What is it like working with the community? What does your day/week look like?

Working with the community is a grounding experience in a way that you get a glimpse of how the world runs. Through our interactions with them, I realize that everything is interconnected. It becomes more obvious how nature or the place’s natural landscape, the politics, the business establishments and even media present in the community interplay and influence the people’s way of living, our culture, the food we put on our tables, and even the future opportunities in the place and for its community.

We always start the week with a huddle or sprint planning. Here, we lay out our priorities for the week. If we have a major community event, the preparation usually takes a week or more. Before immersing with the communities, we would have a series of meetings and pre-arrangement or headsup with community leaders will be done ahead of time. Community visits would usually take 2 to 5 hours, but the planning behind that activity takes a week or more!

I will be courageous enough to say that EDC will not be the Company that it is now without the help of our communities and stakeholders. They are the ones who validate whether EDC has lived up to its brand and mission/vision. How our communities and relevant agencies interact with us is a reflection of whether we have done our job properly. The communities are our biggest social fence and most effective ambassadors.

They are also the ones who have been in the area from the very start, they have a proper grasp of the area, people, and ground situation. The reason why we can do our job safely is because we depend on the knowledge of our communities and we trust each other. Our programs won’t be tailored fit to the communities and will probably not create the same impact if we didn’t properly consult with the communities. The communities have the power to make or break a project.

Community work after all is no work at all. It is a reward in so many ways.

One of the best parts of working in the Corporate Relations Department (CRD) section is that you witness the evolution of a community. You get to be reminded of the best in humanity and how a small act can go a long way. The most memorable moments are of those days when we band together to resolve a challenge we thought we couldn’t take on. When we are faced with a crisis, it is the support of the community that brings us out of the woods.

There are a lot more—the lady leader of the NGO who campaigned against our operations and now our top advocate in the community, the struggles of securing social endorsements, the relief operations in times of calamities- these among other things, made our community works worthwhile, validating our relevance in creating significant influences among the people and partners we serve.

Probably my favorite lessons working with the community are (1) that help will always be around and (2) we all depend on each other to accomplish a task. We depend on everyone—our service vehicle drivers, security guards, personnel support, the community leaders, the loiterers who seem content on just looking around, the children who are always eager, curious and honest; those who have unpopular opinions (they balance our perceptions). Each one is important and has something to contribute.

If I may add one more, I will include the fact that we need to be sincere in our efforts of creating engagement with the community folks, appreciating their culture and beliefs and supporting them all the way.

Mr. Eduardo Jimenez, Head, CRD Bacman