan (NPP) which sought to respond to the call of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) mandating the social action apostolate to provide social services to the BECs.
Succeeding NPP was the 1997-2000 Country Program II, credited for fine-tuning NASSA’s services to match the needs of the DSACs which created venues for the articulation of five thematic programs: 1) Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, 2) Ecology Protection and Promotion of the Integrity of Creation, 3) Promotion of Children’s Development and Women’s Rights, 4) Development of Indigenous Peoples’ Communities, and 5) Work for Peace and Development.
In 2001, the National Pastoral Consultation for Church Renewal (NPCCR) and the 31st NASAGA prompted NASSA to rethink the existing strategy and direction, resulting in the conception of the current BEC-Based Integral Evangelization Country Program that enshrines the BECs as the focus and locus of the DSACs’ services.
NASSA identified four specific areas of intervention under this country proram: 1) poverty alleviation, 2) democratic governance, 3) ecology and integrity of creation, and 4) peace and development.
BEC-BASED INTEGRAL EVANGELIZATION PROGRAM
The BEC-based Integral Evangelization Program is NASSA’s core response in confronting development challenges facing the poor. It is “integral” because it delivers all the thematic programs in a holistic manner. The “evangelization” aspect defines the program’s basic thrust: building communities for social action, justice and peace within the context of total human development firmly grounded on Gospel values. This “integral evangelization” approach sets NASSA’s paradigm apart from the traditional service delivery system oftentimes characterized by “mere” dole-outs.
The program enhances BEC’s participation in development work, local governance and proactive advocacies against issues that do not promote the common good.
The regular conduct of Community Organizing Participatory action Research and Household Profiling (COPAR) teaches the community to observe, through statistical research, their sociopolitical environment so they can come-up with concrete solutions to issues and problems existing in their locality.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
NASSA’s Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development program promotes pro-environment and pro-farmer agriculture focusing on the formation and development of BECs, people’s organizations (POs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals who adopt the technology and practice of sustainable agriculture (SA).
The program supports projects and initiatives on organic-based and natural farming methods, cooperative development, capability building and farmers’ empowerment, food and agri-based productivity, rural community development programs, networking, and advocacy campaigns promoting farmers’ rights.
The Sustainable Agriculture Network, formed in 2002, popularizes viable strategies in combating rural poverty and the adverse effects of globalization. It is presently composed of 70 partner-organizations with 55 DSACs (30 of which have BECs), 11 NGOs and four POs/agrarian reform communities.
ECOLOGY PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF THE INTEGRITY OF CREATION
The Ecology Protection and Promotion of the Integrity of Creation program seeks to preserve ‘the sustainability of life and the whole of creation in response to the imminent danger of environmental destruction.
This is through building and mobilizing ecology activists and promoters who will seek to prevent or deter development aggression and at the same time promote community-based ecology initiatives.
NASSA’s Ecology program implements community-based projects, education and skills development, institutional networking, and advocacy campaigns to address issues related to mining, deforestation, solid waste disposal, and coastal/marine resource exploitation.
CHILDREN AND WOMEN DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Through the Children and Women Development and Social Services program, NASSA addresses the following concerns of children and women in the country: lack of basic education due to poverty, exposure to violence and unsafe environment brought about by development aggression, militarization and high urban poor population.
The program strengthens social delivery system through the enhancement of Information and Education Campaign (IEC) activities on children’s and women’s rights; creation of Development Programs that promote gender-sensitivity within and among BECs, organization of abused/street children, provision of legal services, and technical assistance in education, health and nutrition initiatives; and formation of Social Policy Development/Advocacy through consultation/conferences, and collaboration with various private institutions and government agencies implementing women-and-child friendly laws and ordinances in the provincial, municipal and barangay levels.
RELIEF AND REHABILITTATION
The highlight of NASSA’s disaster response proclaims the Christian character of aid – as a witness to charity borne from faith, a reconstitution and promotion of individual and collective self-sufficiency and responsibility, and a community-oriented disaster program.
The Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R) program aims to reduce communities’ vulnerability to disasters as it strengthens peoples’ capacity to respond effectively and systematically through resource generation for immediate relief and rehabilitation needs such as housing and livelihood projects, capability-building and training, disaster management and planning, research and documentation, campaigns and advocacy.
Alay Kapwa (AK) is the Lenten evangelization action program of the Philippine Catholic Church. Created in 1975 by the Catholic bishops, it is implemented to bring about a society enlivened by the Gospel values of justice, peace and love for our less fortunate brothers and siters.
Alay Kapwa means offering (alay) who we are and what we have to our neighbor (kapwa) as an expression of solidarity with the other – exemplified for Christ’s death on the Cross. “Offering one’s self to others” is the guiding spirit of the AK Program, calling all to share time, talent and treasure with the poor.
The AK Program facilitates NASSA’s local fund raising initiatives. Contributions to the AK Program are used to support and sustain social action initiatives on peace advocacy, democratic governance, ecology, sustainable agriculture, children’s rights, disaster management, and other development projects by NASSA, DSACs and BECs.
NASSA’s Peacebuilding program addresses issues arising from militarization and insurgencies, clan/tribal conflicts, development aggression, terrorism threats, and territorial/agrarian disputes that displace local communities and/or violate human rights. Thus, NASSA envisions transforming the BECs as catalysts in communities who suffer from the adverse effects of unpeace.
Peacebuilding strategies include grassroots-level awareness-training and formation of peace groups composed of all religions, races, and ethnicities in the village, diocesan and national levels; income generation project and microfinance development within the community; and advocacy and lobbying for good governance and rights-based campaigns.
PROJECT SERVICES AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION UNIT
NASSA’s Project Services and Resource Mobilization Unit (PSARMU) is primarily responsible for monitoring different thematic projects. PSARMU conducts evaluation and pre-funding assessment of project proposals; facilitates mobilization of project funds; manages the technical and operational aspects of projects services and resource mobilization; facilitates training on project development, management and fund administration for project applicants and partners; and assists in the continuing process of organizational formation and development.
ADVOCACY, RESEARCH AND COMMUNICATIONS
NASSA’s Advocacy, Research and Communications (ARC) unit conceptualizes and implements NASSA’s advocacy campaigns, research/statement, promotional and social-marketing strategies, capacity-building, and thematic program support.
ARC assists the Church in articulating its position on relevant issues and influences decision- and policy-makers into taking a pro-people and pro-poor stand. It responds to the advocacy, research and development communications requirements of the BECs’, DSACs’ and NASSA’s thematic and special programs. It utilizes alternative media channels to promote the BECs’, DSACs’ and NASSA’s products and services.