Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Philippines has a poor record at collaboration...

... or something that sounded like that.

Two months ago, I had an online exchange with an executive of HotCity Wireless, a non-profit organization "established to promote the use of low-cost wireless technology as a media and tool for economic, social and educational advancement to underprivileged citizens in the Philippines."

The keyword "underprivileged" has always been on my radar, which partly explained why I wanted to find out more about what the people behind the organization are doing. In the course of our Skype chat, the gentleman made me realize how poorly Filipinos fare at precisely that - collaboration, cooperation. I offered no apologies, but thought perhaps the growing popularity of ICT tools could improve Filipinos behavior in community building situations.

Then I came upon a UN-sponsored article that echoes the same observation, in the context of Engaged Governance (a governance strategy that links citizens more directly into the decision-making process of the State in order to enable them toinfluence the public policies and programmes in a manner that impacts morepositively on their social and economic lives) .

Jeremy R. Barns states, that the country's experience:

"given the actual state of the country today, highlights questions as to [Engaged Governance's] ultimate efficacy in the presence of what has been observed to be the country’s poor record of institution-building, its unfortunate traditions of politicized bureaucracy and populist leaderships and, perhaps most significantly, long-standing political economy considerations involving deeply entrenched vested interests among the political and economic elite." (emphasis mine)

Nothing is lost. Otherwise, why would HotCity Wireless continue their initiative in a small barangay in Quezon. The thought that hope springs eternal is probably what drives such efforts.

But as a once popular song goes, we can start with the man in the mirror. On a lighter note, how about checking out this Collaboration Quotient (CQ) Worksheet. Should give us insights into our personal CQ.

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