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CAREPh, DOST-PCAARRD forged partnership to support smallholder farmers 

Photo: DOST-PCAARRD

CARE Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARD) signed an MOU to provide a holistic package of farming solutions to smallholder vegetable farmers in Mabitac, Famy, Sta. Maria, and Pangil, Laguna province on February 12.  

This will be made possible through the Asenso sa Good Agriculture Package (aGAP) Social Enterprise project being implemented in the said municipalities where vegetables are the prime commodity. Small-scale farmers in these areas have costly and or unreliable access to farming inputs, technology, and markets for their produce. Moreover, they suffer from losses caused by natural hazards such as drought, flooding, and typhoons.  

Reiza S. Dejito, CARE Philippines Country Director emphasized the importance of collaborating with the DOST-PCAARRD in increasing farmers’ resilience by accessing necessary resources through the latter’s Agri-Aqua Business Hub.  

It’s an alliance that promises to harness the best of science, technology, and community spirit to break down barriers, open doors to opportunities, and pave the way for a new generation of entrepreneurs in agriculture and aquaculture,” she said.  

Photo: DOST-PCAARRD

The Agri-Aqua Business Hub is DOST-PCAARRD’s new platform for technology promotion, transfer, and commercialization that offers a diverse range of services. In this project, these are innovative, client-focused, and sustainable agricultural support services that would improve the livelihood of more than 2,000 smallholder farmers in Laguna.  

Working together, we can offer personalized advice, training, and support that is more closely aligned with farmers’ individual circumstances and goals,” shared Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, DOST-PCAARRD Executive Director.  

Photo: DOST-PCAARRD

aGAP SE is a social enterprise project that offers a range of solutions such as seed, fertilizer, farm tools, and equipment while providing education, financial connection, and market facilitation to smallholder farmers through collaboration and partnership with local government units, government line agencies, businesses, and other stakeholders.  

It is supported by the Tijori Foundation, a long-time partner of CARE Philippines in humanitarian and development initiatives.  

Recovering the Family Business: Rosana’s Story

  • Mary Therese Norbe
  • Featured Stories, Latest News & Stories, Stories of Change

“I was able to expand my business and increased my income through the project’s assistance. I can now provide for the needs of my family, and I won’t have to work elsewhere and away from my children”, shared Rosana, 36, a woman entrepreneur in Del Carmen municipality in Siargao.  

She and her husband, Olibert, manage an eatery that sells cooked food, grilled meat, coconut drinks, and various sundry items. Locals and tourists who crave cheap comfort food have been coming and going. The business brings considerable income to support their family of six.  

This was far-fetched from their situation more than a year ago when super typhoon Rai, locally known as Odette, ravaged everything they had in just a few hours of destruction. They lost their cooking equipment and ingredients. Their food stall was also destroyed.  

They used up their business capital and savings to survive the first few months after the typhoon. To ensure that their children’s needs were taken care of, her husband sold young coconut juice to tourists who were slowly coming back to the island. However, it barely brought money to the household because of the unstable supply of young coconuts affected by the typhoon.  

So, Rosana made the difficult choice of leaving her family. She worked as a house helper in another municipality and stayed there for six months. She endured the worry of being away so she could earn money.

“If I didn’t work, I was afraid I couldn’t give my children the support they needed at that time”, she said.

She longed to go back home and restart their business. However, their income couldn’t afford them to put up the needed business capital. When CARE introduced project WAVES (WoMen Adding Value to the Economy in Siargao) to their community, she was selected as one of its participants. The project aims to assist typhoon-affected small entrepreneurs, like her, to recover their livelihood and reintegrate them into the local tourism industry of the island.  

She underwent training organized by the project to improve the financial and entrepreneurial capacities and competencies of project participants. She then received financial assistance which she used to buy cooking equipment and set up their shop.  

“I learned to record and monitor our income and expenditure and started saving again”, she said. With their business thriving, she added that they had more time spent with their children and didn’t have to worry about not being able to provide for their needs.  

Project WAVES is a partnership between CARE and the Tijori Foundation to build resilient livelihoods for typhoon-affected small entrepreneurs in the community-based tourism value chain. 

