To fulfil its promise, democracy must meet challenges of equity, inclusion and accountability. This requires an "organized" citizenry with the power to articulate and assert its interests effectively. Unfortunately, in the Philippines, the concerns of many remain muted because of unequal and declining citizen participation. Organized communities confront these challenges by revitalizing old democratic institutions and creating new ones. Leaders learn to view social, economic, and political problems from an organizer's perspective, and to act on these problems using a "praxis" of organizing: "mapping" power and interests, developing leadership, building relationships, motivating participation, devising strategies and mobilizing resources to create organizations and win campaigns. Principles common to community and issue organizing are emphasized.

The (literally means COM leadership training program), is revitalized training programs of COM which are directly related to community organizing and empowerment. There are three categories of CO modules included in (1) the regular on-the-job CO Training, (2) the three-day CO Orientation, and (3) the topic-focused CO orientation. This first course offering falls in the second category. It aims to draw out learning based from actual and theoretical experiences of the leaders and people who are also involved in the same field with the end view of levelling – off their understanding and appreciation of empowering approaches to change with emphasis given to community organizing. It will gather 100 community/sector leaders of people’s organizations/federation who worked with or working with COM in different parts of Luzon.

It will include the urban poor from Pasig River, Bulacan and Montalban, the fishing sector from Laguna de Bay, the indigenous communities from Mindoro, Tarlac and North Quezon, and farmers from Nueva Ecija and Mt. Banahaw in Quezon Province, and the labor union in EPZA in Cavite. Majority of the participants are women or/and members of women organizations in their respective sector.

CO Multiversity lives with the CO tradition of poor people confronting unjust structures in their communities and society in general by a collective non-violent action. For the past twelve years, COM has been involved with the issues of marginalized sectors by facilitating the kind of CO training used during the time of PECCO in 1970s. However, it also adapts from the changing circumstances in the communities, society and the world.


This course focuses on how to build organizations through which people can act on common interests. It addresses three questions: why people organize, how organizing works, and what it takes to be effective community leaders. As "participant observers" participants learn to use their experience as data. They learn to "map" the power and interests at work in their communities, develop leadership, build relationships, motivate participation, devise strategy, and engage in action to create organization and win campaigns.


Although developed from organizer training modules, this course has been redesigned for community leaders with interest in "empowerment strategies" as applied to policy making, service provision, community advocacy and electoral politics. Participants will be most successful who have a strong interest in the organization, issue or community with which they are working. The training will be attended by a maximum of 100 participants from among COM partner sector/communities in Luzon.

1. Active community leaders with "organizing experience" on their own sector that should require an average of 2 to 3 years.
2. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and take an active part in discussions and all activities during the 3-day event.


Filipino-translated (or written) reading materials are required for this course. The secretariat will make sure that materials are available to each participant three days before the first session begins.


• Analysis of Poverty Situation in the Philippines and Different Approaches to Change.
• Gender and Community Organizing
• Understanding Power and Self-Interest: What it is, how it can be built and used for justice and as positive factor in public life
• Moving from Problems to Issues: Issue and Target Analysis
• Action-Reflection-Action: Strategies and Tactics, Evaluation and Reflection
• The People’s Organization: Characteristics and the Rural CO Standard
• Skills on effective organizational meetings and Resource Accessing
• The Way Ahead: Challenges to People’s Organizations