Update #5 ·

Six Weeks After the Storm (Part 2): Rebuilding for Empowerment in Full Swing

As a sign of ongoing commitment and a recognition that the work has just begun, the Back To Sea team is planning on becoming a formally constituted non-government organization in the area.  TIGRA-Philippines is helping BTS develop a plan and infrastructure for best servicing the newly-formed associations and to ensure that grassroots leadership development becomes a central component of the effort. They are considering a social enterprise approach in sustaining the project financially. They are initially looking at two performance indicators in organizing the fisherfolk communities. First is having the fishermen with their boats and implements back to sea; the second is for them to be able to manage their community's resources.   

With TIGRA’s help, the BTS project is looking at a third performance indicator, i.e. making the fisherfolk associations more meaningfully participate in the overall development plans of their communities and municipalities. For example, in another fishing community in Aloguinsan, the association flexed their political power by sponsoring a candidates’ forum and invited all Mayoral aspirants.  Each was asked on whether they support the Association’s platform, which included a request to build toilets in every household in their Barangay.  The candidate they endorsed during the candidates forum won and toilets are being installed.   

In line with this, TIGRA is joining a four-day seminar in Bantayan Island attended by 100 barangay and fisherfolk association officials from December 26-29, 2013. Melissa Gibson of TIGRA-Philippines will be talking about Assets-Based Community Development as a participatory process for associations to map their assets and manage them according to their needs.   

As you can see, residents of Bantayan Island have begun to forge an exciting path forward since the storm.  In an ironic twist of inexplicable fate, Haiyan/Yolanda has ushered in a new era of hopefulness that Bantayanons have seized, fervently!   Let’s continue to support our brothers and sisters realize their dreams.  Give today.  

By Taks Barbin, TIGRA-Philippines  

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