Managing a Community-Based Coconut Nursery: The Padillos of Calape, Bohol

  • Mary Therese Norbe
  • Featured Stories, Latest News & Stories, Other Topic, Stories of Change

“I’ve learned how to manage a nursery which farmers can establish in their own farms. The training also encouraged us to be smart on how we plant coconuts as well as other crops to avoid losses due to changes in weather conditions”, said Lorna Padillos, 47, a farmer from Barangay Lucob, Calape, Bohol.

She is the manager of the community coconut nursery which is located in a patch of land near their family’s farmhouse. She and her husband, Silvestre, take turns ensuring that the nursery is well taken care of and secured from being damaged by farm animals.

One hundred coconut farmers who are partners in the implementation of the RISE Coco (Recovery Intervention for SEverely Affected Coconut Farming Communities of Bohol by ST Odette) project in Barangay Lucob presently use the nursery to propagate seed nuts and prepare seedlings for planting in their respective farms. Lorna shared that the nursery became a learning venue for them to apply good coconut farming practices such as choosing the best variety of seed nuts to propagate, using organic compost or vermicast as fertilizer, and deciding the appropriate time of the year to plant based on climate conditions that they learned from the series of training conducted through the project. They were also trained on how to manage their finances and how to save for emergencies such as typhoon Odette which took almost everything they own.

“We used to live comfortably before the typhoon. We had a house, a coconut, and a rice farm. We also raised poultry and livestock and tended a vegetable garden for food”, she said.

The typhoon left only one room of their house for them to live in for a while. They lost the coconuts, rice, farm animals, and vegetables to the harsh winds and heavy rains. The experience left the couple devastated and didn’t know how to provide for their family’s daily needs.

They received financial and material assistance from the government which only lasted for a couple of months. They had to rely on one of their children who was already working to provide them with money for repairing their house and to have something to eat daily. To start farming, they borrowed money from lenders to buy farm inputs like seeds and fertilizers. However, they found it difficult to source coconut seedlings because all of Bohol was heavily affected by the typhoon.

When the RISE Coco project staff conducted a consultation in their barangay in August 2022, their family was selected as one of the beneficiaries in their community and were oriented about the project. They accepted to be part of the project because of their interest in recovering their coconut farm. She and her husband underwent training on financial literacy and sustainable good agriculture including climate-resilient coconut farming.

With the establishment of the nursery, Lorna became its manager. This was during the long dry season and propagating seed nuts was a challenge because of the intense heat. She and her husband, along with other farmers took turns in watering the seed nuts every day to prevent them from withering. Their hard work paid off. By October 2023, they were able to propagate almost 3,9678 seed nuts and seedlings. Out of these, they have replanted 2,849 coconuts in various beneficiary farms.  

As a manager, she has the challenging task of encouraging her fellow coconut farmers to be responsible for their seed nuts and seedlings in the nursery. She sees it as a sustainable source of seedlings and income for the members. Many farms in the province are still struggling to find a good source of copra-quality seedlings. Community-based nurseries that are well-managed like theirs could earn from selling their seedlings.

“We rehabilitate our farms and we will no longer worry about where to get seedlings when we need them”, she added. 

The RISE Coco project aims to address the critical needs of typhoon Odette-affected coconut farmers for livelihood support, primarily the alternative sources of income while rehabilitating their damaged coconut trees in 2 years. It is implemented by CARE in partnership with the CebuBohol Relief and Rehabilitation Center and supported by Cargill.

World Humanitarian Day 2023 Message

  • CARE Philippines
  • Blog, Featured Stories, Latest News & Stories

This message was delivered by CARE Philippines’ Program Manager for ECHO Actions, Ansherina Talavera on the Worl Humanitarian Day 2023 commemoration at the Peoples’ Palace in Cotabato City.

“Globally, and here at home, we face a new norm marked by increasingly frequent and devastating disasters. Natural hazards, armed conflict and violence, climate challenges, and environmental crises are realities that confront us now and in the future. 

As humanitarians, the context we work in and the challenges we face in delivering life-saving humanitarian aid are also evolving and becoming more complex. 

