I worked as a Project Assistant for the USAID-SURGE project. SURGE means “Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity.” The project promotes secondary cities in the Philippines for economic growth.
As Project Assistant for the Land Use Planning Component, I assisted the Component Manager in organizing activities for capacity development. For instance, we hosted partner cities in a study tour of the wastewater treatment facility in Dumaguete City.
The Project as a whole also organized the International Conference on Urban Development in 2016, which was attended by more than 1,300 people.
- Personally, the main challenge was working in the Makati Business District. Daily commute is a challenge in Metro Manila, but most especially in business districts like Makati CBD.
- The objectives of the project were broad and cross-cutting. As a result, coordinating activities was challenging because of overlapping themes.
What were unique about the experience?
- Through the project, I was able to attend the 2016 National Convention of the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners even though I was not a Licensed Environmental Planner yet. I became a Filipino Environmental Planner in 2018.
- Working with multiple partner cities also enlightened me about the nuances of different cities in their capacity development needs.