For the past few months, I’ve started working with Alexa Mira Society, Inc., a non-profit organization that aims to uplift the lives of a poor community in Pasig, Philippines. My team and I are working on a project entitled 3S On The Go. It’s named as such because the project has three main programs: sustainable feeding program, sustainable urban farming program, and sustainable livelihood program, which essentially stands for the “3S”. To make them truly sustainable, we need to take action, hence the “On The Go”.
My contributions include helping develop the urban farming program, as well as creating marketing collaterals for our awareness campaigns. As a team, we make sure to look out for each other and find problems that we can help one another with. So far, the experience has been great, and we’re looking forward to the developments of this project.
Our initial beneficiaries are five families in Barangay Palatiw, Pasig City. Here are some photos of them.
What we wanted to bring to these families are the necessary knowledge and skills that they’ll need to thrive. While I was checking the families’ profiles, I noticed how they have several children (i.e. it is a common notion among poor communities in the Philippines that having more children will help them rise from poverty easier because “more family members mean more income earners”), the mothers were mainly housewives, and the fathers are either a tricycle driver or construction worker. These are typical family conditions in communities like Barangay Palatiw.
But where does our team come in?
One fact about creating community programs is that you can’t enforce anything into a community. They won’t necessarily adhere to how you want them to change their lives, because they would have a different idea as to what constitutes a “good life”. So you have to make a compromise.
One of the things I learned after having a discussion with my team and a person experienced with feeding programs is that people coming from poor communities have a different view of life satisfaction. You may think, for instance, that perhaps creating a large urban farm in a poor community would surely uplift their lives because they would potentially have a lot of clients looking for vegetables and root crops, among others. However, people from these communities view it differently, probably it may even be a hassle for them. In fact, some of them went away from the province where they used to farm, because they think life in Manila is so much easier. But we know that’s not the case. So you compromise. What do these families really need?
We think that the feeding, urban farming, and livelihood programs will help for three main reasons:
- The feeding program will teach the families proper nutrition both for the kids and adults
- The urban farming program will augment the existing vegetable gardens that some of the families already have in their respective vacant lots
- The livelihood program will teach them about business and therefore, help them learn to become self-sustaining and earn more money apart from their current income sources
Of course, these are mainly projections at the moment. We’ll see where we go from here, and we are taking things one step at a time.
What I really love about this project is on how we get to help improve the lives of these families. There is no certainty that the project will last long-term, but that is what we are working on now. Calculated risks. Sound program design. Proper budget allocation. Systematic implementation. Seamless coordination.
Thankfully, the project is well-funded. This is one reason for us to go all-out in terms of giving better lives to the families. Personally, I haven’t had an extensive experience in the area of advocacy projects like these. The most experience I’ve had is being a volunteer in socio-civic activities that last for a day. Nevertheless, this one’s off to a great start and I’m daring to go at it with no holds barred.
Here’s to more sustainability-driven advocacy projects in the Philippines.
Let’s take the conversation forward. Find out how we can collaborate for a sustainable future: https://berdeboy.blog/collaborate/