Building a strong community requires believing in the potential and capacity of the people. Xavier Science Foundation Inc., has always recognized and respected the indigenous knowledge of its partner communities when it comes to forest protection and governance. XSF works closely with its partners to identify the gaps for capacity building intervention. As rapid global changes occur, XSF aims to offer innovative knowledge, tools and skills that can enhance its partners’ capacity to manage its forests and its organization.
The Enhancement for Community Capacity for Sustainable Ecological Protection and Economic Development (ECOSEED)-Phase 2, is a support project of the Payment for Ecosystem Services in Mt. Kalatungan Range in the province of Bukidnon, Philippines. Among ECOSEED’s key components is to give community-based organizational development and leadership training to the seven Indigenous Peoples Organizations surrounding Mt. Kalatungan. They are being transitioned to be legal, duly registered and self-sustaining entities that are able to manage development projects on environment and livelihood.
ECOSEED is currently working with the Miarayon Lapok Lirongan Talaandig Tribal Association (MILALITTRA) in the municipality of Talakag; the Portulin Talaandig Tribal Association (PTTA) and Nagkahisuang Manobong Manununod sa Yutang Kabilin (NAMAMAYUK) in the municipality of Pangantucan, the Catal Lumad Development Association in the municipality of Maramag; and the Tumindok Association, MANTALA and BLLUPPENTRAS of the city of Valencia.
The organizational development training has been implemented in Pangantucan, Maramag and Valencia in May and June, attended by the IP organization’s officers, members, women and youth. The local government unit and other community stakeholders have also joined the said training.
“Among nakat-unan..nga daghan kaayo ta og resposibilidad arun makab-ot ang atong tumong, arun nga malig-on pud atong organisasyon nga dili siya basta-basta mabungkag. Dako kaayong pasalamat sa inyong tabang labi na nga daghan kaayo mi og wala nahibal-an (sauna). Dili man ni namo maabot kun wala ni gikan sa inyoha.”
(We have learned that we have a lot of responsibilities to fulfill if we want to reach our goals, and if we want to stay strong as an organization. We are very thankful for your help, because we didn’t know all of these things before. We wouldn’t have gained these if it weren’t for you.) says a participant from CALUDA during the training in Maramag.
NAMAMAYUK tribal chieftain datu Imbay-Aw Suclatan from NAMAMAYUK says “Ang akong nakita nga dili diay mapasagaron ang adunay makatungdanan. Kinahanglan diay gayud nga maghiusa, magsinabtanay, pinaagi sa pagtapok. So diha diay, mao diay kadto ang tinooray, nga pag tambayayungay..dako nakog kalipay, kay ang pagabuhaton diay sa isip dunay katungdanan hilabi na sa chairman, kay imo diay tan-awon ang kinatibuk-an, kung kinsa kadtong dili nagalantaw, ug kung kinsa kadtong nilabaw na, kinahanglan gayud nga ipatas nato. So kadto, nisibo kadto sa among kultura. Nga kung ikaw isip usa ka Datu. Mo gamit ka ug timbangan, ug gantangan. Kinahanglan, ang gantangan, dili mo awas, dili pud mo kulang, kinahanglan usa jud ka gantang. So mao na ang mga baruganan nga kultura sa mga Lumad.”
(I realized that those in authority should not be apathetic. They need to be united, to understand one another through dialogue. This is the true meaning of community support. I am very grateful because I’ve learned that those in authority, especially the chairman, has to look at the whole picture- to see who has less and who has more. And to ensure that all should be fair. This (principle) is in line with our culture. If you are a tribal chieftain using a scale, you must always ensure fairness- no one should have less and no one should have more. This is what we stand for and believe in as Indigenous Peoples.)
The training for MILALITTRA is set for implementation on the second week of July. The organizational development training will be followed by a series of leadership training focusing on the organizations’ officers, women and youth.
The ECOSEED project is supported by the Forest Foundation Philippines.