Welcome back to another blog on INA’s trip to the Philippines! Wednesday and Thursday in-country were very exciting, as we collaborated with other NGOs, and got to see some of our projects in High Schools first-hand!

Wednesday saw us networking with other international development charities. Our INA CEO, Pri Fernando, got us in contact with Norwegian Mission Alliance Philippines, or NMAP for short. Vineyard  (and we) are lucky to have a really good working relationship with NMAP, as they had already done a lot of mentoring and workshops with the Vineyard team. We discussed with them what incorporating more child protection into both of our programs could look like, and some of the challenges people might have when reporting child abuse.

Thursday was very exciting for us; we got to travel to a High School to see how our programs reached young people! The only bad part was the traffic; in most cities, even when it’s bumper-to-bumper, everyone is still able to trickle through. This didn’t seem to happen where we were, as it felt like perpetual gridlock for hours.

When we did make it to the High School, we managed to catch some kids training for interschool sports, playing a game of ‘Sepak Takraw’; like volleyball, but where one can use any part of their body to hit the ball!

From this High school, we walked to a nearby health centre to visit a local COMSCA group (see more on COMSCA in my ‘Monday’ blog). Catherine, INA’s Programs and Compliance Officer, took the opportunity to sit down with this group’s members and hear about their experiences and learnings from being part of this microfinance initiative (see right).

This was especially nice, because we just got to sit and listen to them speak (via a translator) on what they like about the group. Being on the ground makes this type of communication easier. Talking and listening directly to participants is not something I’ve ever done; you can’t do it over Skype when there are connection issues online, and translation issues!

We got back to our hostel at 8pm, tired from a long day but happy with all the work we had witnessed.

Thanks for sticking with us for this reflection piece! Our next blog is our final blog for this series. I’ll be discussing the last two days of our Philippines trip, which involved a lot of reflection on our work at International Needs Australia. Looking forward to sharing stories with you next time! – Preeti

Preeti mentions our COMSCA training program in this blog. To invest in a COMSCA training program with INA, click here