You are on page 1of 90

NOURISHING

THE EARTH,

NURTURING
THE SOUL

Lessons in Natural Resource Management


from the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation
Nourishing the Earth,
Nurturing the Soul

Lessons in Natural Resource Management from


the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 3


Soil and Water Conservation Foundation.
All Rights Reserved.

This book was produced with the generous support of


DISOP, DISOP Philippines, and MISEREOR.

The production of the book was coordinated by


Step Up Consulting Services. For more information,
visit http://www.steupconsultants.com.

Canares, Michael. P. 2016.


Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul: Lessons
in Natural Resource Management from the Soil and
Water Conservation Foundation. Step Up Consulting:
Tagbilaran City.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 4


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Planting the Seed: An Introduction 9

The Earth is Fertile: 15


Why Working for Communities is about Working with Them

17 18 20
The Community Journeying with the Selection and Training
at the Core Community are Critical

21 24 25
Recognizing Local Practicing What Communities Taking
Knowledge They Preach the Lead

Our Task as Earthkeepers: 27


Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

30 30 32
Core Research-based From Research
Business Implementation to Action

33 36 37
Changing Individual Environmental Institutionalizing
Practices Education is Key Environmental Practices

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 5


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: 41


Key to Environmental Conservation

43 44 47
Poverty Coexists with Understanding Local Strengthening
Environmental Fragility Livelihood Systems Livelihood Assets

48 50
Introducing Sustainable Linking Farms
Livelihood Practices to Markets

Empowering the People: 51


Why Organizing of Communities Matter

53 55
The New? OCSAT: A Framework for
The Old? Organizational Strengthening

61 62 63
Asynchronous Strategic Incentivizing
Learning Monitoring Performance

66 67
En-gender-ing Knowing
Development When to Leave

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 6


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Relationships that Matter : 69


Building Synergies for the Environment

71 72 74
Cultivating Sincerity The Spirit of
Relationships and Integrity Sharing

76 78
Fostering Local Building
Ownership Reputation

Reaping the Harvest: Concluding Remarks 81

Credits 85

Acknowledgments 87

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 7


Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 8
Planting the Seed: An Introducttion

Planting the Seed:


An Introduction

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 9


Planting the Seed: An Introducttion

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 10


Planting the Seed: An Introducttion

How does one capture


- in a few pages -
the rich experience of an
organization that aspires
to change the world?
This was one overwhelming question that the writing
team had to answer when conceptualizing this book.
The question is difficult to answer for two reasons. First,
the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation (SWCF)
has been in existence for more than thirty years. SWCF
began in 1985 as an informal network of persons of
several nationalities concerned with the global ecological
challenge and the necessity of broad-based local initiatives
to respond. However, SWCF was only formally registered
with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
three years later.

It started small-scale support of existing projects by


providing inputs to farm-based species trials and
consultancy services to hone the technical and management

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 11


Planting the Seed: An Introducttion

capabilities of project staff and extension workers. Convinced that the geo-physical
eco-system called the watershed is the operative planning and implementation unit,
the Foundation embarked on its first three comprehensive, integrated and cooperative
ventures to start the rehabilitation of three watersheds, one each in Cebu, Negros
Oriental, and Negros Occidental. Since these three initial projects, the Foundation has
completed implementation of almost a hundred environment projects in four regions in
the Philippines during the last three decades.

The second reason why it is difficult to answer the question is the nature of activities and
approaches that SWCF has implemented since its inception. The networks extensive
experience in natural resource management in the Philippines and other parts of
the world lent itself to a bottom-up approach to planning, a participatory system of
management, an equity-led development focus, and a facilitative style of assistance to
public agencies and private organizations involved in environmental projects. SWCF
implemented initiatives in employment generation, targeted species conservation, rural
micro-credit, literacy, eco-tourism, and heritage conservation, among others.

However, despite the diversity, there seems to be a unifying thread in all of SWCFs
efforts. The efforts of the Foundation are anchored on its vision statement that reads:

When a country loses its forests, it loses part of its soul.


SWCF assists people and communities restore that soul.

It promotes natural and human resources development through implementation of


activities, projects and programs, which are participatory, cooperative, community
building and sustainable. As a result, SWCF endeavors are designed to be technologically-
appropriate, culturally-sensitive, economically-relevant and viable, and socially-
acceptable while creating a more ecologically- sound and sustainable environment.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 12


Planting the Seed: An Introducttion

To provide more focus in the writing of this book, two things needed to be done constrict
the geographic focus to one area, and make SWCFs vision statement as the primary
message that weaves the different stories highlighted in this book. For this purpose,
Bohol was chosen as the area for several reasons. First, Bohol is the place where SWCF
has tested all its approaches in natural resource management in partnership with other
stakeholders from community residents and students to policy-makers. Second, Bohol
is the province where SWCF has stayed the longest and has established the strongest
community presence. Finally, Bohol is the place where SWCF has partnered with one of
its longest standing donor-partners, the Organization for International Co-operation on
Development Projects (DISOP), whose support is instrumental in the writing of this book.

The title of this book speaks volumes of what SWCF wanted to do, and has been doing
since its beginning to nourish the earth and nurture the soul two processes that feed
into each other and articulate SWCFs development philosophy. SWCF does not only
intend to change the landscape but also the people. This involves understanding deeply
why people and communities lose appreciation for Gods creation and finding ways how
stakeholders are collectively able to restore this. This book narrates how these processes
evolved in the Bohol communities, how people were touched, and how it has led to the
restoration of the environment.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 13


Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 14
The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

The Earth is Fertile:


Why Working for Communities is About
Working with Them

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 15


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

What is possible in a community is


only what the community is ready for.

Development needs roots


in what people understand.

It needs roots in what people want.

It needs roots in what people trust.

from Gavin Andersson and Howard Richards


(Unbounded Organizing in Community, 2015)

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 16


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

THE COMMUNITY AT THE CORE

Project evaluations conducted in the past rated SWCF projects the highest in relevance.
A project is deemed relevant when this is designed to address the problems
and needs faced by beneficiaries. Interventions intended to address these needs are
undertaken in order to achieve results and effect changes in the lives of end-receivers.
One of SWCFs greatest strengths is its approach in working with communities.

The approach has not changed since SWCF started working in Bohol. Projects are
developed together with communities and with high regard for local systems and
cultures. In August 1998, before SWCF started working in La Union, Sierra Bullones,
the agricultural technician assigned in the area made a courtesy call to the barangay
captain, and two weeks after, a barangay assembly was held with each household
represented to talk about community needs, and how, together, the community could,
with the assistance of the project, achieve them. Twelve years later, even before SWCF
submitted its project proposal to DISOP about a project to be implemented in the
barangays of the municipality of Batuan, it first conducted a problem tree analysis with
targeted communities to identify the pressing needs that the project could respond to.

This approach comes with the recognition, that the


communities where SWCF operates are living communities,
with problems, hopes, expectations, skills, resources and
they hold in their hands the solution to their problems.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 17


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

The community is fertile with assets the earth, its people, the plants, the trees, community
practices and culture where SWCF can build its project implementation. According to
Mila Baisac, bookkeeper of Bohol Multipurpose Cooperative and one of the mentors
hired for bookkeeping trainings by SWCF, the recognition that bookkeepers can emerge
from communities with low educational achievements is a testament that SWCF has
strong belief in people and their ability to contribute to the development process.

JOURNEYING WITH THE COMMUNITY

In this process, SWCF is a facilitator that journeys with the communities in their quest
for a better life. This is exemplified by the fact that SWCF technicians, in the first few
years of the project, live in the area where they are assigned.

