17 June 2013

My Summer 2013: Definitely ANSAya

by Rona Gie Amaranto

Summer. Beaches. Vacation.

However, a vacation full of novels, mangas and animes is not possible this year. According to our BS Development Communication curriculum in UP Los BaƱos, we have to take our on-the-job training this summer. Back in March, I thought, “Goodbye fun summer; hello work”. Little did I know I was about to experience one of the best, if not the best, summer vacations I’ve had in my 18 years of existence.

Being a part of the Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) Team of ANSA-EAP for more than one month has allowed me to experience things I never thought I would enjoy. On the first day of our internship, we were brought to a meeting for one of the pilot projects of CPA, the performance audit of the CAMANAVA Flood Control Project. There, we met COA directors, auditors, engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other CSO stakeholders from across the country, like the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government (CCAGG). Frankly, I was starstruck to see some of our government’s high ranking officials. And as our internship progressed—after a series of meetings, seminars and workshops—the experience of working with the composite audit team is really unforgettable.

I also experienced fieldwork by accompanying survey enumerators as they interviewed the residents of Barangays Commonwealth, Kaligayahan and Tandang Sora in Quezon City to check the local government’s compliance in the Solid Waste Management Act. We get to meet the residents and talk to them. But the experience did not stop with that; we also got to experience processing survey data. It was my first time doing such a task, and I must say that I had a love-hate relationship with MS Excel during those weeks. I learned how to use pivot tables and conditional cell formatting, which was also an unforgettable experience, not to mention a newfound skill.

Moreover, I’ve had many realizations during my stay. In a nutshell, I can now confidently say that Development Communication is using communication to promote social change and to empower the people to drive their development. And its usual audience are found at the grassroots – the farmers, the fisherfolk, and the masses, as we call them. During my stay in ANSA–EAP, I’ve realized that DevCom is also applicable to the urban sector, not only in the rural areas. This became very apparent to me in CPA’s second pilot audit, where we conducted community scorecards and focus group discussions with conditional cash transfer beneficiaries and the local health service providers in Marikina. I’ve realized how important a dialogue is in finding solutions to problems that are there but are not always given due attention. I’ve also realized the importance of framing and reframing ideas in facilitating meetings; this skill really helps people understand each other better in constructive engagement exercises. Lastly, I realized, yet again, the importance of people participating in every process – from planning, to implementation, down to monitoring and evaluation of the activity. Indeed, participation makes people informed and proactive in bringing about positive change to their communities, which is a step towards developing the country.

I expected this summer to be full of work—and indeed, it was. However, it was work that I found I loved and enjoyed doing. I discovered my passion in working for an organization that is people-oriented. And even though it lasted only for a short while, working in ANSA-EAP gave me many valuable experiences and lessons that I will take with me as I return to the university as a student and later on, as a Development Communication practitioner.


Rona worked as an intern for ANSA–EAP in the summer of 2013. In this blog, she shares about meeting and working with a diverse group individuals—from government officials to citizen beneficiaries in urban Metro Manila.

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