By Susan Barton –
In a country that boasts 95 percent of its population are church-going Christians, The Salvation Army in the Philippines is unknown to most despite its 80 year history there.
It operates orphanages and AIDS education, women’s centers and schools, and more than 80 corps in the island nation, yet The Salvation Army in the Philippines is without the innate trust and social stature that blesses the Army in other countries. The foundational pillars that come from extended history, high levels of connection to business and government, and significant brand awareness are still to be developed.
The USA Western Territory is working alongside the Philippines Territory to address these issues through a partnership with Apricot Consulting Group focused on transitioning the territory to fiscal independence.
“If we can succeed in helping these grant aided countries become self sustaining and provide them additional resources for growth, we have made perhaps the most important impact in decades and to the Kingdom of God,” said Southern California Divisional Commander Lt. Col. Douglas Riley following a visit to the Philippines. “This goes beyond projects that make a difference; this changes the future of ministry for these countries.”
The territories have together identified a number of goals to propel the Philippines Territory, including developing commercially viable social enterprise businesses. The Salvation Army reached a partnership with the Asian Institute of Marketing, a top-rated business school in Manila, that will involve master’s students doing internships with the Army and utilizing the school’s business incubator for new ideas.
As a start to the goal of increasing the territory’s digital and web presence, a “Thumbs Up for the Philippines” campaign aimed at Salvationists in the Western Territory hopes to garner 10,000 likes for the Philippines territorial Facebook page by November.
“Real encouragement comes not just from what we say but from what we do, when we show someone else that we care for them and believe in them. Jesus invested time and resources to develop each of us to accomplish the task he has given to us,” said Major Man-Hee Chang, commander of the Adult Rehabilitation Center Command in the West, who has participated in the partnership. “We want to be Jesus’ extended arm, reaching out to people who can use our assistance.”
Other goals include developing greater brand awareness in the Philippines, creating key partnerships with local corporate and institutional partners and inviting greater professional diversity within the national advisory board to ensure longevity.
According to Adrian Panozzo, CEO of Apricot Consulting Group, Australia, “Each of these strategic steps will allow The Salvation Army to develop a more sustainable organization, visible presence, and increase local community awareness of the outstanding and tangible programs being provided.”