SLGU-SEED aims to strengthen local government units and create an enabling environment conducive to decent work and job creation and build a stronger micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector that works toward the achievement of measureable social and environmental impacts alongside financial return. We will ensure that concrete social enterprise and economic development initiatives are included in the local development policies and plans and those are effectively, efficiently, equitably, inclusively and sustainably implemented.
The SLGU-SEED project is anchored on the statistics of poverty and economic status in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or the Bangsamoro region. ARMM is a conflict-affected and under-developed area. Development is fragile because of the on-going conflict between the government and the Moro revolutionary groups who have been struggling to address historical injustices and establish a government suitable and responsive to the needs and desires of the Bangsamoro people, with genuine autonomy, and with a fairer share in the wealth and resources of the region.
The ARMM/Bangsamoro is the poorest of the poor in the country Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 2015. Almost half (48.2 per cent) of our population is poor. This is about twice the national average. In addition, although we have vast fertile lands and natural resources, our human capital is under-developed. Many of our people lack the skills and the initiative to create and implement solutions to poverty, hunger and under-development.
There has also been the lack of investment, business and employment opportunities in the region. Although ARMM/Bangsamoro constitutes around four per cent of the country’s population, it contributed only 0.7 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (PSA, 2015).
SEED Initiative believes that entrepreneurship, specifically social entrepreneurship, is the answer. For them, it is the pro-active approach in resolving recurring issues such as poverty, hunger, under-development and lack of opportunities. They also said that this is the reason why the government has been initiating enterprise development programmes to help the people become entrepreneurs. In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) alone, more than 6,000 cooperatives and people’s organisations have been registered. In the cooperative sector, more than 15 per cent of all the cooperatives in the country are found in ARMM.