This is not a common practice for non-government organizations (NGOs) in Bohol.


Normally, community organizers visit the communities rather than live with them. In
the terminal evaluation of the SWCF project implemented in upland barangays along
the Eskaya belt, one of the most successful project strategies appreciated by community
stakeholders and partners is that SWCF technicians lived on site. The on-site technician
policy has been proven effective; not only in terms of achieving project targets, but also
in ensuring that SWCFs presence is felt in the area. Communities appreciate the on-
call availability of the technician while project management appreciates the technicians
opportunity to assess community status and monitor project progress. According to
Lolita Hingpit of Cambacay, Batuan, one of SWCFs project sites, it seems SWCF is
always within reach to offer them support.

This approach though comes with disadvantages, because the quality of the personnel
assigned in the area is critical. The majority of the agricultural technicians that SWCF
deploys in the area are persons of competence and commitment. The projects have, so
far, achieved not only significant improvements in community participation but also

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 18


SWCF staff Geno T. Omac
and Project Manager Regina S. Sagpang doing
project monitoring in Inaghuban, Pilar, Bohol.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 19


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

economic empowerment. However, there was one experience where the character quality
of the assigned agricultural technician sowed division among residents, disenchanted
active women leaders, and raised suspicions on the intentions of SWCF, especially when
accountability over project funds was put into question. This was, however, only an
isolated incident, an exception than a rule. Since then, SWCF has not experienced
another mishap as SWCF management made sure that financial controls are in place
and that community residents are made fully aware of financial transactions of the
projects that it implements.

SELECTION AND TRAINING IS CRITICAL

This is the reason why we put primary importance on the selection and training of
agricultural technicians, says Aida Granert, SWCFs development officer. In the
selection of technicians to be deployed on site, SWCF is biased towards early career
professionals or fresh graduates of agriculture or forestry courses who are from Bohol,
who have considerable experience living in rural areas, and with strong commitment
towards development.

They should have at least experienced hardship,


Aida said, because these are the people who do not easily
give up when the going gets tough.

True enough, most of the technicians currently working at SWCF are those that have
stayed with the organization for more than 10 years. Those who have left still feel a strong
affinity with the organization which has nurtured their capacities and has contributed
significantly to their professional and personal growth. Agricultural technicians are
trained in the rigors of community organizing, in project management, leadership,

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 20


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

natural resource management, and values. While at


work, they are also trained in different topical skills
entrepreneurship, financial management, cooperative Activities that work
movement, karst management, among others. SWCF
recognizes that a trained technician is necessary to
mentor project participants in different skills. Courtesy calls and project
introductions with local
government officials.
RECOGNIZING LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

Working with communities is not a one-way Community assembly


street. SWCF acknowledges that local knowledge exists to discuss the project and
and is important in every phase or theme in project clarify expectations.
implementation. This is the reason why technicians listen
to the wisdom of the local residents - to understand how the
past shaped the current situation of the community. This Deployment of on-site
is demonstrated in their work with Eskaya communities. technicians who live in
They needed to adapt to local customs and traditions the community.
which shape community life. They needed to gather and
consult with community residents in defining problems
and framing solutions, like when they were talking about Registration or
burning rice straw that can exacerbate global warming accreditation with
as well as violate the Philippines Clean Air Act. They local government units.
needed to have local people actively participate in bio-
diversity monitoring, as they are more knowledgeable
about the forest and the surrounding areas. Co-management of funds
with community leaders
This also means that technicians need to acknowledge as signatory.
that changes do not usually happen overnight. When
SWCF goes to a community, it does not expect that the

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 21


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 22


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

Clockwise:

Participants of the vermi composting training


during the hands-on preparation of different
kinds of substrate for vermi composting in
order to come up with good quality vermi cast.

SWCF technician Mr. Gerardo T. Payot


(far right) helping project beneficiaries identify
the names of trees planted in the native tree
gene bank.

Project beneficiaries from Bugsoc Farmers


Association in a meeting and simultaneous
meat vending at the slaughter house in
Bugsoc, Sierra Bullones, Bohol.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 23


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

new practices it will introduce will be immediately assimilated into local practices. For
example, while SWCF is a staunch advocate of organic agriculture, there are still a few
farmers (around 30%) who are reluctant to practice it. Over the years though, SWCF has
not lost patience in educating the farmers and in convincing them that organic farming
tremendously benefits both them and the environment.

PRACTICING WHAT THEY PREACH

SWCF is not just about talk. It models the practices it wants to propagate.
For example, a technician lives in a plant nursery site, that also serves as the office of the
organization that SWCF helps to establish, and is also a source of seedlings and planting
materials that showcases organic farming practices. SWCF also teaches transparency in
financial record-keeping so it discusses and shares with project participants what funds
are allocated to them, and how these are spent. As a commitment to co-management
of project funds, leaders of peoples organizations co-sign documents to authorize the
disbursement of project resources.

Several of the project activities require voluntary work, like the building of the nursery,
the maintenance and upkeep of the demonstration farms, and the management of
cooperative stores. The people do not mind this because they have also seen how the
SWCFs project implementation team goes out of its way to make the different activities
successful. Agricultural technicians stay late at night to correct books of accounts and
check minutes of meetings. They stay during weekends and do not go home to their
families so they can attend meetings and trainings. They respond to requests for assistance
from project participants even beyond office hours. All these show the well-intentioned
commitment of the organizations technicians to the welfare of the community.

This reinforces the organizations integrity in the communities. When SWCF started
working in Bohol, rumors circulated around that the organization was looking for gold

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 24


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

treasure and used the community development projects as an excuse to enter communities.
Early on, SWCF focused its work in barangays covered by the Rajah Sikatuna Protected
Landscape (RSPL), an area of forested limestone hills, grasslands, and natural springs.
When people saw what SWCF did and how it treated local communities and
the environment, all negative publicity that the organization received even
before it started, slowly dissipated.

COMMUNITIES TAKING THE LEAD

SWCFs credibility is enhanced by the participatory nature of its processes. The project
recognizes the capacity of local people to manage their own development. As such,
proposals for interventions come from them, management of these interventions is done
by them, and sustaining the benefits out of these interventions is entrusted to their care.

In effect, community residents are involved not only in


implementation, but right from planning, to budgeting and
to monitoring and evaluation. This enhances community
ownership of the whole development process.

When problems arise, it is not the technician who solves them. The community
organization holds meetings and defines the problem, diagnoses its causes, and looks
for potential solutions. The identified solutions are then assigned to specific persons

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 25


The Earth is Fertile: Why Working for Communities is About Working with Them

with corresponding timelines. All throughout this process, SWCF personnel observes,
facilitates, and mentors. The level of involvement at the beginning may be high, but as
the organization and its members gain more capacity, slowly SWCF retreats into the
background and lets the community residents take the lead.

This is SWCFs vision of empowered communities. This is SWCFs vision of a nourished


soul one who can rise above the challenges he or she is facing and use his or her
faculties knowledge, skills, abilities and even weaknesses to make better his or
her life and that of the community where he or she lives. While this does not happen
to everyone, several of these experiences have been observed by the different people
involved in the project. As what Corazon Latorre, program officer of AusAID-funded
(Australian Agency for International Development) projects that included several that
SWCF implemented, observed, the most significant change that happened to people in
SWCF sites is confidence in their own capacities; where before the people expressed
absence of capabilities regarding self-governance and financial management.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 26


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

Our Task as Earthkeepers:


Responding to the Call for
Environmental Management

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 27


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

You are no less than


a child of the Maker
Youre an earthkeeper of
the land of your birth
You are created to be a creator

Youre the lifebearer of Mother Earth.

