The Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) conducted an introductory session on the Reflective-Structured Dialogue (RSD) Approach including Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) developed and piloted jointly with the DILG regional office in Caraga, selected LGUs and other regional partners in Caraga to PNVSCA officials and staff and some NEDA officials from the Central Office and from Region X.

The Introduction to the RSD Approach was discussed by Mr. Ed Quitoriano which covered the basic concepts, characteristics, principles and key features of a dialogue, its dimension and structure including the 0-6 process model where the importance of active listening and reflecting before talking or reacting was emphasized. Also discussed were the purpose and the ground rules in the conduct of a dialogue; the rights of the participants; the vital role of facilitator; and the reflection and conclusion of the dialogue, underscoring the significance of the triangle of satisfaction that includes psychological, procedural and substantive.

Mr. Christopher Santiago, on the other hand, presented the Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) where he explained that the MHPSS was integrated as a feature of the RSD throughout the stages of the dialogue processes. The MHPSS take into consideration the unmapped invisible trauma carried by the displaced persons, host families/communities and indirectly impacted communities. He added that the MHPSS can be an intervention that will address psychological and psychosocial difficulties triggered or exacerbated by armed conflict and other situations of violence.

The discussion, focused on the different pointers and strategies to effectively use the dialogue as a participatory development tool and integrating MHPSS to ensure that psychosocial needs are addressed, to release inhibitions and provide safe space for the dialogue participants to be able to express comfortably.

Facilitated by Ms. Gunhild Schwitalla-Ruf, GIZ Cluster Coordinator Peace and Development in Mindanao, the session was held on 5 November 2020 from 9:00 to 11:00 in the morning through the MS Teams platform. The Dialogue Approach is one of the tools used by GIZ in its conflict transformation and peacebuilding programs in Mindanao and proposed to be adopted and customized to support the Balikabayanihan Campaign initially in Regions X and XIII.

Aside from PNVSCA officials and staff, NEDA Regional Office X (Ms. Cathy dela Rita) and NEDA OSEC (Mr. Daniel Benito) also attended the orientation.

The author is currently the Senior Volunteer Service Officer of the Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PCMED), Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.
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