PEF SE Scale up Strategy

Excerpts from PEF partnership forum, 25 November 2016 
(Roberto Calingo, PEF Executive Director)

In 2011, our strategic focus shifted to social enterprises or SEs to help rural households generate income and move out of poverty. Building on proven social enterprise models, our efforts have been geared towards increasing self-sustaining households that are capable of providing for their own basic needs.

For 2016 to 2020, we will strengthen engagement with right partners for long term-solutions to fight poverty through SEs.  We will focus on three pillars — productivity, value adding and marketing.  These will enable supportive mechanisms to strengthen governance, scale up operations, enhance resilience to risks, and spur collaborations with other organizations.

Given its considerable endowment fund, PEF can exist and be self-sustainable over a long period of time. PEF can and should sustain itself as a vibrant, dynamic and responsive partner in the long-term precisely given the nature of poverty as a long-term concern.

Secondly, our approach and nature of engagement should be multi-dimensional and holistic. Through a holistic and multi-dimensional approach, we can better respond to the issues of what keep rural farming households poor. Providing additional investments, affordable financing and capital are necessary but not sufficient to spur agricultural development.

Smart investments, technical assistance, and capacity building increase the chances of success and decrease risks; they enhance human capital; they make families and communities more resilient to natural disasters, and they make them less vulnerable to unfair competition. Thinking outside the box may result in better production, additional value-added features of commodities, and better and more creative packaging and marketing.

Despite the endowment of our foundation, we must spend resources with prudence. Aside from efficient investment of resources, there is a need to select priority areas so that limited resources will produce the greatest impact. The selection of priority areas should be based on sound reasons like the presence of credible and reliable partners, and the viability of the project given the natural and socio-economic characteristics of the locality.

The Foundation’s zeroing in on poverty reduction in specific agricultural sectors stems from the fact that this is where many of poorest in the country belong.

Aside from the lack of economic assets, poor and disadvantaged communities lack access to basic services like public utilities, housing, health, and education.

Access to basic services in these communities produces a multiplier effect that impacts not only the quality of life of households but also the socio-economic development of communities. Aside from access to water, PEF needs to ensure that its targeted communities have access to electricity and energy with a bias for renewable energy especially in far flung areas; access to health that is made sustainable through SEs even though residents have to minimally pay for it; and access to housing even only in the context of rehabilitation after calamities.

The foundations have been laid. But much work needs to be done in the coming years.