Excerpt from the song Earthkeeper by Gary Granada

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 28


Mrs. Gemma Bag-o monitoring
the agroforestry farm established by a SWCF project
last 2003 in Taytay, Duero, Bohol.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 29


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

CORE BUSINESS

It is an understatement to say that the very reason why SWCF does all the things that it
currently does is its deep care and concern for the environment. To realize its vision, the
Foundation operates five (5) program thrusts, namely; 1) advocacy and environmental
education, 2) protected area management, 3) livelihood for rural communities, 4) natural
resource management and 5) karst management. Underpinning these program thrusts is
the objective of making the earth a sustainable place to live in.

All of the projects that SWCF implemented in Bohol, not only those that were supported
by Organization for International Co-operation on Development Projects (DISOP), are
geared towards environmental management, especially of forests and their resources. Its
project within the Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape (RSPL), those that were geared
towards the empowerment of Eskaya communities, the Micro-Watershed Component
project, the establishment of a Biodiversity Center, its youth and student programs, are all
directed towards capacitating peoples and organizations in taking care of environmental
resources from rivers, to trees, birds, bats, ferns, to caves, streams, forests and many more.

Rumila Bullecer, dean of the College of Advanced Studies of the Bohol Island State
University and one of those involved in the implementation of SWCFs projects, said
that SWCFs greatest strength is the integrity and personal passion towards sustainable
natural resource management of SWCFs top management. Referring to Executive
Director William Granert, she said that the passion is too infectious that the staff and
all workers couldnt help but imbibe the values and put them into practice.

RESEARCH-BASED IMPLEMENTATION

This passion is grounded on evidence. SWCFs work on environmental management


is premised on solid research. It is one of the organizations in Bohol whose work is

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 30


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

extensively informed by research, and whose activities also inform future learning and
research processes. It conducted extensive inventories of flora and fauna within RSPL,
conducted research on bats, dipterocarps, and ferns, conducted feasibility studies on
guano and bamboo production, and did value chain analysis of organic chicken, organic
pork meat, and bananas.

SWCF Project Manager Regina S. Sagpang


monitoring a plant nursery in Garcia, Batuan, Bohol.

Julie Barcelona, a research associate of the School of Biological Sciences of the


University of Auckland in New Zealand, worked as a research consultant of SWCF
when she was curator of ferns at the Philippine National Herbarium. She coordinated
the fern survey in RSPL that led to the publication of an academic paper and several
information materials. She said the SWCFs approach that blends research and

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 31


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

community conservation is laudable. She believes that SWCFs multi-pronged


approach to conservation and community development is essential
because it does not only consider conservation based on science knowledge
and recommendations but it also build capacities to communities to use
their resources sustainably. Examples of this were their introduction to the use of
composting, nursery of native plants for reforestation, and encouraging women to be
proactive in their role.

FROM RESEARCH TO ACTION

What SWCF knows from research, it uses to influence communities to implement concrete
actions. Over the years, SWCF, with the support of Organization for International Co-
operation on Development Projects (DISOP) and the cooperation of the community
residents, have established Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) sites for the restoration
of forest landscapes, continuously collected data from Biodiversity Monitoring System
(BMS) trails in fifteen barangays, and established a communal bamboo production site
and a native tree gene bank at 7 primary schools. These activities do not only help
restore the environment but also protect rapidly vanishing species from extinction.
These practices, along with continuous awareness raising and education efforts, have
resulted to noticeable changes in the environment.

John Mark Porinas, a child of a project participant from Rizal, Batuan, in a creative
visualization exercise, reported that the most significant change he noticed in their
barangay is the increase in the number of trees and birds, and the improvement in the
condition of the environment. This observation is confirmed by results of BMS which
reports a 22% increase in the number of seen/heard birds in the project areas when 2014
figures are compared with the previous year.

However, BMS does not only function as a monitoring tool in SWCFs project sites.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 32


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

It also increases community vigilance against poachers. Activities that work


Community volunteers who regularly conduct biodiversity
monitoring were able to increase awareness of families,
including children, to protect birds and report those who Policy advocacy at the
hunt birds in the locality. Those residing by the river local level on key
stopped the practice of using poison to catch fish. environmental issues.

CHANGING INDIVIDUAL PRACTICES Research results are used


in information, education,
Actions at the community level need to be and communication
complemented with changed practices at the activities.
household or individual level. The realization that
individual action can revive or destroy the environment
has become strong across project sites. Reizl Jose, assistant Enforcement of national
professor at Bohol Island State University said that SWCFs laws in partnership with
projects in the areas have significantly contributed to local governments.
change in practices to the benefit of the environment.
Reizl once worked with SWCF as biodiversity specialist
and led the faunal survey of all barangays within the Rajah Biodiversity
Sikatuna Protected Landscape (RSPL). monitoring systems.

People begin to change practices Putting up of


demonstration farms
because they realized that the and gene banks.
environment matters, because this world
is our only home, she emphasized. Curriculum development
on environmental
education.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 33


The realization that individual action can revive or
destroy the environment has became strong across
project sites that different organizations, together with
local officials, agreed to implement more sustainable
practices at the household or individual level.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 34


Project beneficiaries from Garcia Multipurpose Cooperative monitoring
the native tree gene bank established by a SWCF project last 2011 in
Garcia Primary School, Garcia, Batuan, Bohol.

Different organizations, together with local officials, agreed to implement more sustainable
practices at the household or individual level. For example, community residents have
increased awareness in waste management and have practiced waste segregation in
households. Families have also engaged in recycling activities. Households have installed
composting facilities and burning of household and farm residues decreased. Communities
do not burn plastics anymore. Farmers, on the other hand, no longer burn rice straw in
the fields but instead use it as material for organic fertilizer.

Planting and growing trees has become a practice of most communities. Families, becoming
increasingly aware that climate as well as water supply is positively affected by growing

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 35


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

Children of project beneficiaries in Janlud


(Janlud Farmers Field School, JFFS) studying the IEC materials produced
by the SWCF project posted at the nurseries in Janlud, Batuan, Bohol.

more trees, have made it a conscious effort to plant trees and replace those that were cut.
Finally, use of organic fertilizer has increased over time. Farmers are now aware of the
harmful effects of inorganic fertilizer on the long-term condition of their farms. While a
total switch to organic fertilizer is not observed, there are more farming households who
practice organic agriculture now as compared to before the arrival of SWCF.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IS KEY

Central to these changes is SWCFs efforts to educate the public. SWCF conducts
extensive trainings on environmental awareness, produces information materials for
distribution, and uses display billboards to publicize information about environmental

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 36


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

management. SWCF engages different actors and stakeholders women and men,
farmers, government officials, and even children and youth.

SWCF trains teachers and students on environmental conversation, and accepts


interns to work in their projects. One of the very successful school-based environmental
education programs was the one implemented at the Sierra Bullones National High
School. Students and teachers joined hands to implement sound environmental practices,
including the upkeep of its own tree park within the campus.

Lucia Virador of Bugsoc, Sierra Bullones said that she benefitted largely from the
trainings that SWCF conducted that increased her knowledge on sustainable farming
practices. She was able to attend different trainings contour farming, organic farming,
environmental management, leadership, management, and bookkeeping, among others.
Children of project participants like Angeline Bravo also confirmed this, saying that
the changes in the environment were brought about by the education activities that
their parents have attended. Among those she highlighted were the trainings on contour
farming, use of organic fertilizer, livestock management, and nursery establishment.

