Written by: Fely M. Baday
As part of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency’s (PNVSCA) initiatives to build volunteer statistics, it brought together 18 representatives from various sectors on 22 November 2023 to share experiences in implementing volunteer programs and projects and explore ways to improve and sustain volunteer-related data collection.
In presenting the activity’s rationale, PNVSCA Deputy Executive Director Ela Victoria F. Sarmago emphasized that the workshop is a step towards the generation of accurate and reliable volunteer-related data that will be used as reference by PNVSCA and key stakeholders such as the policymakers and volunteer managers in the review and formulation of policies and guidelines concerning the national volunteer service program consistent with national development priorities. She added that the volunteer data would also be useful in the design of good volunteering models and volunteer management strategies. Hence Ms. Sarmago encouraged the NGAs and HEIs to join PNVSCA in its journey toward the collection of reliable data for accurate volunteer statistics.
On the other hand, PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James D. Gawe expressed optimism in his message that with the collaboration of the various national government agencies (NGAs) and higher education institutions (HEIs), volunteer statistics will be accurately collected and utilized to measure the effectiveness and impact of national volunteer service programs. And with the upcoming celebration of the National Volunteer Month (NVM) in December, ED Gawe urged everyone to actively participate in the different NVM initiatives, which will commence with the National Kickoff Ceremony on December 1st in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte.
To set the context of the workshop, PNVSCA’s Supervising Volunteer Service Officer Fely M. Baday gave a brief orientation on the basic concepts of volunteerism and volunteering for development, and PNVSCA’s role in volunteerism governance in the Philippines. Subsequently, Parole and Probation Administration’s (PPA) Senior Probation Officer Rosario T. Labastida shared their experiences in engaging Volunteer Probation Assistants under the Rehabilitation Program and highlighted PPA’s monitoring and evaluation mechanism.
The succeeding breakout groups allowed participants to gain insights from the volunteering programs and initiatives of one another as each agency and office shared their data collection practices. In one of the workshops, participants were able to compare the volunteering data or performance indicators that they gather with the data that PNVSCA gathers through its Volunteer Engagement in the Public Sector (VEPS) reporting system and the Quarterly Volunteer Statistics (QVS) report form. Through this, the participants realized that many of the data being gathered are similar across agencies including PNVSCA; for example, the number of volunteers and volunteer organizations engaged, sectoral distribution, geographic scope or coverage, type of beneficiaries, program/project duration, fund source, and outputs and outcomes. For standard reporting of data, PNVSCA recommended the use of VEPS which is an online reporting system and the QVS form, a reporting tool developed with stakeholders in 2022.
To ensure the quality and ability of volunteering data as well as the sustainability of data collection and reporting, the participants also identified the challenges that they encountered and recommended corresponding solutions or strategies to address these. The workshop ended with the participants’ commitment to provide volunteering data to PNVSCA to support evidence-based decision-making and enhance the overall effectiveness of volunteer service programs in the country.
The thirteen (13) participating NGAs and HEIs are DOJ-Parole and Probation Administration (PPA), National Youth Commission (NYC), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Laguna Polytechnic State University (LSPU), UP System Ugnayan ng Pahinungod (UP), Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), and National University (NU) -Manila and NU-Dasmarinas. The workshop was held at the Function Hall of Max’s Restaurant along Quezon Avenue, Quezon City.
The author is currently a Volunteer Service Officer at the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.
(Visit PNVSCA website (www.pnvsca.gov.ph) and PNVSCA Facebook (facebook.com/PNVSCA) for the COVID-19 response survey link, stories and information on volunteering in response to COVID-19).