About the SIPAG Awards 2013
Twenty five years from its inception in September 1981, the National Livelihood Support Fund's (NLSF) Secretariat, now known as the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC), held the first national convention of all Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) serving as conduits of its Livelihood Credit Assistance Program. The NLDC conceived the "Sustainable Income for People in the Agrarian Grassroots" or SIPAG as a humble gesture of appreciation for the active role and participation of the 116 private microfinance institutions in the service of NLDC's mandate. The SIPAG thereafter evolved into an annual celebration of successful partnership between NLDC and its partner MFIs and a reaffirmation of commitments by the National Government and private Rural Microfinance institutions in the delivery of micro-financing and other livelihood support services in rural areas, particularly in agrarian reform communities. It has also provided the "face" that depicts the successful journey out of poverty of micro-finance clients supported by NLDC and its partner MFIs.
Highlighting the celebration is the conferment of the SIPAG award to Program Conduits that have shown notable accomplishments in microfinance implementation, measured by standards set under the NLDC Program. Over the years, the Award has gradually evolved towards a level of recognition acknowledged and respected by all institutions in the Microfinance Community.
The holding of the 8th SIPAG Awards is a momentous event as it marks the first time that it is conferring a recognition to and Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who chose to invest his hard-earned savings, augmented by funds from a partner MFI, in a microenterprise to ensure the family's steady path to progress.
NLDC develops and provides micro-financing in agrarian reform communities that can be easily accessed by enterprising farmer/agrarian reform beneficiary households living within the threshold of poverty. NLDC's programs intend to encourage and support microenterprise endeavors of household members to augment household income. The peak of NLDC's advocacy and the ultimate measure of its success are those who were able to lift themselves up from poverty by engaging in productive microenterprise ventures under the assistance of the NLDC programs and its MFI Program Partners. Those who can best serve as exemplars of success are nominated each year by Program Conduits from among the thousands that they assist under the NLDC programs. Four (4) Regional winners from Luzon I (covering Cordillera Administrative Region, Regions 1, 2, and 3), Luzon II (covering Regions 4 and 5), Visayas and Mindanao are conferred the SIPAG Award each year, from where the National Winner is selected. The award is being conferred to winners to serve as living testimonies of success and ambassadors of hope in the battle against poverty.
This year's theme "Promoting Inclusive Growth through Responsible Microfinance" depicts NLDC's desire for its partner MFIs not only to be agents of change in the journey from poverty to progress but as concerned, responsible and transparent agents promoting and implementing practices which are sound, healthy and harmless to man and his or her environment. The theme also connotes a firm commitment to use microfinance as a means or a route to bring the small gains the country is currently experiencing to the countryside. These implies that NLDC and its fleet of MFIs practice a "do-no-harm" microfinance program policies/procedures and effectively engage their end clients in the transformation from mere recipients of microfinance resources to empowered, financially literate and capable microentrepreneurs, aware and embracing their responsibilities as borrowers and celebrating also their success over their roles as contributors to countryside development.
SIPAG Awards will always serve as a passionate affirmation of the NLDC's mandate to reach out for more as it journey towards the realization of its vision for a sustainable development in the agrarian reform communities.