Development communication – that’s what CFA does.
Our first manager, the late Genaro V. Ong, Jr, set the framework for CFA’s work in development communication, describing it as “an educational process aimed at developing social consciousness, personal responsibility towards one’s fellowmen, one’s community and country. In other words, a social conscience … Education is the key; communication is the tool.”
Development communication, he stressed, “should seek to elicit a human, and ultimately, a social response in the people whom it seeks to serve. Serve, not mold or manipulate, as if people were putty in the hands of the communicator.”
By development, we mean TOTAL human development – social, economic, cultural, political, spiritual. This is reflected in the CFA vision, which strives towards the integral development of people through innovative learning processes using media technology and other forms of communication.
“We serve God through media”. This was how CFA stated its purpose in the 1980s.
This evolved from CFA’s own history as a communication organization founded by a missionary as well as from its many years of experience in producing materials for Christian education.
CFA pursues its mission through an integrated communication program founded on Christian values. This involves reflection and action, education and advocacy, media production and training, projects and services. As one project partner once said, CFA might as well stand for Community of Faith in Action.
In its annual Strategic Planning meetings, CFA confirmed its three priority development themes.
CFA is convinced that poverty alleviation should address not just hunger, homelessness or lack of basic services, but more importantly powerlessness, oppression and lack of freedom. Sadly, countless citizens are still passive or indifferent to poverty, its social, economic and moral implications. There is an imperative to break inaction. CFA has partnered with Pondo ng Pinoy, the poverty alleviation and pastoral program of the Archdiocese of Manila, to push the advocacy forward. CFA is creating a multimedia package to boost Pondo ng Pinoy’s information campaign. On its own, CFA is also working on a video documentary on poverty.
Citizenship education is essentially training and motivating people to become good citizens—not just of the country, but of the human race. CFA believes that developing a sense of identity, respect for human rights, love of country and community, and social awareness helps build good citizens and responsible persons. Inspiring and empowering Filipinos to get involved in community affairs and national issues is basic to development communication. Some of CFA’s projects that focus on citizenship education are the Voters’ Education program, the projects on anti-corruption and good governance, the Interfaith Peace Camps for Youth and networking with women’s media groups.
In upholding the integrity of creation, CFA subscribes to the concept of “sustainable development”. It is development that allows the provision of today’s needs without compromising the future. In 2005 CFA launched the Coffeehouse Environmental Series to address the growing concerns on the environment. The Coffeehouse Forum continues to serve as a venue for discussion of various environmental issues, including air pollution, saving the forests, rivers, solid waste management, endangered species and mining. It participates in an environmental network through which advocacies are shared and pursued.