On this World Humanitarian Day, we reaffirm our commitment to the values and humanitarian principles that guide us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the communities and people we serve, no matter who, no matter where and #NoMatterWhat. 

#NoMatterWho – We commit to continue to provide humanitarian assistance without discrimination, recognizing that each life is of equal value. WE are committed to deliver humanitarian assistance regardless of nationality, religious belief, gender, class or political opinion. We reach out and provide assistance to people affected by disasters and who are most in need. 

#NoMatterWhere – We deliver humanitarian aid no matter where, giving priority to last mile communities. We remain steadfast with our mission to alleviate human suffering and provide aid where it is needed the most. We deliver support to last mile communities, the most affected, the most vulnerable, the hardest to reach, and receiving less assistance or none at all.  

#NoMatterWhat – We deliver assistance no matter what the difficulties we face. As humanitarians, we ensure the safety of staff and disaster-affected populations, and that no harm befall them. And this means careful planning, diligent implementation, and unwavering dedication to overcome these challenges, to provide humanitarian assistance – no matter what.

In the context of localisation, #NoMatterWhat signifies our resolve to invest in strengthening local capacities, ensuring that the burden of risks is not shifted to local partners and humanitarian actors.

Placing people and communities at the core of our humanitarian work, and our unshakeable commitment to uphold the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, we have developed strong partnerships with local NGOs, and key duty-bearers, foremost the government at local, subnational and national levels, and the donor community. As we face more complex situations ahead, we will hold on to the humanitarian principles as the solid foundation of our partnerships with rights-holders and duty-bearers alike, believing in everyone’s humanity. #NoMatterWhere, #NoMatterWho and #NoMatterWhat.  

CARE and its partner ACCORD set up a photo gallery in commemoration of WHD2023 in Cotabato City.

CARE, partners prepare for STS Egay as it intensifies into a typhoon

  • CARE Philippines
  • Featured Stories, Latest News & Stories, Press Release, Uncategorized

Manila, Philippines (July 23, 2023)- CARE and its local partners prepare for Severe tropical storm Egay (international name “Doksuri”) as it has further intensified while moving west-northwestward over the Philippine Sea and is forecasted to reach typhoon category within 24 hours and may become a super typhoon on Tuesday.  

In its 5 p.m. weather bulletin on July 23 the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) forecasted STS Egay to bring heavy rainfall in Catanduanes, Cagayan, the eastern section of Isabela, Polilio Islands, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Albay. The forecasted rainfall is generally higher in elevated or mountainous areas. And under these conditions, flooding and rain-induced landslides are possible, especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards as identified in hazard maps and in localities that experienced considerable amounts of rainfall for the past several days.

In the next three days, STS Egay may also enhance the Southwest Monsoon, bringing occasional rains and gustiness over several areas in the country.

CARE and its partners, Leyte Center for Development and Tarabang para Bicol (TABI) prepare and are ready to respond to the combined effects of STS Egay and the Southwest monsoon and the needs of vulnerable communities that would be affected in Catanduanes, Eastern Visayas, and Bicol Region respectively.

“We have a field office in Catanduanes and ongoing humanitarian programs with our partners in the areas that would be potentially affected by STS Egay. We are ready to activate assessment and quick response mechanisms in coordination with our partner organizations and local government units on the ground”, said Jerome Lanit, CARE Philippines’ Emergency Coordinator.

CARE has been working in the Philippines since 1949, helping communities prepare for disasters, and providing emergency relief and recovery when disaster strikes. It has responded to major disasters such as typhoons and super typhoons, conflicts, and seismologic and health emergencies with focus on the needs of women and girls.

Contact Person:

Jerome L. Lanit, Emergency Coordinator

09175109417

Baking Anew: A Typhoon Rai Survivor’s Story

After months of having her business stalled due to Typhoon Rai (Odette), Estelita, 43, has increased her income from baking and cooking bread locally known as “Pan de Bisaya” in San Isidro municipality in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte.

This type of bread is popular among the people on the island, including tourists, because of its simplicity and affordability. She bakes a batch early in the morning, usually paired by their customers with hot piping coffee. She then repeats the process in the afternoon when several people crave freshly baked bread after their siesta or during their idle time.

