The University’s resolute commitment of extending life-changing assistance to farmer organizations in underserved rural communities has been made evident through the various programs, agro-technologies and other related services delivered to these marginal sectors of society.
Recently, another farmer organization, the MABAFA or the Matanguilon Badjang Farmers’ Association located at Prk. Matanguilon and Badjang, Brgy. Camingawan, Kabankalan city, with 20 registered members, benefited from the Season-long Farmers’ Field School (FFS) on organic farming, livestock and crop production. Headed by the College of Agriculture and Forestry (CAF), the 16-week training started on the third week of April 2021, and is expected to be completed on the second week of August of the same year.
Part of the said program was the needs assessment survey so as to facilitate immediate assistance for the solution of their long-standing problem in the community.
Constrained by poverty, not to mention the rough geographical terrains in the area, the team learned that most of the farmer members who were also identified members of the Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) group known as the Bukidnon Tribe, never had access to electricity. As destitute households situated in off-grid populations, access to electricity are indeed out of reach and next to impossible.
This dire situation had restricted household adult members from effectively carrying out their evening chores, especially for the children who find it really a challenge to do their lessons and other school works especially in this time of pandemic with modular instruction being utilized in public schools.
Hearing this long-standing plight of the members, CPSU immediately scheduled for a training-workshop on “Household-based Designing and Installation of Solar Home System” last August 12, 2021. Here, the team provided free solar panel, equipped with controller, battery and LED lights installed and ready for each family’s use.
This initiative was headed by the CAF team, together with the College of Engineering (COE), College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the Gender and Development (GAD) Unit.
Crossing through rivers, into jagged terrains, thick bushes and steep mountain slopes, the team was determined to bring the hope of light to each of the identified households. Accompanied by the members headed by their leader, Mrs. Cristina Canonoy, MABAFA president, they went to each household rekindling the proud Filipino values of Bayanihan, camaraderie, cooperation and compassion for others.
At the end of the day, a total of ten (10) households were lighted up. These were the homes of Mr. And Mrs. Arsenio and Josephine Fausto with their 10 children, Mrs. Nenita Montecino, Mr. Jeaboy Fausto, Mr. Saldy Fausto, Mr. Rey Sagrado, Mr. and Mrs. Jandumon, Mrs. Lolita Canonoy with her children and grandchildren, Mr. And Mrs. Jemuel and Emelyn Juanico with 2 children, Mr. Gary Canonoy, and Mr. and Mrs. Samson and Nelia Canonoy with their 6 children.
Likewise, they were provided with access to adequate and safe domestic water for household use and backyard farming since their water source was still almost 5 kilometers from their area. The CAF team provided them with a hose from the river that served as their water source and installed it in a common area where every surrounding household could gain access to it.
For the community, especially for the women and children who often do the domestic chores of fetching water for the family, this is a huge relief for them. This likewise ensures the health and safety of the entire family and promises a more productive time spent for other essential chores.
CPSU president Dr. Aladino Moraca stated that the bottom line of all these endeavors extended to the community is to create a safer and decent living for them through sustainable and life-changing initiatives especially for the rural poor communities.
“Poverty alleviation through livelihood skills and technologies for rural industrialization have always been our aim in all these efforts. Making our farmers more self-sufficient and productive will help in uplifting our local economy while ensuring better and food-secured future for these families,” Dr. Moraca explained.
Further, Mrs. Maryvic Pedrosa, CAF extension coordinator, also explained to the MABAFA members that this is the most effective and practical way for the institution’s efforts to be felt by the community. The only trade-off that the University asks from the recipients is to protect and conserve their surrounding forest patches within the University’s reservation area, through propagation and planting of fruit tree seedlings in the hedgerows of their farm lots and adopt organic farming as part of the advocacy of the University.
This is the winning strategy of the University to best combat forest denudation and environment degradation especially in its reservation area by partnering with the locals to help the University in keeping watch and in safeguarding the environment with the help of the residents themselves.
By: J.A. Emoy