The Self-Reliant Organizations for Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (SROs-CARP) Project is a special project committed by the Department of Labor and Employment in the implementation of the government's Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
The project is being implemented by the then Bureau of Rural Workers (now Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns under the merged functions of BRW and BWYW) since the inception of the CARP in 1989 under the Republic Act 6657, in which the DOLE, under Section 41 of the said law, has been identified as one of the members of the Presidental Agrarian Reform Council (PARC).
DOLE's involvement in the CARP thru its SRO-CARP Project can be seen as an opportunity to promote continuing employment and improving productivity and income and rural enterprise development among agrarian reform beneficiary-cooperatives in selected CARP covered plantation of commercial farms.
The said project aims to assist the agrarian reform beneficiaries in selected plantation farms to develop their competencies and organizational strengths through institutional development and management of farm operations towards optimum agricultural productivity, viability and sustainability for the farmer-beneficiaries/plantation workers, in partiular, and the development of their Agrarian Reform Communities (ARC) in general.
Since CY 1990 up to CY 2009, the project has already developed and provided assistance to a total of 27 agrarian reform beneficiary-organizations in selected regions and most of which are now positively contributing to the growth and development of their respective agrarian reform communities. In fact some of them have been awarded as Outstanding Agrarian Reform Cooperatives both at the local and national levels.
The project has five (5) major project components namely:
- Capacity Building and Strengthening of ARB-Cooperatives - which involves provision of development assistance and interventions that are related to the strengthening of ARB cooperatives capacities to enable them to attain the level of maturity of a self-reliant organization.
- Sustainable Agribusiness Development and Management - which aims to improve their farm production, productivity and marketing, including provision of knowledge and skills in strategic agribusiness planning and management; and facilitation of their access to more credit for working capital and farm/crop development, technologies, market network, consultancy services and physical infrastructures.
- Entrepreneurship and Rural Enterprise Development - this component aims to develop and enhance the capability of the beneficiaries to identify and manage other on-farm, off-farm and non-economic activities providing additional livelihood for the members of the cooperatives.
- ARC Alliance and Partnership Building - this would enable the cooperatives to develop or initiate and participate in institutional mechanisms, with other individuals, groups and agencies, that will facilitateexchange of information, technology, resources and experiences for the purpose of furthering their organizational objectives in mutually beneficial ways.
- Gender, Local Governance and Social Protection and Welfare Advocacies - this component will encourage the coops to harness the utmost participation of women, in leadership and management of its various organizational units and projects. It will also develop the capability of the coop in seeking representation, participation and advocacy in the local development councils. Advocacies on workers' social protection and welfare, particularly in the concept, principles of ILO's "Decent Work" development framework shall also be carried out.
In carrying out these important project components, the Department is employing the following strategies:
- Deployment of full-time, qualified and competent contract of service-based Community Facilitators (CFs) who would observe, listen and discuss with the coop officers and members their issues, problems and concerns, particularly those that concerns the affairs of their coops. They shall facilitate the resolution of these issues and concernsby providing them consultancy, advisory and referral services. In effect the officers and members of the coop would learn to manage their coops through hands-on capability-building approach.
- Provision of Capability - Building Trainings - short-term (3 to 5 days) trainings are provided for the officers and members in the following skills areas: Organizational development and management; entrepreneurship development; project development and management; and agribusiness/farm management.
- Alliance/Partnership Building - Convergence Planning is the mechanism that will be adapted to facilitate networking and commitment setting various CARP Implementing Agencies, local government and non-government organizations.