It takes hard work to knead the dough, heat the oven and bake the bread while ensuring it doesn’t get burned. She’s constantly exposed to the oven’s heat, which sometimes blurs her vision. But this was the only business she knows of and have mastered doing to support her family of nine.

She remembered how she and her husband were at a loss after the devastation of the typhoon left them with almost nothing. All her baking equipment and ingredients were damaged. They have seven children to feed, and with no income source, they feared they would go hungry. It was fortunate that the local government and non-government organizations provided them with various assistance to have food on the table while they look for ways how to earn a living.

Her husband resumed peddling a tricycle-for-hire. Meanwhile, Estelita refurbished their damaged traditional oven made of galvanized iron plain sheets. They restarted with a small capital, and she soon baked and sold bread at their yard. Her husband would sometimes deliver ordered bread to customers. Their income was just enough to afford their basic needs for food, water, and electricity. With the schools opening, the family needed a bigger income to fully address their children’s schooling needs.

CARE Philippines, through the Project WAVES (WoMen Adding Value to the Economy in Siargao) identified Elenita as a participant under the Women Enterprise Facility program, which gives livelihood opportunities to existing small businesses managed by women. She first attended the project’s “Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy Training” facilitated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Surigao del Norte.

Photo: A trainer from the Department of Trade and Industry-Surigao del Norte shows project participants how they could manage their finances wisely.

“I realized that I need to allocate a portion of my daily income to savings so that there’s money we could use in case of emergencies. I also aim to improve my business and how I record my expenses and income with what I have learned from the training”, Elenita said.

After the training, she received a 10,000-peso cash grant through the project on October 27, 2022. She used this amount as an added capital and bought baking ingredients, materials, and equipment.

Elenita bakes traditionally using a refurbished oven made from G.I. sheets at the side of the road accessible to commuters and tourists.

“My goal is to earn and save enough to have my own small bakery”, she shared.

This empowering support to women entrepreneurs like Estelita is one of the main goals of the WAVES project, which aims to address the critical needs of women and men in affected communities heavily dependent on the tourism industry. This project is a partnership between CARE and the Tijori Foundation which has been supporting communities and people in need in the country for several years now.

Hot meals comfort 4,276 Mayon Volcano evacuees

  • CARE Philippines
  • Featured Stories, Latest News & Stories, Press Release

Mothers line up to get goto for their family to eat at the San Jose National High School evacuation center in Brgy. San Roque, Malilipot, Albay.

A total of 4,726 evacuees temporarily staying at eight evacuation centers in Camalig and Malilipot, Albay enjoyed the comfort that hot goto or organic rice with meat porridge provides on June 17, 18, 25 and 26.

The Tarabang para sa Bicol (TABI), with support from CARE Philippines, mobilized the members of the Tarabang Youth volunteers (TYVs), Sining Banwa, Disaster Preparedness Committees, barangay officials, private individuals, and some evacuees in preparing, cooking, and distributing the hot meals.

The evacuees who hailed from 6 barangays have been displaced from their communities since the start of the volcano’s magmatic unrest early in June. TABI observed that the affected population struggles to cook for their daily sustenance and survives on canned food. Meals like goto made with organic rice and protein provide nutrition and a break from the usual canned or instant meals they receive.

“Cooking together also helps them, especially, the mothers, ensure that their children will have something delicious and healthy to eat”, shared Arlo Brizuela, TABI’s Office-in-Charge.

In these feeding activities, their group observed how the displaced endured the uncomfortable spaces, tents, and classrooms, especially with the intense heat brought by the hot weather. Water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities are also lacking which brings various concerns on the safety of drinking water, and the possibility of related diseases.

Jocelyn Naga, a member of the Disaster Preparedness Committee in Brgy. Tumpa, Camalig, and an evacuee staying at Taladong Elementary School mentioned that some people are already getting sick, especially the children, due to their current living conditions.

