Movement Matters #8 – Loren Reyes, Ikapitbisigmo
This month’s column features Loren Reyes of Ikapitbisigmo. Loren is an advocate for inclusive development, and co-founder of Ikapitbisigmo Kaunlaran ng Maykapansanan ng Laguna Producers Cooperative. Loren shares about the power of building a strong network, how she began following a community-led approach, and more.
Sera Bulbul: How did you get to where you are? What inspires you?
Loren Reyes: What inspires an ordinary person like me is collectively caring for the community as a workgroup member of Make Listening Safe
SB: What is Ikapitbisigmo’s creation story and how did that evolve to what the organization is now?
LR: Ikapitbisigmo is just like any ordinary cooperative enterprise of which I am a technical support. It is managed by Safe Listening Young Changemakers in the Philippines now. The cooperative enterprise came to existence to respond to relevant societal needs and challenges faced by vulnerable sectors hence gave birth to the organized group of PWDs and Parents of Children with Disabilities which officially was founded in February 23, 2018. They always found time to work together and attending capacity building programs even prior to the coop enterprise foundation. These pioneering stakeholders were the ones co-designing the program based on what is their priority concerns with technical support received from various practitioners. The formed group of women advocates with or without disabilities had in their own capacities championed the initial campaign to address issues of inequalities and found the fruitful results of ground implementation of programs in the years 2020- 2022 with joined forces from the community of practice in a consortium project/shared purpose at the time of the global pandemic. The approach is holistic composed of multistakeholder engagement taking action from the ground up.
How the initiative all started: from 2018-2020 Journey from Disability to Inclusivity to 2021-2022 Journey from Inclusivity to 2023 INNOVATING INCLUSION FOR IMPACT. Capacitating collaboration among major stakeholders which is the only key to true and lasting development for all and that which safeguards the future of the young generation.
The key focus of our program is young people (both genders) and women across generations (intergenerational) but it can respond too to diverse stakeholders as we promote safe listening across all ages, genders, sectors, and all levels of society to reduce hearing loss incidence.
SB: What are the core values of Ikapitbisigmo and how do they align with the ideas of community-led development?
LR: Responsiveness, inclusivity, person-centered and putting people’s well-being as a priority.
SB: What compelled you to join MCLD?
LR: I saw MCLD is also applying the concept “from the ground up” system of community development, which was why I was drawn to your platform. But my only aim is to see how I can be able to add value to the people and network of organizations to spread safe listening spaces across the global network and hence bring safe listening to meaningful conversations in other areas where information on ear and hearing care is inadequate.
I hope to share something about our work on safelistening initiatives as people need access to information. we have as our main advocacy work promoting an inclusive society and hearing health culture development.
We are here to promote interconnectedness and care through that context on cost-effective interventions and change solutions in practical ways by sharing relevant information that help improve lives. You can join us in this endeavor with this month-long celebration. We have recently created an email for a transdisciplinary research team collaboration and advocacy network. If you think this can create a ripple effect then let’s stay connected! Subscribe to our official mailing list here.
World Hearing Day 2023: Let’s create noise on Ear and Hearing Care and provide video messages that are relevant to the theme and we will be including those in our event platform as our MCLD Global Call to Action in Shared Purpose this World Hearing Day celebration. If for the last time we can be united in this worthy endeavor for the future of the young generation and generate resources in terms of the talent pool sharing valuable insights that can advance the cause of Ear and Hearing Care in different countries. Let us see how we all can become one in this month-long celebration. It is rare to find an event that is composed of diverse countries involved in an event happening in a developing country. But this may be one unique and wonderful thing we can give to the world, setting the trend of the power of collaboration.
More information on World Hearing Day is available on WHO’s website: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hearing-day/2023
SB: What, if anything, have you learned from participating in the Movement?
LR: The very nice sounding terminology such as Network Weaving which actually I have been doing already since 2014. Plus the many inspiring people sharing their own stories of coming up with their projects and impacting communities.
Really it is not easy for me to discuss histories about organizing work or telling personal stories because our priority as social workers is responding to the actual situation on the ground. But for the sake of sharing with MCLD and hopefully inspiring other advocates, I took this effort in the hope to further promote SAFE LISTENING on a global scale to other MCLD networks and help the safe listening promotion reach a wider perspective.
SB: Has the Movement changed your understanding of inclusivity in any way?
The use of AI-powered interpretation is one great show of an all-embracing platform. But which we hope can be made available to network organizations belonging to low-resource countries.
I thank you all for being such a great company in our journey in the previous years. You can easily find our page at Work Nurturing Innovation. That platform is dedicated to the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION MAKE LISTENING SAFE INITIATIVE, contributing in our own little way to the global community. The working group there is such an inspiration too. We find very common solid grounds to work together as one big team of collaborators co-creating a world where nobody’s hearing is put in danger due to unsafe listening.