COMMUNITY & FOREST-BASED SOCIAL ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
The CFSED Project promotes environmental sustainability in the Forest Foundation Philippines focal areas of Palawan and Samar through the propagation of non-destructive forest-based enterprises. The goal is to tie economic progress together with the preservation of the natural ecosystem – by creating and supporting successful enterprises that uplift members out of subsistence or poverty, and are reliant on the survival of the environment, local communities will have greater incentives to maintain and protect their surroundings.
Five different social enterprises are being supported by the project for the duration of 2-and-a-half years. The project is being implemented in partnership with Bayan Academy.
WOVENCRAFTS – TIKOG WORKERS ASSOCIATIONS
The Tikog Workers Associations supported by Wovencrafts Inc. are composed of 60+ women artisans producing hand-woven mats and other handicraft items. Because of the pervasive poverty throughout Samar, many people are either forced to participate in illegal and destructive activities, or live with just eating two meals per day. Woven seeks to combat this problem by increasing the average monthly income of its partner artisans.
With the CFSED project, the weavers have begun to utilize other locally sourced non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as rattan and nito vines for the production of handicraft items. They have also established a nursery which will hopefully supply the raw material needs for such items.
SOHOTON SERVICES COOPERATIVE
The Sohoton Services Cooperative (SSC) is a people’s organization that operates tour services in the Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park. The park is a protected area covering more than 800 hectares of mountainous forests, complete with rivers, falls, and caves.
Through CFSED, SEARCH has enhanced the skills and capabilities of SSC members so that they can provide better quality services to visitors, resulting in an improved eco-tourism experience and, hopefully, increased number of customers. Of course, the increase in visitors is being accompanied by appropriate investments (i.e. waste management systems) to prevent damage to the natural environment. All in all, the project aims to improve the income of SSC members from eco-tourism services, and tie income generation together with environmental preservation.
CACAO AGRO-FORESTRY ASSOCIATION
Lawaan, Eastern Samar
The Cacao Agro-Forestry Farmers Association (CAFA) is a group of 44 low-income farmers seeking to practice sustainable agro-forestry in the town of Lawaan. Their farms are located near the Samar Island National Park, which is home to the largest low-land forest in the Philippines.
Through the CFSED project, CAFA is establishing 50 hectares of organic and diversified cacao plantations that will serve as the first line of defense for Samar’s protected area. Each of the 44 CAFA members have planted almost 400 cacao trees each, intercropped with forest trees, fruit bearing trees, vegetables, and other crops. These farms are expected to sustain the food and income needs of the farmers in the long run. CAFA has also set-up a forest tree nursery that will contribute to the reforestation of nearby areas.
NAGKAKAISANG TRIBU NG PALAWAN, INC.
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
The Nagkakaisang Tribu ng Palawan, Inc. (NATRIPAL) or the United Tribes of Palawan, is a federation of over sixty indigenous people’s organizations spread across the island of Palawan. The federation runs programs involving land rights, natural resource management, enterprise development, community organizing and advocacy especially on mining or destructive industries since most mining areas are the homelands of the indigenous people.
In particular, the CFSED project focuses on members of the indigenous Tagbanwa tribe in support of their Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP). SEARCH is working with NATRIPAL to support the forest-based social enterprise component of the plan focused on honey harvesting, processing and trading.
BROOKE'S POINT COCO PRODUCT PRODUCERS COOPERATIVE
Brooke's Point, Palawan
Brooke’s Point Coco Product Producers Cooperative, or BPCPPC, is a community-based social enterprise composed of farmers from the indigenous Pala’wan tribe, most of whom live below the food threshold. Three years since its founding, the cooperative mainly focused on producing and manufacturing virgin coconut oil (VCO).
As such, the CFSED project intends to upgrade the cooperative so that it becomes a significant source of income for Brooke’s Point’s larger community, and a stronger deterrent against mining and other destructive activities. In particular, SEARCH is assisting BPCPPC in developing new coconut by-products such as flour, vinegar, aminos, and hair serum. The project also seeks to improve the efficiency and productivity of BPCPPC’s operation so as to minimize costs and maximize income for cooperative members.
In this project, SEARCH partnered with the Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies (ILOVE) Foundation in developing loving organizations (LOs) that work with marginalized communities. The aim was to transform such communities into viable agro-forestry, fisheries, or eco-tourism sites.
Through this project, ILOVE provided financial and technical support to eight (8) deserving LOs. These eight were chosen by ILOVE and SEARCH’s panel of experts based on certain criteria.
AGGRUPATION OF ADVOCATES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION BULUSAN, INC.
AGAP-Bulusan is a non-government organization that tackles relevant challenges in environmental conservation, community development and humanitarian response in their municipality.
Under the Quest for Love project, they initiated a comprehensive eco-tourism development plan which included:
1.Trekking in Mt. Bulusan;
2.Bulusan Marine Sanctuary and Beach Park;
3.Bulusan Lake Floating Wellness and Multi-purpose Center.
BUSIKONG GREENLAND COOPERATIVE
Busikong Greenland is a cooperative of 25 men & women farmers dreaming of leaving a green legacy for the next generation through the promotion of sustainable agriculture.
Through the Quest for LOVE, they introduced a backyard organic farming concept that would improve food security for the local community while restoring fertility to the soil.
HEALTH FUTURES FOUNDATION – SOUTH COTABATO
Polomolok, South Cotabato
Health Futures Foundation is an NGO that seeks to improve access, quality, and equity in health care for disadvantaged communities all over the Philippines.
In the town of Polomolok, South Cotabato, they put up a tribal health and wellness village for the Blaan indigenous people. The village is a social enterprise to be managed by the Blaan that offers health and wellness services incorporating the tribe’s traditional healing practices.
KAPE MARAMAG RURAL IMPROVEMENT CLUB - BUKIDNON
Kape Maramag is a federation of women farmer groups in the municipality of Maramag, Bukidnon. The federation is a producer of high-quality arabica coffee beans.
They embarked on a coffee value chain development project that would increase agricultural productivity and employment generation for their members. This included capacity building for the women, expansion of arabica plantations, and improved marketing efforts.
LAKE SEBU INDIGENOUS WOMEN WEAVERS ASSOCIATION
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
LASIWWAI is a community-based social enterprise comprised of 85 T'boli weavers. The organization promotes ikat weaving as a source of livelihood for women, as well an integral part of their indigenous culture.
With the help of the ILOVE and SEARCH, they pushed for community based agri-eco tourism through the establishment of a T'boli Heritage Village in scenic Lake Sebu municipality.
MINDANAO STATE UNIVERSITY – TAWI-TAWI COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY
Mindanao State University – Tawi-tawi College of Technology and Oceanography is an autonomous campus of the Mindanao State University system located in Bongao, in the province of Tawi-Tawi, Philippines.
Together with ILOVE, SEARCH assisted in the development of an eco-tourism circuit in nearby Simunul Island, which is home to some of the most vibrant marine sanctuaries in the country.
UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS
Baguio City, Benguet
The University of the Cordilleras is a private educational institution in Baguio City.
With ILOVE and SEARCH, they generated livelihood opportunities for the local community of Tublay town through the development of various sustainable tourism activities such as mountain trekking and spelunking, and the establishment of a café and glamping area for guests.
YELLOW BOAT OF HOPE FOUNDATION INC.
Layag-layag, Zamboanga City
The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation is a charitable institution supporting the education of children from remote island communities.
SEARCH worked with ILOVE and Yellow Boat in enhancing housing and livelihood in the Sta. Cruz islands in Zamboanga, which is a popular tourism destination. This was for the benefit of the local Sama-Bangui tribe.