INSTITUTIONALIZING ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES

There is a need to sustain these practices. One of the activities that SWCF does
is to lobby for policy issuance at the level of the barangay, the Philippines basic political
unit. For example, SWCF and its barangay-based organizations lobbied for the passage
of local ordinances on non-burning of rice straw, which a majority of covered barangays
were able to pass. In the Municipality of Batuan, SWCF, in partnership with the towns
vice mayor, passed an ordinance requiring upland farmers to implement contour farming.
Other practices are embedded in organizational policies, for example, the application of
sustainable farming practices is required before any grant of livestock loan is released.
After presenting the results of a Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS) research which

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 37


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

Project beneficiaries in Lataban, Sierra Bullones, Bohol,


doing their monthly voluntary works in one of the demo farms
established by a SWCF project.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 38


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

showed the increase in bird species, one


municipality declared two SWCF-assisted
barangays as bird sanctuaries.

The changes in waste management


practices, mentioned above, were also
impacted by SWCFs strong advocacy for
the local implementation of Republic Act
9003, otherwise known as the Philippine
Ecological Waste Management Act.
Without this advocacy, local governments
would not have been made aware of
updates regarding current environmental
laws in force, or encouraged to implement
these laws in full.

SWCF realizes that one of the


better ways to institutionalize
environmental practices is through
the enactment of appropriate laws
or regulations. Engagement with
relevant policymaking bodies
is critical. For example, in 2005, a
Memorandum of Agreement was signed
between SWCF and the Provincial
Government of Bohol, through the
Provincial Planning and Development
Office, Bohol Management Office and
Bohol Tourism Office, to prepare an
Ecotourism and Biodiversity Conservation

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 39


Our Task as Earthkeepers: Responding to the Call for Environmental Management

Framework Plan of Bohol which is in line with the development vision and thrust of the
province. This framework aimed to guide the municipalities to adopt major strategies for
the conservation of biological resources and the unique natural and cultural heritage of
the Boholanos. Through this engagement, SWCF was able to influence public discourse
in environmental policies.

SWCF has been very active in these opportunities to influence policy. SWCF Executive
Director, Mr. Bill Granert, was once the vice-chairperson in Bohols sectoral technical
working group under the Environment and Natural Resource Management Sector and
has been very active in discussions on environmental management. He is currently
the focal person for the biodiversity sub-sector for the Bohol Physical Framework
Plan 2016-2021. SWCF personnel were also actively involved in the drafting of the
Bohol Environment Code (1998). This was the first such document of its kind at the
provincial level in the country. SWCF also participated in the upgrading of the Bohol
Environment Code in 2014-2015. Through these opportunities, SWCF asserts its role
in ensuring that the environment is protected by law, and that people are encouraged
to ensure its implementation.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 40


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

Sustaining Peoples
Livelihood:
Key to Environmental Conservation

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 41


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

Sustainable development
is development
that meets the needs of the present,
without compromising
the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs.

The Brundtland Report, 1987

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 42


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

POVERTY COEXISTS WITH ENVIRONMENTAL FRAGILITY

In the areas where SWCF operates, poverty is a prevailing condition. For example,
using December 2010 figures, poverty incidence averaged 20% in the barangays where
the projects are located. At the same time, the areas covered by SWCF are part of a
vulnerable eco-system. Portions of Batuan and Sierra Bullones are part of the fragile
ecosystem comprising the Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape and also the Chocolate
Hills Natural Monument. All of these five municipalities are within major watershed
areas of the province. Pilar and Guindulman are part of the Caruod Watershed; Batuan
and Sierra Bullones are part of Loboc Watershed; Pilar, Sierra Bullones, Duero and
Guindulman are part of the Wahig Inabanga Watershed. Parts of Duero also form part
of the Alijawan-Cansuhay-Anibongan Watershed Reserve Area.

Mr. Nemrod E. Dolotina, SWCF staff, demonstrating to


the elementary pupils the proper procedure of planting trees.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 43


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

The classic argument is that poor


people are not able to conserve the
environment because their poverty
will push them to extract resources
irresponsibly.
Project beneficiaries in
Taytay, Duero, Bohol.

But studies have also shown that deforestation is caused


by corporate giants rather than poor people at the fringes.
Farmers have more incentive to protect the environment
because on it depend their livelihood. But with introduction
of technology for higher yield through inorganic fertilizers
for example, farmers are lured into unsustainable farming
practices. Also, the desire to earn quick cash in a context
where there is no insurance against unforeseen risks
tempts some farmers to poach natural resources.

UNDERSTANDING
LOCAL LIVELIHOOD SYSTEMS
Mrs. Temotea Biscayda weaving
a bag using abaca strips, Biabas,
SWCF provides an alternative view that earning income Guindulman, Bohol.

need not be at the expense of the environment. In the last


10 years or so, SWCF projects in Bohol have been directed
towards creating the enabling conditions for farmers to

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 44


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

earn their keep while at the same time taking care of


the environment. In this regard, several activities were
conducted by SWCF to assist farmers in strengthening
their livelihoods.

Farming is still a major source of livelihood for most


people. The land area of each of the municipalities covered
by SWCF is significantly devoted to agriculture. The
provincial agriculture plan identified these municipalities
as major producers of rice and other food products such
as vegetables and spices. The labor force survey of the
province, while done at the provincial scale, identified
that agriculture still remains the number one
leading source of livelihood with approximately
half of the productive labor force working in the
sector. For each of the municipalities covered by SWCF,
agriculture is the main source of income for more than
70% of the working-age population.

SWCF builds on the realities revolving around this context.


While some projects implemented by other organizations
focus on alternative livelihood (i.e. income sources other
than farming), SWCF focuses on understanding how and
why households choose livelihood activities and what
resources they can use to strengthen livelihood outcomes.
Naturally, SWCF focuses its interventions on what farmers
are able to do farming - and initiates activities that help
create a productive and sustainable farming enterprise.

Non-farming enterprises are also supported but these are

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 45


Mr. Piladelpo Dapar feeding his
free range chicken, applying some techniques
taught by the project.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 46


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

based on what resources are available in the area. Basket-


weaving using local material as abaca is one example of
this. In some cases, non-farming enterprises supported Activities that work
are those that respond to a particular need, like a grocery
store in a remote area, or a meat-vending business in a
place where a local market is not nearby. Technical trainings aimed
at improving livelihood
skills and acquiring
STRENGTHENING LIVELIHOOD ASSETS entrepreneurial mindset.

To do this, SWCFs interventions focus on strengthening


farmers livelihood assets. It conducts trainings on Financial assistance that
sustainable farming practices, farm management, is attached to the type of
entrepreneurship, business planning and management, project a farmer wants to
to increase farmers livelihood skills and change their implement.
farming practices. But these are not just classroom
trainings. SWCF conducts farmers field schools, site
visits to successful farmer entrepreneurs, and hands- Introducing sustainable
on application of learned skills. Because the SWCF livelihood practices
technicians live in the barangays, they are also able to
provide on-farm mentoring.
Enforcement of household
Lolita Hingpit, of Cambacay, Batuan said that after counterpart on livelihood
participating in the trainings conducted by SWCF, her projects.
familys farm has significantly changed. Their farm back
then was underutilized, but with SWCFs assistance, they
were able to actualize skills learned in farm planning Monitoring of livelihood
trainings. Their farm now produces different crops and activities.
livestock vegetables, spices, goats, hog, and chicken
they are able to sell and earn from.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 47


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

The trainings that SWCF provides are matched with financial assistance. SWCF
provides capital assistance for livelihood projects that farmers themselves identify
livestock, agricultural production, consumer stores, among others; this in a context
where livelihood finance comes with hefty costs. For a select number of beneficiaries,
SWCF is able to assist them in buying carabaos to use in their farms.

