MAKATI City, Philippines – The Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST)’s Bagong Yugto ng Buhay (Bayuhay) coffee table book received a Gold Award in the 52nd Anvil Awards on Friday, March 10, at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La Manila. Presented annually by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), the Anvil Awards recognizes outstanding public relations programs, tools, and practitioners in different sectors. It is the oldest award-giving body in the local public relations industry.
Bayuhay reveals how the Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines (MCA-P) transformed the lives of poor Filipinos through the US $434-million, five-year compact from the United States government aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). MCA-P was established as the central point of contact for Compact Implementation by virtue of Executive Order 849 issued in 2009.
“Through the book, the readers will get a glimpse of the successes of the Compact – how people in the poor towns rediscovered their sense of community, and how common men and women grew in confidence and participated in making the changes needed by their localities,” explained ASSIST Managing Director Sreenivas Narayanan.
The title of the book is a fusion of three Filipino terms – bago (new), yugto (chapter), and buhay (life). These reflect the palpable transformations MCA-P and the MCC grant wrought upon many indigent Filipinos and underserved communities in the country.
“MCA-P had the ‘what’ – the formal reports, statistics, and data. But these do not reflect the efforts and sacrifices of the people and the communities to help themselves through the grant. ASSIST delivered the ‘how’. We wove their numbers into human stories of resilience, cooperation and transformation, to inspire MCC projects in other countries,” shared Geo Tanlimco, ASSIST Senior Associate and Bayuhay Editorial Team Member.
ASSIST used inspiring visuals and relatable text to help channel the voices and faces of the beneficiaries, while striking photography captured the texture of their everyday life.
The book covered the three major projects supported by the MCC: the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Service (KALAHI-CIDSS) with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); the Revenue Administration Reform Project (RARP) with the Revenue Integrity Protection Service of the Department of Finance (DoF); and, the Secondary National Roads Development Project (SNRDP) with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“Given that the beneficiaries of these projects are far-flung rural communities,” Tanlimco added, “the ASSIST-Bayuhay Editorial Team had to trek the mountainous terrain of Kalinga Province, face treacherous currents to reach island barangays in Occidental Mindoro, and traverse forest ranges to get to Leyte, among others, to capture and present the anecdotes of regular people whose stories and share of perseverance are nothing but ordinary.”
With its depth and scope, the legacy project is now considered a learning tool that serves as reference material for people involved in MCC projects in other countries. A copy of Bayuhay was ceremonially presented to then-President Benigno S. Aquino III during the National MCC Compact Closing Event in Malacañang Palace on May 24.
Joining Tanlimco in the Project Team are Vip Atienza (Project Manager), Regina Abuyuan (Editor), Kelvin Tee (Creative Director), Kim Calimquim (Layout Artist), Samuel Rosales (Photographer), and Rachel van Klaveren (Editorial Staff).
ASSIST is a non-government organization (NGO) based in MakatiCity that provides capacity-building and client services to other NGOs and development organizations. These services include an array of creative services such as production of digital and print materials, knowledge products, graphic designs and e-learning tools; knowledge management and learning content development; digital promotions and marketing; conceptualization and execution of communication campaigns; and events planning and on-site management. These are managed by an in-house Learning Content Development Services (LCDS) unit composed of seasoned writers, strategists, and design experts.