Philippines Update: Spring 2016

Our Global Associate in the Philippines, Dr. Susana Anayatin brings us up to date on plans for newly restored water wells in the four primary municipalities she and her team are working in within Maguindanao. 

Specifically, the commitment for the school year 2016-17 is to have ten fully restored water pumps in each municipality, for a targeted number of 40 total by the end of the school year. This is an ambitious plan, but in-line with previous years numbers.

To accomplish the goal, already in this calendar year, we have released installation materials to South Upi - the first of four targeted municipalities.

We are happy to report that those schools that have already been beneficiaries of the water pump restoration project in previous years, have seen the majority of their pumps still in good function and delivering clean water supplies to their communities. See the full map here

Below is a brief status update to each of the four municipalities: 

1. Buldon:

As per confirmation with the PTA, TIC and district supervisor of the West District, Buldon is ready for installation. The PTA started digging for the installation of the hand pump. Individual schools which will be serviced in Buldon are waiting for the scheduled release of the materials. For the East District, the district supervisor will be confirming if the schools already prepared the needed counterparts.

2. Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan:

As discussed with MPDC, final discussion with the municipal and school administrators will be conducted and they have already extended invitations to the Institute and our volunteers to the handover ceremony. This will provide the opportunity for the Mayor to oversee the actual ceremony and allow for a photo opportunity of the actual installation in one or two schools. Schedules will be provided as they are confirmed. 

3. Matanog:

The mobilization of additional materials and installation costs still needs to be discussed with the Mayor and the barangay chairperson. Discussions with the MPDC have already been made and met with their approval.

4. South Upi:

Per feedback from the district supervisor, the schools within the district are digging for the installation and as mentioned earlier, materials have been fully released and the process is underway. We are still waiting for further feedback from our colleagues that have been deployed to South Upi for verification on the status of the installation. With South Upi and all the municipalities, we will be updating the status of progress as we enter the next stages. 


[quote]The generosity by those who support us as we continue to share our stories of struggle and progress online, are the lifeblood to what we do."[/quote]


It is worth reminding all those who follow our progress in Maguindanao, that the ongoing effort to bring clean water to the schools and communities of the province, would have been a lot more difficult without the power of social media - and the support made possible by you. The generosity by those who support us as we continue to share our stories of struggle and progress online, are the lifeblood to what we do. Please share our progress with your friends and colleagues - join us in our fight to solve the water crisis in Maguindanao! 


Philippines Accomplishment Report: 2015

The words driving our mission, Building Grassroots Partnerships for Global Change, were put into practice over the past year in the Philippines. And after another year building capacity in the southern Philippines, we can modestly say that we were successful in this endeavor, sustaining our presence in flood and conflict affected areas in Cotabato City and the Maguindanao Province. Through developing partnerships with local communities, the Department of Education, local government officials, and the Filipino military, the Goldin Institute was able to successfully implement the following projects from January to December 2015:

1. Access to Clean Water:
The Goldin Institute installed a total of 18 water pumps; (12) in public schools in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Province, (3) Division Traning School, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, (1) Cotabato City, (2) Markatz Orphanage, Sultan Kudarat.

2. Promotion of a Culture of Peace:
Part of gaining access to safe and clean drinking water is promoting an environment of peace in the community. The Goldin Institute Philippines accomplished this task by conducting a series of twenty lectures and orientations on a wide array of subjects. The 2,000 participants from various sectors and communities in Cotabato City and the Maguinadanao Province learned of environmental protection, gender and cultural sensitivity, alternative conflict resolution, and human rights. These lectures were integral to maintaining civil peace between the citizens and paramilitary forces, the root of previous unrest.