Jessel Gano, of Inaghuban, Pilar is very thankful to SWCF for the financial and technical
assistance that her family received. The different trainings together with the financial
assistance she received (in a form of a loan) helped her develop an entrepreneurial
mindset. One of the greatest changes I have experienced personally is becoming a
farmer entrepreneur. I now treat my farm as a business that I manage on a daily basis,
she said. Jessel was able to send her children to college using income from her farm.

If we use, for example, sustainable livelihoods framework in assessing SWCF support, it


can be said that SWCF intervenes in strengthening financial, human, natural, physical,
social, and political assets. This it does by providing access to inexpensive credit
(financial), training farmers (human), improving the state of the environment (natural),
providing farm assets like carabaos (physical), strengthening community relations
through organized groups (social), and linking organizations to local and national
government agencies (political). These different processes help strengthen livelihoods of
farming households in almost all SWCF project sites.

INTRODUCING SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOOD PRACTICES

SWCFs main effort is to introduce sustainable farming practices across its project sites,
veering farmers away from the use of inorganic inputs and pest management practices
that are hazardous to both human and environmental health. Farmers practice contour
farming, use organic inputs, conduct integrated pest management in their farms, raise
naturally-grown livestock, and use compost to convert organic waste to fertilizer.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 48


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

Mr. Ruben Ampoloquio,


Inaghuban Pilar Bohol Multipurpose Cooperative chairman
and Ms. Cressel Gono, coop sales clerk.

Farmers now plant their farms with more trees, and are very conscientious in waste
management practices.

According to Conrado Brigoli, a long-time SWCF Senior Project Manager who is now
working with Organization for International Co-operation on Development Projects
(DISOP), The attitudes of farmers now towards the use of sustainable farming practices
is a far cry from what I have experienced 19 years ago. When SWCF started in
Sierra Bullones, he saw how people were lukewarm especially to practices like organic
agriculture which had an initial negative effect on production yield. But people began

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 49


Sustaining Peoples Livelihood: Key to Environmental Conservation

to realize that livelihood is not only about profits, but also of ensuring that nature is not
sacrificed in our pursuit for better income figures, he added.

Sergio Macabudbud of Cambacay, Batuan, greatly appreciated how SWCF helped him
see that he can take care of the environment while at the same time continue earning
income from his farm. Like other farmers, he realized that agricultural productivity is
dependent on the capacity of his farm to produce. Without sustainable practices, the soil
will eventually lose fertility and jeopardize productivity in the long run.

LINKING FARMS TO MARKETS

To date, SWCF was able to strengthen more than 2,000 jobs or livelihoods in various
forms carabao, swine, and chicken production, consumer store, food vending, fertilizer
production, vegetable vending, among others. A major factor in this success is SWCFs
ability to ensure that producers are linked to markets. It sponsored feasibility and value
chain studies to serve as basis for its advisory inputs to farmers. It participated in trade
fairs to introduce SWCF products to more buyers. The foundation created a federation
of organizations so that it can act as a link between farmer producers and buyers.

The improvements in economic condition in the country and in Bohol also contributed to
the renewed strength of the local economy. Bohols tourism was able to bounce back after
the earthquake that devastated the province in 2013. Demand for agricultural products
remains high especially for specific crops and livestock. Bohol is still a net importer of
vegetables and spices. For naturally grown chicken, Bohol is unable to meet local market
demands. The opportunity exists. This is the reason why SWCF tried to facilitate
processes that would link farmer producers to a stable demand base. In most cases
though, it is the farmers inability to meet market demands in fixed and determinable
quantities that is lacking. SWCF will still test whether the farmers federation, it helped
to establish, will be able to fulfill the role of linking farms to markets.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 50


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

Empowering the People:


Why Organizing of Communities Matter

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 51


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

From planning, issuing orders,


transferring technology, and supervising,
they shift to convening, facilitating,
searching for what people need and supporting.

From being teachers,


they become facilitators of learning.
They seek out the poorer and weaker,
bring them together, and enable them
to conduct their own appraisal and analysis,
and take their own action.

Robert Chambers, in Paradigm Shift and the Practice of Participatory Research


and Development

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 52


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

Mr. Godo Limotlimot (wearing white polo shirt) teaching SWCF staff
and BIAMPC the use of participatory impact monitoring tools.

THE NEW? THE OLD?

SWCF desires to work with local organizations based in the project sites to
become its partners in facilitating development processes over the course
of project implementation. The intention is that these organizations will
sustain the projects efforts when SWCF exits the place as project ends.
Which organization will SWCF work with is a critical question. When SWCF arrives
at an area, there are generally already existing organizations, formal or informal,
registered or unregistered. Some organizations are sectoral in nature like womens
groups that were organized to deal with gender and development issues, senior citizen
organizations composed of women and men aged 60 and above, farmer organizations

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 53


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

that look into farm productivity, or informal savings and social security groups that meet
weekly to contribute and share resources for business, family use, or for death in the
family. Others are more formal like cooperatives that have been in operation for several
years, or associations registered with the Department of Labor and Employment.

The question then becomes Will SWCF work with an existing organization or create
a new one? In some project areas, the answer is simple, especially when no such
organization exists. Because SWCF would like to involve households, both men and
women, and deal with holistic issues, organizing a new one will be a natural choice.
In areas where organizations similar to the ones that SWCF would like to have (e.g.
cooperatives, cross-sectoral associations) exist, determining whether the organization is
the best group that SWCF will have to work with is sometimes a difficult task.

It requires that SWCF studies or gets to know the organization better, looking at current
membership, rules and regulations, financial systems, history of cooperation, and
reputation within the wider community. This is important because SWCF needs to trust
the organization, and the project participants from the community need to trust it as well.

In most cases, when SWCF finds an appropriate partner,


it chooses to strengthen existing organizations rather than
organize new ones because this recognizes current social
relationships within the community, significantly cuts
organizing work, and avoids division and disunity.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 54


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

Julito Gumapac, Municipal Agricultural Officer of Batuan, appreciates how SWCF


reactivated the organizations in their municipality and how it helped them find a
renewed sense of purpose. He noticed that organizational leaders have become more
empowered, thanks to SWCFs approach in involving farmers and local residents in
planning and decision-making. For him, organizational strengthening is one of SWCFs
biggest contributions to the community.

OCSAT: A FRAMEWORK FOR ORGANIZATIONAL


STRENGTHENING

SWCFs view of an ideal organization influences its interventions in organizational


strengthening activities. It uses the Organizational Capacity Self-Assessment Tool
(OCSAT) as a framework to structure its interventions and annually monitor progress.
The OCSAT uses six dimensions to evaluate organizational strength,
namely, governance, management, financial resources, service delivery,
external relations, and organization and program sustainability.

To improve governance, it facilitates processes so that organization can define its strategic
vision, mission, and goals, and develops a cadre of leaders within the organization that
has the ability to achieve this governance. To strengthen organizational management,
it helps the organization to formalize its organizational structure, train officers in
leadership and management, and define with them a process of planning, monitoring
and evaluation.

In the area of financial management, SWCF does a more purposive mentoring


approach, as this is a skill that most organizations are lacking. SWCF hires a financial
management expert that trains and mentors leaders performing management functions
and bookkeepers of the organizations. The consultant visits them regularly and at
scheduled intervals to see how these organizations are performing. He teaches them

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 55


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

accounting, simplified bookkeeping, store management, cooperative auditing, among


others. For bookkeepers, there is on-the-job coaching, to ensure that knowledge and
skills learned are consequently applied in real work situations.

