Fieldwork: A Test of Maturity and Commitment

By: Lotes P. Lab-oyan

Every government office undertakes a fieldwork. Government employees who do fieldworks dwell on data generation, policy dissemination, and feedback gathering.

In the case of the Cooperative Development Authority, cooperative development specialists assigned in various regions, districts or provinces bear the burden of lifting the packages designed to enhance the operations of the cooperative and fulfill the CDA’s mission “to ensure safe and sound operations of cooperatives.”

In my 15 years with CDA as a fieldworker, I consider fieldwork as a difficult yet fulfilling task. Difficult because you deal with different kinds of people with different backgrounds, and fulfilling because you need to adjust and know the level of your customers so you can put across or gather the needed information. Sometimes, you need to swallow your pride if only to get what you want. The joy of it is when you see improvements in the performance of cooperatives especially the growth in assets, well-informed members, and people meet with you with smiles every time you visit them.

In doing fieldworks, the battle is not only strength, beauty and appearance. It requires emotional maturity and commitment to reach out to the poor and disadvantaged sectors of society. Passion for excellent service delivery at whatever cost is the business of every fieldworker.

Twenty years ago, my friend went to a far-flung area to conduct a non-formal education or functional literacy among members of cooperatives. She got sick and ended up being carried by residents on an improvized stretcher to the nearest accessible road. That experience had displayed the commitment of the people to learn and reciprocate the goodness of the institution to work for the growth of the cooperative.

CDA Deputy Executive Director Giovanni Platero said there are about 23,000 registered cooperatives in the country. He said for CDA to attain 100% completion of assigned tasks, the functions of specialists must be reviewed and rationalized to focus on the core functions related to the major final output. He said the work of fieldworkers must be clear and other intervening activities must not be added up to specialists’ workload.

I asked my friend from CDA-calamba extension office on what he thinks of fieldwork, He said it is financially unrewarding yet inspiring.

Truly, government employees are not only after financial satisfaction. They do fieldwork to ensure positive changes happen in every Filipino. Having government employees with the heart to help people with limited means grow through unity and cooperation paves the way for poverty alleviation. The challenging part is how to communicate government plans and programs to the grassroots. Fieldwork is important. Having fieldworkers who possess emotional maturity and commitment to serve people especially in the countryside can greatly help in improving peoples’ lives through cooperatives.

Republished from the December 15, 2013 issue of Baguio Midland Courier as Commentary Article (