By Cezar Belangel, Program Manager
AsiaDHRRA joined hands with farmer-fisherfolk associations in the rehabilitation efforts in the Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) affected areas in the Visayas Region and in Palawan Province.
Together with Fondation de France and AgriCord, AsiaDHRRA set up the Post Yolanda Fund for Local Initiatives which initially channeled a total of 20 Million Pesos for rehabilitation projects, 80% of which are grant and 20% local counterpart, to four farmer-fisherfolk associations, namely, Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uumang Ormocanon, Inc. (KAMAO, Inc) based in Ormoc City covering 15 barangays; Unahin Lagi Ang Diyos – Bito Lake Fisherfolk and Farmers Association (UNLAD-BLFFA) based in McArtur, Leyte covering 3 barangays; Southeastern Samar PO Consortium (SEaSPOC) covering the municipalities of Lawaan, Salcedo, and Guiuan with a total of 9 barangays ; and Tagbanua Tribe of Coron Island Association, Inc. (TTCIA) of Coron, Palawan with 2 barangays.
The farmer-fisherfolk associations launched their projects in their respective communities last May 16 and 17, 2014. In attendance during the launch were the members and Board of Trustees of each association, representatives from local government unit (barangay and municipal level), representatives from the Department of Agriculture, NGO partners, and AsiaDHRRA. During the project launch, the leaders briefed their members, partners, and local officials about the project and responded to clarifications and suggestions from the community. The public launching was viewed as a good exercise towards a transparent and participatory project governance. The memorandum of agreement between AsiaDHRRA and the concerned association was also signed before the community members.
The projects aim to support the participating families to revive their farming and fishing livelihood activities as the relief operations of the government and many local and international humanitarian organizations begin to wind down. The projects will embark on “cash for work” strategy to encourage the participating families in clearing their farms with fallen debris, and planting of short duration vegetables and crops following an integrated diversified organic farming system, and re-establishing their sea-based livelihood (e.g. seaweed farming). In addition, the projects will provide farming or fishing inputs and materials.
While the priority objective of the projects is to revive the farming-fishing livelihood activities, they also put importance in creating family and organizational vision for their farms or fishing activities – with serious consideration on the twin issue of production and marketing. To do this, the projects will provide opportunities to the participating families to formulate their farm plans, and join several capability building activities to increase their individual and collective awareness, knowledge and skills.
AsiaDHRRA looks at this rehabilitation initiative within a development paradigm. At the core of this initiative, AsiaDHRRA puts importance in building the capacity of the farmer-fisherfolk association as member-based organizations to become active participants in the entire development process of their communities. Non-government organizations and other well-established development institutions were tapped to provide technical support and expertise, backed up with clear terms of reference or partnership agreement with the local association.
The development partners/service providers supporting the cooperation with local FOs are the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in rural areas (PhilDHRRA), Guiuan Development Foundation, Inc (GDFI), Pambansang Kilusan ng Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Philippine Association of Foundations for Intercultural Development,Inc. (PAFID); the Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies – Visayas State University (ISRDS-VSU), Social Action Center of Leyte, and the Save Our Biodiversity Aggrupation (SOBA).
AsiaDHRRA also participates in broad-based meetings on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation to optimize opportunities for collaboration. It also initiated meetings with the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Peace and Equity Foundation, and International NGOs to explore complementarity of support and to link FO partners where possible and needed. At least seven local government units through their Municipal Mayors and Agricultural Officers have participated in the project development process.
The projects mentioned above are part of the first set of approved projects. A second batch is expected by the end of June 2014. The programmed funds are for one year cooperation but with a perspective of long-term cooperation in light of the rehabilitation objectives.