Lina Sumaylo, member of a cooperative based in Bangwalog, Duero, very much


appreciated how SWCF mentored her in financial management. She realized how
important proper recording of financial transactions is to the overall health of the
organization. She previously did not have formal education on financial management
but is currently one of SWCFs best bookkeepers who also have the capacity to mentor
others. She even said that the financial management skills she learned were also useful

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 56


Artwork of Gargelson B. Lusica from VEMCO, 2nd prize winner of
the postermaking contest for project beneficiaries.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 57


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

Activities that work

Strengthening existing
organizations than
establishing new ones.

Using a framework
to structure interventions
in organizational
strengthening (e.g. OCSAT).

Developing a
core module of basic
trainings that can be run as
refresher courses regularly.

Peer learning
and field visits.

On-site coaching
on key critical skills
as bookkeeping.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 58


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

Annual assessment
using OCSAT.

Giving rewards to best


performing organizations.

Allowing organizations
to freely define
organizational goals.

Progressive hand-over
of tasks to organization
officials.

Officers of Bugsoc Farmers Association


doing business transactions of the association Involving organization
in Bugsoc, Sierra Bullones, Bohol. leaders in every
decision-making process.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 59


Lydia Acedilla, project technician, coaching the new manager
Aiza Melisimo on the financial flow of transactions of the
Small Coconut Farmers Organization.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 60


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

in the management of her personal and household finances.

ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING

SWCF has a core module for organizational strengthening that it conducts on a regular
basis as a refresher course. This includes trainings on (1) leadership and values formation,
(2) basic bookkeeping, (3) cooperative management, (4) audit management and (5) policy
and resolution formulation. These trainings are designed and delivered in different
formats, depending on the context and need of the participants. However, most of the
courses are done through initial training and followed-up with mentoring sessions on
site. This approach recognizes the fact that the SWCF assisted organizations are at
different development levels and are coming from different starting points.

Organizational Capacity Self-Assessment Tool (OCSAT) results, for example, show


that some organizations are far ahead in terms of organizational management, but
others are still lagging behind. In a few organizations, looking for alternative sources
of income is not a problem, but in several others, this is something that they are still
grappling with. So implementing the same training for organizations of different
capacities will be largely ineffective.

To facilitate sharing of experiences and cross learning from each other, SWCF conducts
at least two activities that hasten this process. First, SWCF supports field visits which
can be farmer to farmer, PO to PO, PO to NGO, and PO to LGU. It also conducts
annual Peoples Organization Congress where leaders from different organizations are
gathered together to share best practices, receive awards for outstanding achievement
(PO or farmers), discuss updates on product trends, funding opportunities, and basic
laws affecting them, and conduct evaluation and planning activities.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 61


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

STRATEGIC MONITORING

The presence of field technicians in the site allows close monitoring not
only of project activities, but also of organizational maturity. The field
technicians know what the current discussions are, what challenges the
organizations are facing, and what internal problems need to be resolved.
On the other hand, if organization leaders or members have questions or need advice,
the technician is there. The technicians attend project meetings, join the organization
in volunteer work, visit households from time to time, inspect minutes of meetings, and
looks at organizational books of accounts.

It is like us journeying with the organization every step of


the way, says Gerry Payot, a technician who has been
with SWCF for more than 10 years. He was single when he
joined SWCF. Now he has his own family and lives in Pilar.
If we live in the area, we know the organizational challenges
as they occur and provide the best help we can, he added.

The OCSAT, conducted on an annual basis, serves as an overall evaluation strategy,


with performance metrics for which organizations aspire. The presence of the technician
in the area is SWCFs main organizational monitoring mechanism. Consolacion
Vinluan, proprietor of Balay sa Humay in Batuan and one of SWCFs main partners,
commented that the changes in the communities that we can now see are the results of
the mentoring process and close/continuous coaching by the SWCF team even during
non-office hours and even after the turn-over of the project to the peoples organization.
SWCF staff has the ability and is competent enough to do this.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 62


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

INCENTIVIZING PERFORMANCE

Organizations and individuals assisted by SWCF set their own goals what they would
like their organization to achieve, and what they want as individuals to pursue. These
goals serve as their sign-posts in deciding what courses of action to take, what activities
to pursue, what skills are necessary, and what partnerships with external stakeholders
are critical. This is SWCFs recognition of peoples right to self-determination. What
makes the organizations and individuals motivated are the incentives that they receive
when achieving their own goals.

Incentives are mostly intangible in nature. During the annual peoples organization
congress, the best performing organization is awarded, and so is the model farmer.
Over the course of the year, high performing organizations become learning hubs, best
performing officers are tasked to mentor other organizations; every good deed is publicly
recognized.

Project participants feel that when they perform better, they are trusted more and are
given more support. Dionisio Palingcud Jr, of Rosariohan, Batuan, is one of SWCFs
model farmers. He takes pride in being one and is very happy that he is chosen by SWCF
to offer mentoring support to other farmers like him. Now, he is asked by SWCF to act
as a resource person in several trainings. He is also very active in his own community in
helping solve the persistent problems of poverty.

Regina Sagpang, SWCFs project manager, said that while they are very strict in the
implementation policies, they are also generous with rewards. They do not condone bad
behavior, but they also do not allow a good deed go unnoticed. This is the reason why
people appreciate how SWCF manages the project. They realize that everything that
SWCF does is for their own good.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 63


Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 64
Project beneficiaries from Taytay, Duero Bohol.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 65


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

EN-GENDER-ING DEVELOPMENT

With SWCFs projects, women in the communities have reclaimed their role in the
development process and performed it very well. Arnulfa Almedona of Janlud, Batuan
is very thankful that through SWCF she has learned livelihood skills and was able to
use them to increase her familys income. Nemesia Sajulga was able to send her child
through college because of the assistance of SWCF in improving her farming practices
and with the organizations financial assistance.

There are many women in the barangays who are now occupying top posts in the
organizations, positions that were normally held by men. They have become chairpersons,
vice chairpersons, secretaries, and treasurers. They participate in voluntary work, join in
biodiversity monitoring, participate actively in meetings, and lead community initiatives.
They are no longer at the sidelines in their communitys development.

Consolacion Vinluan captures this change very profoundly in her own words:

SWCF is successful in increasing womens ability to make


their own decisions which was denied to them before. They
are given the same opportunities as their male counterparts
in the business realm. SWCF has been a leader in helping
women to realize their potential. They believe that investing
in women strengthens families and societies. They are able to
develop womens leadership, increase womens rights, ensure
their personal security, and create new political and economic

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 66


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

opportunities. This is evidenced by womens high involvement


in programs and activities in the barangays, participating in
barangay elections, and leading the cooperative. In simpler
terms, women are now able to come on time during meetings,
follow simple instructions in the filling up of forms, and come
up with new ideas and solutions.

KNOWING WHEN TO LEAVE

The Organizational Capacity Self-Assessment Tool (OCSAT) and the individual


experience of SWCF staff with the organizations, and also the opinions of project partners
give SWCF a basis to say that it is already an appropriate time to leave. While handing
over of responsibilities is a daily activity for most of the technicians, actually leaving the
community is a programmed process. Lydia Acedilla, SWCF project technician said that
on a daily basis, they hand-over responsibilities to the organization as soon as they are
ready for them. But they only start leaving the community at the end of the second year of
project implementation, meaning, they no longer live with the people in the community.

