Philippines - What the pandemic can teach us about collaboration and networking

“The attitude we need to develop is to move away from Jesuit triumphalism, thinking that with our resources, our ingenuity, and our capacities we can solve the problems of the world. We cannot.” With these words, Fr Manoling Francisco SJ opened his presentation on lessons in partnership and collaboration at a webinar hosted by the Jesuit community of Arrupe International Residence (AIR) in Manila. Fr Francisco, who teaches theology at the Loyola School of Theology at the Ateneo de Manila University and heads the non-profit, Tanging Yaman Foundation, was invited to share his experience in mobilising relief efforts for communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent typhoons that devastated northern Philippines. Fr Francisco was able to bring together government, businesses, civil society, church, and peoples of various faiths to address the needs of those hardest hit. To date, Tanging Yaman, an organisation with only four full time staff and two casual workers, has distributed more than a thousand tonnes of dried fish, rice, vegetables, legumes, and crops; raised more than P20 million (US$400,000); and helped rice farmers increase their income by as much as 46 per cent. All these Fr Francisco says was possible because of collaboration and the trust that people have placed in them. Collaboration is in fact reflected in the foundation’s motto: “A little from many becomes much”, like the five loaves and two fish presented to the Lord, which he turned into abundance to feed the multitude. Read more…