| BASIN - News No 11. March 1996: BASIN and the city summit |
Since the mid eighties SKAT / RAS has been disseminating the Micro Concrete Roofing tile technology in collaboration with other organisations in several countries all over the world. In the Philippines SKAT and ILO are collaborating in a project supported by the Swiss government called DECO (Development of Construction Enterprises producing local building materials). On completion of the ILO / DECO project activities in 1998 several thousand stable jobs would have been created and an environmentally sound technology would have been widespread on different continents. To reach this goal entrepreneurs must be enabled to produce MCR tiles and sell them with profit. No more help must be required from outside. In this article the last phase, the transition from project supported to independent entrepreneurs, will be discussed at the example of the ILO / DECO project in the Philippines.
The operational planning of the ILO / DECO MCR project is based on three phases. This facilitates the judgement of achievements, present a clear assessment of the present situation and propose adjustments of next steps which could become necessary. Since future events cannot be foreseen, planning must base on a flexible approach tailored to the arising needs.
The first project phase was launched in 1989 by ILO in collaboration with SKAT / RAS as an inter-regional (Africa / Asia) project financially supported by Swiss Development Cooperation. In this phase the market potentials of locally produced building materials were analysed. The project selected several partner- organisations. In these so called focal points technology was properly introduced, local capacity was built up or/and strengthened and pilot project enterprises were created.
The second project phase started in 1992 and was implemented with the same set-up as in the first phase in order to make use of the synergies resulting from the collaboration between ILO and SKAT / RAS. This phase aimed at the consolidation of achievements from the first phase, i.e. the transition of focal points into SSP’s (Support Service Providers), the technical and managerial know-how of the focal points, the quality of tiles produced by the workshops and their ability to offer their products on commercial terms.
The third phase is the last phase which started in 1995 and will end in 1998. The objective of this phase is to consolidate the achievements of the second phase: The Support Service Providers (SSP’s) at regional and local level will be reinforced in order to be able to provide the entrepreneurs with the required services on commercial terms. In addition the availability of locally produced equipment will be ensured.
During this phase the DECO project will progressively be integrated into the SKAT / RAS network.
The ongoing third phase (DETAILED description)
Objectives of the DECO Project
The results of the first two phases clearly show that the principal objective (creation a favourable business environment for the promotion and development of sustainable private enterprises) can be reached in this last phase. The conditions for the privatisation of support services will be set in a local and regional context.
During the previous phases a decision-tree with decision criteria was followed to achieve the project objectives. With this approach the project could be adjusted , supported and managed in an optimal way. However, the third and last phase emphasises on the institutional anchoring of the required Support Service Providers preferably in the private sector.
The principal strategy is to base the MCR business environment entirely on the commercial principles of supply and demand. This leads to different strategies at different levels:
a) Product Marketing addresses the customer directly. At this level no external intervention is planned in the last project phase.
b) Technology Marketing addresses the entrepreneurs. They are addressed by the Support Service Providers
This level is the principal level of intervention during the last phase. Emphasis will be laid on increasing the SSP’s competence in providing services of high standard. They will therefore first be able to create basic product awareness through advertisement, customers and entrepreneurs information seminars, round table discussions. Secondly they will provide basic marketing know-how through manuals and training to increase product martketing.
c) Quality awareness Experience shows that the increase of quality awareness both by producers and customers is a long term process. As it is unlikely that the quality level required can be reached within the last project phase, the DECO project will be increasingly linked with RAS which finally provides the required inputs through its quality assurance programme (MEPI).
Expected Effects and Inputs
By focusing on the establishment of local Support Service Providers corresponding to the requirements of the entrepreneurs, the following can be anticipated:
- A sustainable business environment consisting in the supply of products of good quality and after-sales services from MCR tile producers to customers.
- Support of services like training, information, definition of standards for quality control and provision of equipment
To ensure the production of high quality tiles, awareness for good quality needs to be increased at the level of customers and producers.
All activities of the third and so called disengagement phase will contribute in achieving the following main results:
a) Support Service Providers enabled to provide essential services on commercial terms
b) Co-ordination of project activities at regional level
c) Quality assurance through RAS network
- DECO will strengthen local capacity with one or more actors of the private sector with respect to technology transfer, quality control, training and the management of enterprises
- DECO will ensure local, possibly sub-regional availability of equipment for entrepreneurs at an affordable price.
- DECO will focus on "Technology Marketing" and provide "Product Marketing" support through its partners.
- DECO will organise the exchange of information and strengthen quality awareness at user level through promotion (i.e. seminars, newsletters and exchange of personal experience).
- DECO will promote conventions on safety and health standards among project partners in the construction industry
- DECO will administer and manage all project activities. Furthermore, project monitoring activities such as MEPI and staff meetings will be organised on a regular basis