For SWCF, a three-year project in strengthening organizations is too long for already
performing organizations, but too short for the struggling ones. This is the reason why,
when SWCF designs its project, for new sites, it still includes the old sites for monitoring,
continuous capacity building, and technical support. At the end of the project term, SWCF
turns-over to the organization, not only the project funds that they were able to grow
through their collective efforts, but also the responsibility of carrying on the activities.

The organizations readiness for turn-over are differentiated across organizations, and also

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 67


Empowering the People: Why Organizing of Communities Matter

differentiated across the types or nature of activities. For example, some organizations are
already very good at enterprise management but weak in terms of pursuing environmental
conservation. Some groups are good at financial management but weak in policy
implementation. A key mechanism in ensuring that organizations that SWCF supports
are able to support each other well is through the creation of the federation.

It is our greatest hope that the federation will be able to continue what we have started
and also do greater things for the farmers and the communities where they live, said Aida
Granert, SWCFs development manager. There are already signs that the federation is
moving towards this direction.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 68


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

Relationships that Matter:


Building Synergies for the Environment

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 69


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

By working together in partnership,


all stakeholders including farmers,
companies, governments and civil society
can drive a collective effort that
produces impact greater than the
sum of its parts.

World Economic Forum, 2016

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 70


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS

I have been with the Foundation since 1991 and have observed many changes in the
lives of the people who are our clientele, our partners in development. One important
aspect of the foundations work is networking, and we do this not because it is required
but because it is integral to our work, William Bill Granert, founder and executive
director of SWCF said.

Bills passion for people and environment and capacity to work meaningfully with
other stakeholders is greatly admired by the partners. Engr. Ronilita Bunado of
Bohols Provincial Planning and Development Office recalls with fondness how SWCF
has significantly influenced environmental planning at the province especially in
crafting the Bohol Ecotourism and Biodiversity Conservation Framework that paved a
significant change in the way provincial stakeholders view economic development and
the environment. Engr. Bunado said that the then prevalent conventional view was that
for economic development to happen, some destruction in the environment needs to be
allowed. Now, the view is that both goals are not incompatible.

In their advocacy for the environment, they are not


adversarial. They are willing to work with government and
other stakeholders and show us the way, she said.

Describing SWCFs approach, Engr. Bunado said, SWCF, through the leadership of
Mr. William Granert, was able to establish and maintain smooth working relationships
with the provincial government of Bohol, national agencies, and other partners in
development that we turn to them not only for technical, but also for financial support.
Bill showed extraordinary resourcefulness in his ability to find external assistance for

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 71


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

development and environmental projects, and generosity to part with whatever he is able
to gather and find.

SINCERITY AND INTEGRITY

Julie Barcelona couldnt agree more. She said that, Bill


and Manang Aida Granert are a couple committed to make
a difference in the lives of Boholanos, above and beyond
their personal capacities. I saw this in their persistence
and sincerity in helping the community go back to basics,
using natural resources sustainably, like what our ancestors
used to do, but adopting scientific knowledge in managing
the environment. Theyre an example of NGO leaders,
not getting to sustain their pockets and enrich themselves,
as what many NGOs do in the guise of environmental
conservation and education.

Bill and Aidas work ethic and vision of the organization has meaningfully cascaded to the
SWCF team. Engr. Wilson Pajo, Municipal Vice-Mayor of Pilar, Bohol said that SWCFs
sincerity is best exemplified by how its personnel live their lives as an example to other

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 72


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

Bill Granert meeting with a barangay (village) captain


as part of pre-project discussions, Batuan, Bohol.

people on how people should take care of the environment, on how they should make
their lives more productive. The technicians live on-site, and everything they do will
be known by the people they work with. In this context, it is difficult for them to say one
thing, and do another. They need to lead by example, he added. Building relationships,
in this case, is a daily affair, and critical to that process is to live what one preaches.

Those that have participated in SWCFs projects have attested to this. Several farmers
mentioned that SWCF technicians are always willing to help them every step of the

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 73


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

Activities that work

Participation in local
policy making bodies
(barangay to provincial
levels, governing
board, Protected Area
Management Boards, and
Forum on Environmental Justice, Iloilo City. coalitions).

Building the capacity


of local government
personnel like the
way. They are there to help us achieve our goals and
Municipal Agriculturist
they are really sincere in their efforts. They give much
and the Municipal
of their time to help our organization succeed, Antonio
Planning and Development
Quieta, Chairman of Bugsoc Sierra Bullones Farmers
Coordinators.
Credit Cooperative (BUFFACO), one of SWCFs oldest
assisted cooperative based in Bugsoc, Sierra Bullones said.

Sharing project proposals


to other non-government
THE SPIRIT OF SHARING
organizations to influence
proposal development.
This sincerity and generosity underpin SWCFs
work philosophy. SWCF does not mind sharing its
accomplishments with its partners. Bill recalled that
When working with government agencies, we try to see

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 74


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

that the government technicians receive credit for their


participation and that they can use the overall data from
the activities for their reports. This provides additional
accomplishments for the government field worker that may
not be possible because of budget and other constraints.
Participation in The data also enhances the work of municipal officers,
symposia, fora and such as the municipal agriculturist, since this person is
conferences relevant responsible for the agriculture activities in the town. In
to the work. this way, positive working relationships and cooperation
between SWCF and its partners are built and nurtured.

SWCF also does not hold on to their expertise but shares


Assisting organizations this with others. Everything that the organization or the
in the development of technician knows is shared to its partners, including the
project proposals and in farmers that they work with on a daily basis. They seek
finding relevant donors. to empower others through knowledge and make them
partners in the drive towards greater environmental
sustainability. This is exemplified in Dionisio Palingcud,
Jr. of Rosariohan, Batuan. It gave me a new sense of
Engaging widely purpose, Dionisio said. I am not just a participant in
in information, the trainings anymore now I am an educator of other
communication, and farmers. He feels that SWCF treats farmers like him as
education activities to partners in the development process and takes pride in the
benefit different sectors. fact that he is now, as a trainer, able to contribute to solving
one of the greatest problems in the community poverty.

The foundation also assists the peoples organizations


that they work with to extend their networks especially
for obtaining funding and training from different sources.
In the last ten years, several organizations were able to

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 75


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

access funding with help and support from SWCF to implement different projects as
water systems, agricultural development, and organizational trainings. It helps the
organizations build their network as well by sharing with them call for proposals,
contacts, and other relevant information that they can use in finding more resources for
biodiversity conservation and employment generation.

Beyond Bohol, SWCF is also active in promoting its environment agenda with other
organizations. Bill mentioned that SWCF has also influenced other Organization
for International Co-operation on Development Projects (DISOP) partners to look at
biodiversity as part of their programs. This has been done through visits of our staff
to their sites and their staff personnel visiting Bohol. We freely exchange information,
technologies and practices with other agencies, institutions and sector organizations.

SWCF is also active in knowledge production and sharing. Over the years, SWCF has
produced several research papers that they share in regional and national conferences
and fora that deal with natural resource management and other topics. The more our
name is known, the more are our opportunities to enhance our vision and mission call
to action, Bill added.

FOSTERING LOCAL OWNERSHIP

We feel that SWCFs work is our work too, Rizalino Canda, Municipal Planning and
Development Coordinator of the municipality of Batuan said. He highlighted the fact
that critical to SWCFs success in their project sites is how they involve every person
from government officials at the municipal level to the barangay, teachers, students,
farmers in the implementation of the project, always stressing the fact that the project
is not SWCFs, but that of the community.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 76


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

Opening of the biodiversity reserve, Malingin National High School,


Daan Bantayan, Cebu in 2010.

Making it work means working together, he added.

