About the Program

Dr, Marco Tavanti, Director of the Manila Program

Fr. Gregg Banaga, President of Adamson University explains the partnership with DePaul University

Alumnus James Riturban explains the Manila Program

The Manila Program on Participatory Poverty Assessment is an expression of the ongoing institutional collaborative effort between DePaul University and Adamson University, the third largest Vincentian higher education institution in the world. In line with these institution's values of service learning, social responsibility and poverty reduction, the Manila Program is offers a learning experience for students interested in collaborative and applied research for poverty reduction, community development and systemic change. Under the guidance of Dr. Marco Tavanti and the coordinating committee, DePaul graduate students in public service collaborate in teams with Adamson University's faculty, volunteers of the Vincentian Center for Social Responsibility and community leader if urban internally displaced people (IDPs), formerly informal settlers.

The program focuses on experiential learning and professional collaborations through adapted methods in Participatory Action Research (PAR), Participatory Poverty Assessments (PPA), and Appreciative Inquiry (AI) adapted to Vincentian urban poverty reduction. Given the expertise and interests of the graduate students in public service at DePaul University, the program offers opportunities to tackle poverty through social impact analysis of micro-savings and community-social entrepreneurship programs organized by the Vincentian Center for Social Responsibility (VCSR).

Statue of Vincent at Adamson University
The Manila Program reflects DePaul University’s urban mission educating students about international problems and to become ethically and socially responsible global leaders, as expressed in the Strategic Plan Vision Twenty12. In addition, the collaboration between our Vincentian universities contributes to DePaul University’s commitment to further institutionalize its Vincentian and Catholic identity by developing academic partnerships.

The instrument used in the survey is the Household Profile Questionnaire, also known as the Community-Based Monitoring System (MIMAP-CBMS).This instrument is often used to influence policy through needs assessments and impact analysis of Poverty Reduction Strategies Papers (PRSP) and links to the ongoing monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals at the national level. The partnership of Vincentian universities with community organizations recognizes the fundamental Vincentian values that poor people can forge their own change and influence policy. The participatory methods of these poverty reduction initiatives acknowledge how POs, even in the midst of extreme poverty, also possess valuable resources that these partnerships can advance. This is not a new concept in poverty reduction and development studies. The World Bank, along with development NGOs and field researchers, has learned the importance and effectiveness of listening to “the voice of the poor” in poverty reduction programs. Although the level of participation may be interpreted at different levels, the Vincentian values behind these partnerships aim to enhance the level of engagement from community consultation and representation to community empowerment and organizational capacity development. 

Dr. Tavanti and DePaul students at 
Adamson University in Manila. 

The CBMS is currently being implemented in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Pakistan, Philippines, Nepal, Vietnam, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Benin, Ghana, India, Laos and Indonesia. “In general, the assessment aims to provide the national and local governments with up to date information for policymaking and programme implementation. The CBMS work involves the design, pilot-test and implementation of a methodology for data collection and data processing, validation and utilisation of CBMS data for needs identification as well as for the design and monitoring of program interventions at all geopolitical levels.” (C.M. Reyes, Overview of the Community Based Monitoring System, Micro Impact of Micro Economics and Adjustment Policies Programme, 2005). 

To learn more on themes of the Manila Program on Participatory poverty reduction download the 2010 Syllabus of the course associated with the program. This syllabus is made available with its additional resources on conducting development research and participatory poverty assessments in an international and community development context. If you use this syllabus or part of it, please cite the author Dr. Marco Tavanti. You can download the PDF here: Syllabus MPS570 Fall 2010 Tavanti 

To learn about community social entrepreneurship click HERE


Video interviews of students who participated in the Manila program: hear what they are saying about the values, learning and approaches of this program.

I recently received an email from James Riturban, an alumnus of the program working with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Cambodia and Pakistan. Here is what he says thinking about the Manila Program:

Thu 8/19/2010 11:24 PM

Hey Marco,

I hope all is well and you are still able to enjoy the Chicago summer and not buried under work and research. I am currently in Cambodia and I wanted to share with you some updates from the field. CRS has me involved with a couple large grants, both of which are near the end of its project cycle. So, much of the work that is needed is focused around monitoring and evaluation (M&E). With that said, I've really appreciated my experience in Manila. I don't think students realize, especially those interested in working in development, how crucial some of these concepts and tools are in the field. For instance, I'm involved in a participatory rural appraisal (PRA) study using the wealth ranking with community-based organizations working with fisheries. So, needless to say, I've felt very confident and prepared in the work I'm doing. Also, I know you have been advocating capacity building for some time. Well, you will be glad to hear that is the major focus among the major development/donor agencies. In fact, that is CRS' primary approach, working through local partners by building capacity to provide services. [...] 

Take care,