April 25, 2023
Increased consciousness of environmental protection and a more stable financial state were two of the many positive impacts of the Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) SIKAT scholarship program experienced by its scholars based on a monograph conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Banos – College of Development Communication (UPLB-CDC).
Titled Stories of Change, the monograph is a qualitative and participatory form of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) research project conducted by the CDC to depict what is happening in the field and identify unexpected changes and values in an organization.
Dr. Trina Leah Mendoza, project leader and chair of the Department of Development Broadcasting and Telecommunication of CDC, explained that they used the Most Significant Change (MSC) technique, which involved collecting stories from the scholars, focusing on what the latter think is the most significant change that occurred and why they think it occurred vis-a-vis the SIKAT program.
“The stories we gathered from our interviews with the SIKAT scholars were aligned with certain domains of change determined by EDC, which included changes in the scholars’ attitude or behavior, their community participation, and their families’ quality of life. These were the stories included in the monograph,” Mendoza said.
A total of 50 SIKAT scholars who graduated between 2015 and 2019 from the University of the Philippines and other state universities and colleges participated in the study and were virtually interviewed by the researchers.
Based on the interviews, the impacts of the SIKAT program on them as an individual includes increased appreciation for the value of education, career orientation and high employability, economic security, and character development.
Aside from the individual level, the scholarship program also created significant changes in the families of the scholars. The financial support from SIKAT augmented their income and helped their families’ daily needs. Other scholars became the breadwinner and were able to support their siblings’ college education.
Moreover, in the community participation aspect, the scholars highlighted five significant changes such as participating in tree planting activities, initiating gift-giving activities for unfortunate families, donating to development organizations, extending financial support to neighbors and relatives, and giving back to their communities and creating ripples of change.
These results were concurred by Rowena Daep, one of the SIKAT scholars and UPLB BS Biology alumna, who is now a Community Partner in the EDC Bacon-Manito (Bacman) Geothermal facility. In her message during the launch of the monograph, she described the SIKAT program as “life-changing.”
“Coming from a family of farmers with an unstable source of income, the scholarship program helped me immensely in getting through college. Not only did the program provide me with financial aid, but it also made me a champion of environmental stewardship, through initiatives, such as tree-planting activities. It also molded my professionalism through career readiness seminars facilitated by EDC,” Daep narrated.
In her opening remarks, CDC Dean Maria Stella Tirol lauded EDC for centering its CSR program on education, which she said is key in unfolding the human potential, an ethos also held by CDC. She also thanked them for being one of CDC’s academic fieldwork partners for students.
During the official handover of the monograph, Nancy Ibuna, head of corporate relations of EDC, expressed her gratitude to CDC for aiding them in assessing the impact of the SIKAT program, which they have been offering for more than 10 years now and which has supported over 200 scholars. She also hoped that the monograph produced by CDC would inspire prospective SIKAT scholars.
Also included in the project are Asst. Prof. Reianne Quilloy and Asst. Prof. Louise Villanueva as project staff, Mr. Christopher N. Calamlam as layout artist, Ms. Carol Cañubas as administrative support staff, and Ms. Lily L. Tallafer as monograph co-editor.
EDC is First Gen Corporation’s 100 percent renewable energy subsidiary with over 1,480MW total installed capacity that accounts for 20 percent of the country’s total installed renewable energy capacity. Its almost 1,200MW geothermal portfolio comprises 62 percent of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and has put the Philippines on the map as the 3rd largest geothermal producer in the world.