Fullest potential // Davao, Philippines

Actxplorer is excited to have made friends with Care Channels (CC) Philippines in 2018 and is excited for future collaborations starting this 2019! This January, Actxplorer visited Care Channels’ Davao Care Farm and here’s a short story on our first collaboration:


 

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View from Waan National High School

Davao, situated in Mindanao, is the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area and consists of close to 20 ethnic groups – one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the Philippines. I was a privileged guest of the Filipino hospitality, together with students from Nanyang Technological University (NTU)’s Malay Language and Cultural Society (MLCS), who were there on a recce trip for their community service-learning trip. Partnering CC Davao, NTU MLCS will be developing a livelihood project in a Muslim community called Waan Village.

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Aimee, manager at CC Davao, under the shade of a tree where the new community garden will be built

Realising the full potential of land

Being the largest city, even Davao’s poor are not lacking in land. However, villagers in Waan do not farm due to poor soil conditions and lack of farming know-how. Thus, they incur unnecessary travel and grocery cost by having to purchase food from the market (accessible only by public transport).

CC has pioneered a goat dispersal program in Waan earlier on – a common livelihood project by NGOs around poorer regions. To help Waan’s villagers circumvent soil infertility and realise the potential of their land, CC more recently introduced vermicomposting to the villagers, where a mix of organic plant waste and goat waste (pellets) are fed to various species of earth worms to produce fertilisers.

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The first vermicompost pit in Waan Village proves that it works!

This June, NTU MLCS will be joining hands with CC Davao to build the first community garden in Waan Village! This community garden, filled with both edible and aesthetic plants grown on vermicompost, serves as a prototype and role model for other villagers to see that it is possible to plant and harvest your own vegetables, hence saving on grocery.

Realising the full potential of people

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Lunch with Aimee from CC Davao(leftmost), Khairul and Afiq from NTU MLCS (right) and 2 student interns with CC Davao — “agents of change in their community”, Aimee names them.

Another of CC’s involvement at Waan Village is student sponsorship. These students have their tuition fees paid for, and will go through weekly mentorship meetings with the core team of CC Davao. At the end of their high school, students will give back through a 6-month internship at CC Davao – here, they lead various Perok (districts) meetings within their own village, where women discuss and implement community-initiated livelihood programs. During our visit at Waan Village, we sat through a meeting with the women of Perok 4. With facilitation from the interns, the women drew inspiration from their surroundings filled with banana plants ad collectively agreed to try frying and selling banana chips! I was impressed at the confidence these students had though they were only in their teens.

I asked Aimee, manager of CC Davao, “Are the students not afraid of speaking to the older women in their community?”

She replied, “They used to be afraid but I told them not to be. They are trained professionals; there’s nothing to be afraid of.”


How you can participate and contribute to their work:

  • Visit Davao Care Farm,
  • Volunteer with Actxplorer at another of Care Channels’ communities in Davao and other parts of the Philippines! Drop us an email at contact@actxplorer.com for visiting and volunteering opportunities.

Footnote: This venture is aligned with principles of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and Sustainable Development Framework.

Written by Danielle Poh.

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