Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian met with Ambassador of Finland to the Philippines Juha Markus Pyykkö and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov in separate courtesy calls on Monday, March 27, 2023, to discuss possible partnerships on the different areas of social protection and development.
During his meeting with Ambassador Pyykkö, Secretary Gatchalian discussed the Department’s initiatives to streamline its existing programs and processes and to revitalize its Social Welfare and Development Center for Asia and the Pacific (SWADCAP) as an academy to further equip and train the social service workforce, especially the social workers; non-government organizations; local government personnel and other service providers offering and implementing social protection packages.
The Secretary also mentioned that the DSWD is gathering best practices, contents, and training modules, among others for the academy.
In response, Ambassador Pyykkö introduced the study on the Home-Grown School Feeding (HGSF) Programme of the Finnish Government. The study, which was led by the Finnish Centre of Expertise in Education and Development (FinCEED), aims to provide comprehensive analysis of the scope, gaps, effective and enabling interventions, and recommendations for the implementation of HGSF in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Furthermore, the Ambassador expressed his commitment to share the study with the DSWD. The Secretary said that the study may be adapted by the Department for its Supplementary Feeding Program and may also be utilized in the academy.
In a separate meeting, Secretary Gatchalian met the representatives of UNICEF to expand collaboration on child protection. The Department plans to assess its Centers and Residential Care Facilities (CRCFs) and upskill and equip the house parents and other professional practitioners inside the centers. The Secretary also recommended actions to be taken related to promoting pathfinding models to end violence against children at the local level.
Country Representative Dendevnorov vowed to share their best practices; help the Department in the assessment of the centers; and offered to take part in the academy by sharing their modules and to train the trainers of the academy on areas of social protection, poverty reduction, and planning and budgeting among others.
The DSWD continues to build and expand its partnerships with other organizations for the improvement of the social welfare workforce and to better improve the quality of services for the benefit of Filipinos.