When a Job Hits the Heart – Rural Impact Sourcing

by | Jul 15, 2018 | Advocacies, Training

The first time I’ve ever visited Compostela Valley was back in December 2012. And if that doesn’t ring a bell, it was days after Typhoon Pablo devastated the province where a total of 745 families were displaced. We were there for relief operations specifically, for the children. We went there bringing boxes upon boxes of toys for the kids, 5 days before Christmas. We knew that government and non-profit agencies were already providing for basic needs, and we just wanted to give the kids a semblance of Christmas, just make sure they still had gifts to open on Christmas eve. After all, it is the children who give us hope. We wanted to make sure that hope was alive.

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December 20, 2012. This was when typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao. We were on our way to deliver goods to the local government and toys for the kids jn the evacuation areas. It was only a few days before christmas. It was the least we can do to make the kids feel a bit of its spirit… a little joy, at least. It was heart wrenching. Sa bisaya pa murag gikumot among dughan. We passed wreckage after wreckage. Buildings flattened, mountains brown, trees pulled from the ground, people staying beside the streets, waiting for rations, calling unto passing vehicles. I hope Vinta will be kinder. I hope the cities are ready. Stay safe #Typhoon #typhoonpablo #typhoonvinta #climatechange #calamity #storm

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As we drove to the provincial Capitol, the mountains were still brown, trees laying flat on the ground. Majority of the buildings in the low lands were still a wreck. We saw people walking towards the gyms, and other relief areas, bringing plastics and other things they salvaged from their homes.

When we got to the Capitol, it was surrounded by huge white tents that held relief goods. In the main hall stood a white board that listed the different locations of the province, followed by the list casualties and missing. It was heart breaking, and I wished I could do more. Fast forward to 2018, I finally got a chance.

Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training

The second time I set foot on the Provincial Capitol, it looked completely different. Replacing the casualty count whiteboard were colorful artworks, local products and tourist spots on display. They’ve upgraded their tech with a studio to broadcast local news, and even had their own Tech4Ed center. They’ve worked on their province really hard since the storm, and you can hardly find a trace of the tragedy… Except for their fire and enthusiasm.


The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) were feisty. They were loud and they knew what they wanted. Sometimes, they were a bit difficult but only because all of them were no push-overs. They knew what they had to do and even if it was difficult, they were all game.

It was slightly different for the interns. I felt like they were babies, afraid to make mistakes, but taking those steps anyway. It was no easy feat. I informed them of the 35 tasks they had to complete, warned them it required investment in time and effort. It was admirable, how they went ahead and fought, because it was a challenge, especially with having me as a trainer.

Tough Love

I knew the required effort they needed to deliver, and I required more to make sure more would succeed. It was a slightly selfish motivation, but the memory of the province, literally down on the ground, pushed me to make sure everyone can do better. So every time any of the interns messaged to tell me that their schedule is too busy, that they just can’t handle it anymore or that they just didn’t have it, I was always told them, quite insistently, “No, tell me what your problem is, and we’ll fix it. I’ll help you. You have to tell me, and tell me now.”

Because once upon a time, all I could give out was toys, and now, I finally have a chance to give more, and if one person stops that means I will give less, and I wanted to give this everything possible.

All this was made possible by the Department of Information and Communication Technology’s program, Rural Impact Sourcing.

Rural Impact Sourcing – DICT

Rural Impact Sourcing is a project of DICT that aims to impart skills in the rural areas in order to encourage them to work and earn digitally instead of moving to the big cities. This accelerates the location’s development and at the same time, encourage more businesses to flourish in the rural areas.

According to the DICT website:

Carrying the theme “Digital Employment through Rural BPO for Inclusive Growth,” Rural Impact Sourcing is considered as outsourcing which focuses on providing meaningful jobs and other related opportunities in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, mostly rural areas of the country where there is high population but low employment due to lack of investors. Formerly known as “Socially Responsible Outsourcing,” Rural Impact Sourcing looks to generate economic and social impacts in these mentioned areas. Through the use of ICT, the program pushes forth the access to digital markets and Rural BPO’s as tools for job creation.

The Rural Impact Sourcing is part of a thrust by the ICT Office to contribute to the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016’s pursuit of inclusive growth. The program supports Philippine government’s commitment to produce 1.3 million traditional IT-BPM jobs by 2016. According to Accenture’s “Exploring the Value Proposition of Impact Sourcing,” the global Business Process and Technology Outsourcing sector will grow to $674 billion by 2016 and Impact Sourcing is predicted to make up 11% of the BPO market in 2016.

As the Philippines have seen rapid growth and development of the IT-BPM industry in the last few years, it is in correlation that the industry has also become the country’s top career provider. With all the country’s growth and development however, there continues to be a growing disparity in opportunities between the country’s top cities and the untapped rural areas. Taking this in consideration, the Rural Impact Sourcing Program focuses to deliver these opportunities and take advantage of its human resources not just in the country’s known key cities but to its untapped rural areas as well.

The Rural Impact Sourcing takes on the challenge to train and develop its supply of potential Impact Sourcing workforces to ensure constant quality for the service that they can provide. On the other hand, it is also geared up to generate the demand for more outsourcing companies by striving to create an ecosystem within the prospect area that would provide benefits to such companies.

Continuing the Work

Last June 19, the RISTT scholars finally had their commencement exercises where both scholars and MSME’s were awarded with their certificates. On that day, two scholars already had online projects, and MSME’s were already racking up thousands in sales.

Super late post, but I am truly honoured to have been a part of the RISTT in Compostela Valley. It has been both…

Posted by Digital Davaoeña on Sunday, 15 July 2018

Today, these scholars and MSME’s continue to work together, forming a mutually beneficial relationship. The scholars are able to improve on their skills, and the MSME’s benefit from their expertise.

Together, we are continuously working on their needs to ensure that the scholars get more online jobs, and the local businesses are able to market their products anywhere in the world.

We continue to do so because I believe I’m blessed to have projects that allow me to earn and help people at the same time. I appreciate the fact that this isn’t a simple dole out. All communities, DICT personnel, focal points, Janette Toral, and the LGU work together to empower their citizens and open their opportunities to the world. I appreciate getting to meet individuals, committed to their jobs, their families and their efforts to make a better life for themselves and others. I hope to be able to help them achieve their goals.

To learn more about the RISTT project, you can visit DICT.gov.ph.


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