This EVOKATION is dedicated to all of the amazing people I have had the privilege of connecting with and learning from here in the Philippines.
1. The Place. Where will you make a difference? Describe the institution, community, town or other geographic or virtual space in which you will focus your efforts.
Magic Farms, Mambatagan, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines.
This is owned by a wonderful family in a beautiful part of the world. They live sustainably, think progressively and are looking at how they can share their land and resources in a way that will not only benefit themselves, but more people in the local community and the neighbouring city.
There is incredible potential here. There are already 20 children at schooling age ( a combination of the family's children and the workers'). It is only 1 hour 30 minutes from Cagayan de Oro, the nearest city and yet it feels incredibly remote. This accessibility means that children from outside Mambatagan can enjoy the benefits of the project as they can visit for day trips, week long retreats, or could even be weekly boarders if that suits the family set up.
This is the perfect setting for a progressive education centre, a skills training centre for women to make crafts from trash, a retreat for city dwellers who need to reconnect with the land and want to learn how to set up their own gardens back in the city, and a place of opportunity, exchange, recuperation and empowerment for women and their families who live on the dumpsite in Manila.
There are already 20 children at schooling age.
(EVOKE blog link: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/when-the-tokyo-food-crisis)**
2. The Challenge. What will you aim to change, and for whom? Highlight what is the need that you perceive and who will benefit from this change.
I firmly believe that education is the most powerful tool for change but I also believe that the education system itself needs to be changed in order for its potential to be maximized. I have come to realize that transforming the education system on a national level is an enormous task that will take a long time. Small tangible steps, however, can really contribute to this process. We need to tap into communities and educators that 'get it'. Those that understand that our children are faced with a very different future than we were and we need to prepare them for it.
One of the first things that needs to be tackled is breaking down the walls between the school, the workplace, the farmers, the NGOs, the rich, those living in poverty, the rural, the urban... This is a huge need that I perceive and EVERYONE will benefit from this initial change.
3. The Idea. Your solution – what is the action, product, service, project, change that you will initiate? Tell us how will your idea will succeed where others have failed.
There are 4 branches of my proposed project. Here is the wish list:
A. a progressive education centre
one that will teach 21st century skills through working with the land. One where children from schools across the island, country (world?) can own their learning, share their ideas, gain the tools to act and become empowered enough to be leaders of change on the local level initially, then national, then global level!
Success Factor-There is a growing number of educators hwo realize that traditional eductaion systems are inadequate for equipping our children with the skills necessary for contributing towards a sustainable future. More schools are recognizing this and are looking for experential learning opportunities to enrich their programs with. There are some inspiring models of success already (eg. Laimplaimat Pattana school http://villagedevelopmentpartnership.org/VDP_lpmp.asp and Riverside School http://www.schoolriverside.com/
(EVOKE blog link: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-school-opens
B. a skills training centre for women to make crafts from trash
women seeking to get involved with sustainable livelihood projects so that they can ameliorate living conditions for their families.
Success Factor- There is one resource that we have plenty of here (and all over the world)- TRASH. Plastics are not biodegrading, our earth is getting suffocated as landfills overflow... we need to use these materials for profit. Making crafts is also providing an outlet for creative expression and the perfect endeavour to pursue in order to capitalize on the ingenuity that can arise from desperate situations, such as poverty.
(EVOKE blog link: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/empowering-women-through-...
C. a retreat for city dwellers who need to reconnect with the land and want to learn how to set up their own gardens back in the city
a program that can be attended by people living in the city who want to learn more about setting up their own gardens so that they can grow their own food, in window boxes, urban schools, rooftops, wherever!
Success Factor-There is a growing trend in this area. There are a number of organisations and communities that are already tapping into this need. Bahay Kalipay (http://www.bahaykalipay.com/) and Happy Earth (http://www.happyearth.info/index.html) are just two here in the Philippines. As education levels increas, and awareness of the need for sustainable living is reaching a high, more and more people in cities understand that the benefits of being able to provide their own food and modelling for (and teaching) their children to love the earth so that they can look after it better than this generation did.
(EVOKE blog link: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/its-that-easy-right
D. a place of opportunity, exchange, recuperation and empowerment for women and their families who live on the dumpsite in Manila.
Women who work with PCF will be given the opportunity to be trainers for women in Mambatagan. Not only will they teach how to make beads from glossy magazines, bags from ring pulls and bags from plastic bags, they will also have the opportunity to breathe fresh air and rest in the countryside.
Success factor- There is already one member of the Magic Farm family who has been inspired by the work of PCF and has started her own recycling projects. She is aware of the need in the local community and recognizes that she could help women their benefit from these initiatives. Some interest in CDO has already been aroused too.. city recycling schemes could be promoted and improved through this project expanding. On the PCF side, there have already been considerable needs a****sments and their are reliable women who can be trusted to lead these training programs on the farm. Traveling and being paid to share their skills in a beautiful environment would be incredibly empowering for these women from Tondo.
(EVOKE blog link: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/life-in-tondo-ten-years-on)
4. The Money. What would you do with your first US$1,000 given or invested in support of your vision?
As all four branches of this initiative are of equal importance (and inextricably linked), the initial 1000$ awarded would be split four ways:
$250 on branch A: Budget for an open day promoting the new education centre to the local community and schools too. The more connections with local schools and other institutions, the better. We need to break down the dividing walls and have 'buy in' right from the start. The community approach is key to the success of this program. Transparency, sharing inspiration, collaboration.
$250 on branch B: Some of this would be spent on transport. Shuttling people to the first meeting to discuss these ideas, on site. I feel that it is important for the potential trainers from Tondo to be part of this project from its conception, to ensure ownership and sustainability of this initiative.
$250 on branch C: build dorms that visitors attending teh retreats can stay in. Invest in sustainable building design such as permaculture, solar panels and water collectors. MODEL how this might look in their own homes back in the cities. Perhaps build an earth ship or adobe building eventually?
$250 on branch D: As this is inextricably linked with branch B, the unds would be allocated in order to facilitate the participation of women from Tondo and perhaps fees for their children to attend the education centre for the duration of their teaching period at the skills centre.
** Relevant blog entries are referenced to show that this EVOKATION is the natural outcome of my 10 week course in changing the world. It is interesting to note that I did not consciously formulate my EVOKATION action plan before this week. It seems to have sprouted organically as the product of 10 intensive weeks of reflection, doc**entation and envisioning. Thank you Alchemy for providing me with a framework that has helped me collate all of my learning and ideas sprung from 6 years in this inspiring country.