The situation remains uncertain. On July 4, the DOST-PHIVOLCS reiterated that Alert Level 3 (increased tendency towards a hazardous eruption) still currently prevails over Mayon Volcano. It is strongly recommended that the areas inside the 6-kilometer-radius Permanent Danger Zone remain evacuated and that communities within the 7 and 8-kilometer radius be prepared in case the volcanic activity worsens.

Several of the evacuated rely on farming as their source of livelihood. They fear that they will not be able to go back immediately to tilling and providing their families with the necessities to recover because of the losses that their displacement brought about.

TABI staff and volunteers after a successful feeding activity at Malilipot Central School, Malilipot, Albay

CARE Philippines and TABI work together to come up with a more comprehensive humanitarian response to address the immediate needs of the most vulnerable affected population. Food, water, sanitation and hygiene, health, and non-food items such as kitchen and sleeping kits are some of the basic essentials that evacuees aspire to make their living conditions inside the evacuation centers tolerable.

“We plan to source support from our global partners for a humanitarian response that is also geared towards recovery, especially, of those who will have the most difficult time to bounce back and resume their livelihood”, said Jerome Lanit, CARE Philippines Emergency Coordinator.

Contact Person:

Jerome L. Lanit, Emergency Coordinator

jerome.lanit@care.org, +639175109417

Arlo Brizuela, OIC

+639165006491

Building a Safer Home after an Earthquake: Jemalin’s Story

Jemalin and her husband Mark were all smiles after reinforcing their house with Build Back Safer techniques. (Photo: CORDIS RDS)

“It is important to make our house stronger and well-built so that if ever an earthquake or typhoon strikes, it will be sturdy due to its good foundation. It is also crucial for a house to have good bracings and blockings so that it will be secure against quakes and strong winds”.

This was what 36-year-old Jemalin shared. Her family’s house was damaged by the magnitude 7.3 earthquake in Tayum, Abra in July last year.

Their house was made of semi-concrete materials with a poor foundation. So, when they felt the first tremors of the quake, she immediately grabbed her children and moved out of the house. The earthquake cracked their house’s walls and rendered it unsafe to live in.

The NDRRMC reported a total of 574,367 individuals or 155,911 families were affected by the earthquake. A total of 12,802 damaged houses were reported: 12,645 partially damaged and 157 fully damaged. And many of the affected stayed in open areas exposed to the monsoon rains, in evacuation centers, or with host families as their houses were not habitable or were in unsafe areas.

A makeshift shelter made from GI sheets replaced the damaged house of a family in Tayum, Abra after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. (Photo: MNorbe, CARE Philippines)

For Jemalin and her family, the greatest impact on their lives was the loss of income of her husband because construction works stopped for months and the main irrigation canal for their fields was destroyed so all rice fields were not planted for one cropping period. Much more, it was planting time during the occurrence of the earthquake, so all the preparation done was wasted.

She is a Barangay Health Worker (BHW) earning Php 700 in a month.  Aside from being a housekeeper, she raises pigs and do farm works to add to their family income. She is married to Mark, 42 years old, a farmer and laborer for construction works. They have three children ages 15, 13 and 9. They are studying in a nearby school, yet they have to spend daily for their fare.

When the team of CARE Philippines and its local partner, the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CORDIS RDS) arrived in their barangay through the REACH 3 project, she volunteered to join the team after a courtesy meeting with barangay officials. Together with other two barangay health worker, rain or shine they assisted the project team roam the barangay for damage assessment and interviews up to late afternoon. She was thankful that her house was also visited and interviewed. Her family was qualified as a beneficiary.  

During beneficiary meetings to prepare for the actual construction, she helped in mobilizing other beneficiaries to attend. Being a Barangay Health Worker, she was able to provide necessary information and shared the situations of the other families in her barangay. She got more inclined during the
discussions of the core shelter design and Build Back Safer Orientation. She studied the core shelter design and frequently asked questions on behalf of other beneficiaries who were timid to ask, she became the spokesperson of other beneficiaries.