He also emphasized that SWCFs approach in participatory project implementation is


different from others, saying, We were not just consulted, we were part of the decision-
making process.

This networking philosophy does not just build stronger relationships with local actors it
also builds local ownership. As Bill said, Our projects do not operate in a vacuum within
a given site. There are many other actors affecting the same group of stakeholders with

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 77


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

which we work. Bringing them into the picture boosts cooperative effort and enhances
the work of the field technician and the local residents themselves.

A sense of ownership of SWCFs development efforts by local stakeholders was also


one of the most significant changes that Leonilo Lafuente of the Bohol Environmental
Management Office observed as a result of SWCF interventions. He is one of those
involved as resource persons in SWCFs trainings on the environment since 1998. These
trainings, he said, are one of the ways that government agencies like BEMO are able to
reach out to more people despite capacity constraints. These initiatives come across as
joint projects that we put our stakes on, and we ensure that these achieve the outcomes
we hope to realize, he said.

BUILDING REPUTATION

In recent years, SWCFs reputation as an organization capable of improving well-being


of communities and the environment has encouraged many local government units and
other partners to work with them. Over the years, SWCF has developed extensive lines
of communication with different agencies, organizations, educational institutions and
individuals that provide services, personnel, advice, materials and sometimes just a good
word about what the organization is doing. Bill provided a very clear example on how
they establish effective partnerships in biodiversity conservation while at the same time
build their good reputation.

Bill recalled:

Biodiversity conservation as a program is a good example


of how we have expanded the networking to different sectors

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 78


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

just through one activity. The institution of the Biodiversity


Monitoring System (BMS) by farmers in fifteen barangays
has led to the farmer data collectors going into the classroom
to teach elementary students and teachers about local
biodiversity. This has strengthened the relationship between
the Department of Education (DepEd), SWCF and the local
farmers. It also provided local students information they
would not normally be exposed to in the classroom.

The biodiversity information, especially about birds was recently provided to the
Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) that is now developing the
Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan for Bohol, 2016-2021, a key
planning document required under the law. The collected data will be used to support
activities suggested as part of the framework plan to conserve Bohols biodiversity.

All the agencies who are represented on the natural resources


sub-committee (including SWCF) now know about the
information and how it was collected. The network of who
knows about our work is significantly expanded.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 79


Relationships that Matter: Building Synergies for the Environment

The information from the farmers will also be used to update displays at the Bohol
Biodiversity Complex (BBC) in Bilar, Bohol. This educational facility, including the
Dipterocarp Center and native tree nursery, provide visitors with a glimpse into the
wildlife and plants of Bohol.

SWCF helped build the BBC over the last 12 years. It is now part of the official Bohol
Tourism office education tour route in the province. It is extensively used as a training
center for both teachers and students from Cebu Island. The complex provides an
example of how to set up educational information structures and trails as well as preserve
wildlife and plants. The complex has influenced 44 different public high schools and
elementary schools in Cebu Province. Thus, our networking with the DepEd continues
to expand, not only in Bohol, but in other parts of Region 7.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 80


Reaping the Harvest: Concluding Remarks

Reaping the Harvest:


Concluding Remarks

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 81


Reaping the Harvest: Concluding Remarks

Comedian A. Whitney Brown once said that

The past actually happened but history


is only what someone wrote down.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 82


Reaping the Harvest: Concluding Remarks

What this book attempts is to document what SWCF has done in the last 20 years or
so in its continuous struggle to promote biodiversity conservation and the well-being of
poor farming communities. It may however only offer a glimpse of what has been made
possible, not necessarily attempting to do justice to the numerous sacrifices and best
efforts made by SWCF to advance these goals, relying largely on the memory of several
informants to whom the writers are most grateful and the available photographs taken
and documents produced since SWCF started its work in the province of Bohol.

Indeed, the previous chapters have documented what SWCF has done to achieve the
kinds of change that it now sees in the lives of farmers, community leaders, women,
students, children, government officials, researchers, community development
workers, technicians, founders changes that have enriched each individuals
appreciation of the environment and understanding of ones capacity to
destroy or protect our one and only home. As nature cannot speak, the previous
chapters have also attempted to describe how SWCFs efforts have made progress in
bringing back the trees, bringing back the birds to sing in its branches, and making the
streams flow with water again. For sure, the harvest has been bountiful, though
not yet enough.

The quest to nourish the earth and nurture the soul is not yet over. More than ever, the
need for SWCF and other similar organizations to continue its efforts is huge, in a context
of declining moral values, weakening social and political institutions, and a warming
earth. As this book ends, it is hoped that more organizations do what SWCF does, that
more organizations and individuals will invest in the kinds of work that SWCF engages
in, and that more people of this planet will realize that there is no other opportune time
to care for the only home we have but now.

We congratulate SWCF and its partners for the great work so far as we challenge them
to do more for the sake of the earth and all that live in it.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 83


Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 84
CREDITS

Main Author: Michael P. Canares



Contributing Author: William Granert

Production Team: Aida Granert Marilou Sale


Jean Celeste Paredes Ma. Isabel Retutal
Arlen Canares Mariejoe Narca

Photography: SWCF Resources Ernie Crescencio

Lay-out: Hazel Denise Karunungan

Book Cover: Selina Meldred O. Gomez


Garcia Multi-purpose Cooperative, Garcia Batuan, Bohol
First prize winner, SWCF poster making contest

Book Concept
Workshop Participants: Conrado Brigoli Nemrod Dolotina
Regina Sagpang Marilie Magduza
Gerardo Payot Nilo Engbino
Lydia Acedilla Geno Omac
Gemelina Piollio
Resource Persons:
Arnulfa Almedona Leonilo Lafuente
Mila Baisac Corazon Latorre
Julie Barcelona Sergio Macabudbud
Rumila Bullecer Wilson Pajo
Ronilita Bunado Dionisio Palingcod, Jr.
Rizalino Canda Antonio Quieta
Jessel Gano Nemesia Sajulga
Julito Gumapac Lina Sumaylo
Lolita Hingpit Consolacion Vinluan
Reizl Jose Lucia Virador

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 85


Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 86
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This book will not be possible without the generous support of the DISOP, DISOP
Philippines, and MISEREOR.

Dienst voor Internationale Samenwerking aan Ontwikkelings Projecten or Organization for


International Co-operation on Development Projects, is a Belgian private non-stock,
non-profit organization established in 1961 and recognized as a Non-Governmental
Organization for Development Aid. In the course of the years, DISOP managed to build
up a firm and dynamic supportive group in Belgium as well as in other parts of the world.
DISOP considers itself as an instrument of solidarity among nations, contributing to the
development of less advantaged nations in the world.

DISOP Philippines, is an Agency for International Development, co-financed by the


Belgian Government through its Development Aid Fund. It supports community-initiated
development programs, which are based on economically sustainable, ecologically sound
and gender responsive development efforts. We aim to achieve this through financial
assistance and multi-level capability building in partnership with non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) and peoples organizations (POs) with the end-view of improving
the quality of life of poor communities.

MISEREOR is the German Catholic Bishops Organisation for Development


Cooperation. For over 50 years MISEREOR has been committed to fighting poverty in
Africa, Asia and Latin America. MISEREORs support is available to any human being
in need regardless of their religion, ethnicity or gender. MISEREOR therefore believes
in supporting initiatives driven and owned by the poor and the disadvantaged. This is
because in MISEREORs experience it is they themselves who possess the strength to
improve their lives sustainably.

Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 87


Nourishing the Earth, Nurturing the Soul / 88
Produced by the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation
with funding support from DISOP, DISOP Philippines and MISEREOR