Four EAI-PH (Equal Access International-Philippines) alumni received funding from the Lingap PhilKOFA para sa MindanaONE project of the Philippine KOICA Fellows Association, Inc. (PhilKOFA). This initiative seeks to support community-based projects centered on sustainable peace and development for people in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA).
Dr. Christine Yambao of Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) – Malangas who sits as PhilKOFA’s Chair for Social Concerns and member of the ZamPenBaSulTa messaging hub, partnered with EAI-PH and OURmindaNOW in opening the small grants opportunity to young social innovators currently engaged in communities classified as GIDA.
In May, Lingap PhilKOFA accepted the proposals from alumni-led projects and has awarded each with PHP20,000.00 seed grant. Delilah Luzon, Peace Promotion Fellowship alumna, leads Byaheng BukidKnown under the banner of BukidKnown, a peace project that has now evolved into a social enterprise that supports indigenous peoples (IPs) in Bukidnon province. Students from the Luyungan Indigenous People High School will benefit from the initiative by supporting them in their cultural arts and crafts production and marketing activities.
Along Byaheng BukidKnown are three other Marawi City-based projects. A project called U2U (Upscale to Uplift) spearheaded by Hack4YOUth alumna Hafsah Pangarungan of Team CircA, will utilize the fund support in training families living around Papandayan Caniogan Landfill on innovative ways of upcycling trash materials in a safe and profitable manner. Tech Camp alumna Rona Buisan from Positive VIBES will also lead the Healing HeArts project that seeks to offer psychosocial services with the orphans of Harat Medina Islamic Center in Papandayan. Lastly, a livelihood initiative called Project Sabon proposed by Art Arañas, Hack4YOUth alumnus from Team Project97, will support a group of internally displaced persons in their start-up activities on organic soap-making.
The projects’ timeline is set from June to August 2021, and activities are in coordination with civil society organizations (CSOs), the security sector, local government units and the academe. Dr. Yambao is positive and hopeful that the grant will support the ongoing initiatives of partner youth organizations in their respective communities, in response also to the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The seeds are planted already and it’s only a matter of pushing such initiatives to achieve its desired purpose. I am confident that these youth and peace advocates will bring inspiration to their chosen communities and through this small grant, PhilKOFA is one with them in achieving their advocacies,” Dr. Yambao shared.
About 200 individuals will benefit from the various community-based initiatives through the Lingap PhilKOFA para sa MindanaONE. PhilKOFA hopes to reach and engage more youth organizations in the future.