During the implementation, Roving Shelter Teams (SRT) were organized to help the staff, especially in mobilization and ensuring that theBuild Back Safer (BBS) techniques are observed. She was chosen as a member of the SRT and she was glad to do her assignments and always visited the ongoing construction
works. She frequently argued with the carpenters who were not following the BBS techniques. She persistently provided updates and feedback to the project team especially the problems that needed to be addressed.  As a member of the SRT, she listened to the troubles of the beneficiaries concerning their
houses. 

To be chosen as an SRT member, she earned the trust of other beneficiaries and gained knowledge on building a simple yet durable house that she would share with her family and other community members.   Through her efforts and the persistence of the SRT, 30 units of core shelter with BBS techniques were built in her barangay.

Being a core shelter beneficiary, her family is starting to regain courage and is more hopeful to recover and face the challenges of life. For now, she feels protected and happy that her family is together in their new house.

With support from EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid, the #REACH3 Project through provided Build Back Safer and Better Shelter training and support to build core shelters to families whose houses were totally damaged by the #AbraEarthquake.

This is part of the ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao and the Province of Abra Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ or REACH 3 Project implemented by ACCORD Incorporated, Action Against Hunger Philippines, CARE Philippines, Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services, Community Organizers Multiversity – CO Multiversity, IDEALS, Inc., Nisa Ul Haqq Fi Bangsamoro, Oxfam Pilipinas and United Youth of the Philippines-Women; and funded by the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid.

Cargill, CARE, partners lead the replanting of 100,000 coconuts in typhoon-affected Bohol

Cargill, CARE and local partners are taking bold steps in leading the coconut-planting community in Bohol to rehabilitate their typhoon-damaged farms, rebuild their livelihoods and ensure good future for their children.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (March 16, 2022) – With the goal to replant 100,000 coconut seedlings in Bohol, Cargill, CARE Philippines and local partners kick off the RISE Coco (Recovery Intervention for Severely Affected Coconut Farming Communities of Bohol by Super Typhoon Odette) project with a commemorative tree-planting ceremony in Brgy. Cabanugan, municipality of San Isidro.

Super typhoon Odette (Rai) felled more than 10 million coconut trees in the country and gravely affected the copra industry. San Isidro is one of the municipalities that suffered a devastating economic loss with 130,000 felled coconut trees. Most of these trees had produced copra for over 50 years, causing uncertainty to coconut farming families in the municipality.

“Sixty percent of my constituents are coconut farmers dependent on the coconut industry. This project has given them hope to persevere for their children who will benefit from the replanting of coconuts on their farms,” Mayor Diosdado Gementiza said.

100 coconut seedlings were carefully selected from the farmer-managed nursery in the barangay and were planted during the ceremony. These were part of over 20,000 coconut seed nuts and seedlings propagated and prepared for planting across 10 nurseries in partner farming communities in San Isidro, Calape, Catigbian and Loon municipalities. The remaining seed nuts will be consolidated in the coming months, with propagated seedlings to be planted at the coconut farms of partner farmers to reach the 100,000-tree mark by the end of the year.

The RISE Coco project focuses on rehabilitating 700 hectares of coconut farms by replacing the damaged coconut trees in farms managed by 1,000 farming households from the four municipalities in Bohol. This is being done through farmer-led propagation of seed nuts in community-based seedbeds and nurseries, farmer training on sustainable agriculture, provision of alternative livelihoods while waiting for the coconut trees to bear fruit, and establishment of farmer cooperatives for improved access to markets and corporate buyers.

At its core, Cargill is committed to building resilient agricultural communities and helping farmers thrive. RISE Coco underpins that commitment by creating connections that advance the productivity and profitability of Filipino farmers. As Cargill gears up to mark its 75th year of operations in the Philippines, it is more determined to accelerate its efforts to create more value for farmers and support a more sustainable local coconut industry.

Photo: Cargill’s Jonathan Sumpaico signs the tree guard post that protects the coconut he planted at the planting ceremony.

Jonathan Sumpaico, Cargill’s Copra and Palm Origination Commercial Director, added, “Cargill is committed to improving the livelihood of communities where we operate while meeting the increasing demand for sustainable coconut oil. We are proud to partner with CARE Philippines in the RISE Coco project to ensure coconut farmers who have been affected by the typhoon will rebuild their livelihoods, in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way, and continue to benefit as our partners for economic development.”

RISE Coco is a partnership project with CARE Philippines, with active participation from Cargill employees across all project areas. With the project, Cargill is creating sustainable value that is aligned with the national thrust to revitalize the coconut industry as outlined in the Philippine Coconut Industry Roadmap 2021-2040. It is implemented in collaboration with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), which has provided technical assistance through its Bohol Division Office to ensure alignment with PCA standards; and the Cebu-Bohol Relief and Rehabilitation Center (CRRC), which supports CARE in carrying out the project on the ground.

CARE Country Director David Gazashvili (3rd from left) with CARE and CRRC project implementation team

David Gazashvili, CARE’s Country Director shared that the financial and technical oversight of Cargill, the established partnership with CRRC, the working relationship with the PCA and the support of the local government units have paved the way for the upscaling of the project. 

 “We also commend the efforts of our partner communities who are now managing their nurseries, learning valuable good agriculture practices from trainings and applying these in the rehabilitation of their farms and livelihood and sustaining it for their children,” he added.

Photo: Bernie F. Cruz, PCA National Administrator, addresses the coconut farmers and other attendees at the planting ceremony.

Meanwhile, PCA National Administrator Bernie F. Cruz advised the coconut farmers to diversify their income from coconut by producing copra and other by-products such as charcoal, coco peat and coco coir from the husk, among others. He also recommended that farmers practice multi-cropping or inter-cropping. “Farmers would be able to augment their income by planting high-value crops or cash crops especially at times when copra prices are low,” he said.

The activity was attended by the local government officials, municipal agriculture officers, barangay officials from other communities, community leaders and men and women farmers.

CARE, partner NISA deliver learning materials to a conflict-affected elementary school in Basilan

Lorna, 51, carefully checks the foldable tables, chairs, writing, and printing supplies, visual materials, a sound system, printer, and a laptop delivered to Ulitan Elementary School, where she is the teacher-in-charge. Some of their pupils and their parents and guardians were in attendance and witnessed the turnover of these supplies, materials, and equipment needed to improve education delivery in their school.

“We are overwhelmed with the support. These will greatly assist us in our teaching and will surely motivate our pupils to continue learning despite what happened”, she shared.

The Ulitan Elementary School in Brgy Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan in the Basilan province, suffered a devastating loss when combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine military clashed in November last year forced the evacuation of more than 500 households in the community. After the fighting subsided, and it was deemed safe to return to the community, Lorna and her fellow teachers returned to find that multiple gunshots had damaged the school buildings. Desks, chairs, and tables were also turned over and ruined. Gunshots forcefully opened some doors.

Lorna remembered how she stood in her room, scanned the damages, and felt lost on what to do. One hundred fifty-eight (158 enrollees) relied on them to resume their education. Without the necessary supplies and materials, they had to ask for the support of the local government unit, organizations, and private individuals to provide them with desks, tables, and chairs to resume their classes after the school was deemed safe for the pupils to return to.

CARE, NISA staff hand over the learning supplies, materials and equipment to the school administration witnessed by pupils and their parents/guardians in the Ulitan Elementary School.

CARE and NISA Ul Haqq fi Bangsamoro, Inc. consulted with the school administration and the teachers and included their specific needs in the Basilan Emergency Response. On March 4, some of the educational supplies, materials, and equipment they requested were turned over to their school.

Janira, a 71-year-old grandmother, was one among the people who attended the event. She has 3 grandchildren who are learning in the said school. She shared that they were disheartened that they were not able to continue schooling when they fled and stayed at the evacuation center for more than 20 days before they were able to return home.

“I’m glad that they will now have enough chairs and tables so that they can properly write their lessons”, she said. The pupils used to huddle and share the few desks they had in the school.

Pupils raise their hand when asked who were glad that their school have necessary learning materials and equipment to use in their education.

The Basilan Emergency Response is supported by the Tijori Foundation and is being implemented by CARE Philippines and its partner, NISA Ul Haqq fi Bangsamoro, Inc., in collaboration with the BARMM Ministry of Social Services and Development and Development, GPH-MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG).

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