3. Child Soldier Prevention:
The four decades of armed conflict between the government and rebel forces in Maguindanao have increased the incidence of child soldiers amongst government and rebel forces. Children under 18 are forced to join rebel groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf, and government forces. Ordered by teachers or leaders to support a side of the conflict, it is not uncommon for students to disappear from classrooms. The Goldin Institute carefully advocates for child soldier prevention in the following ways:

  • Through our School Brigade, we distributed school supplies, hygiene kits, provided food, and free haircuts to 300 elementary students at Mother Kabuntalan, Maguindanao, for the start of the 2015 school year. We partnered with teachers, parents, military personnel and officers, as well as members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Goldin Institute is proud of the fact that, for the very first time, Filipino military and rebels worked hand-in-hand, face-to-face, to serve a future generation of leaders. Mother Kabuntalan is a place of both armed conflict and a region prone to natural disasters like floods. It is one of GI’s adopted “Schools of Peace” in the Philippines. We provided schools in this region with water pumps, conducted peace seminars for parents, teachers and students, and facilitated the construction of brand new school buildings equipped with six classrooms, which was funded by the Japanese Embassy.
  • Since September of 2015, Dr. Susana Anayatin’s graduate students from Maguindanao State University (MSU) initiated a visit to Markaz Aytam Orphanage in Gang, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The orphanage consists of 280 male Muslim war orphans ranging from seven to eighteen years old. The Goldin Institute provided them with food and sports equipment and took the opportunity to survey their needs, such as hygiene, sanitation, food, dormitory repairs, and availability of water facilities. GI provided (2) water pump units as well as infrastructure repairs to make sleeping arrangements more comfortable. Dr. Anayatin’s graduate students provided provisions for rubber slippers as most orphans were bare-footed during the initial visit. Through a generous American donor, a set of garments are being sewn for each orphan during prayer.

Dr. Susana Anayatin with members of the military

This project would have been a lot more difficult without the power of social media. After sharing our stories of struggle and progress online, we were assisted with basic needs for the children, both by government and private sector donors. These needs included bedding, dormitory repairs, medical and dental assistance, food, and some television sets for the children’s enjoyment.

Reflecting on our accomplishments for 2015, we can humbly say that we were effectively and carefully able to impact the peace process in Mindanao. Through our local grassroots movements, we hope to continue this progress and contribute to offsetting the impact of climate change.

The Water Ladies of Navajo and Mindanao

Perhaps we like this story so much about one woman making a difference by bringing fresh water to her extended community, because it reminds us of our own global associate working in similar ways for her own people.

Both Darlene Adviso and Dr. Susana Anayatin share the common goal of ensuring that those in their communities without clean water don't continue to fall through the cracks of government bureaucracy. They both have taken matters into their own hands to serve a population that has been largely overlooked and forgotten. 

Recently, CBS News featured Darlene and her story of driving a water tank truck daily to deliver clean water to those in the Navajo Nation near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Shockingly, an estimated 40% of people living there do not have access to clean water. They have to bring water into their homes bucket by bucket, because even if their homes are plumbed to bring running water in, they are off the 'water-grid' and there isn't a supply even available to them. Much of this is because Indian water rights were an after-thought to agreements between the U.S. government and the Navajo Nation and the only water that they legally have access to is 'ground-water'. Complicating the issue, are accessibility challenges, because even at 600 ft. deep, much of the water underground is contaminated by uranium. Engineers and dedicated non-profit leaders are working on a solution to provide a system of water to the population that will go deeper – deep enough to make sure that the water supply will be drinkable and clean for in-home use. This could be years away and until then, Darlene makes her daily rounds in her water truck to bring her community the water it needs to sustain life.

Akin to the Navajo clean water issue in New Mexico, the Goldin Institute's own Dr. Anayatin has cut through bureaucratic red tape and assembled those in the community on both sides of the civil-conflict in Mindanao, to work together in restoring safe drinking water to elementary schools serving both the children who attend and the communities at large in these rural areas. Just like Darlene and her water truck, Susana and her team have found a way to get around obstacles and negotiate a harsh environment and often harsher political climate, to make a difference in these communities. Susana and her story are profiled at our new microsite which can be found here.

Although one woman is in the southwest U.S. and one is in the southern Philippines, Darlene and Susana are connected by the common mission they share and the passion they bring to helping their communities. 

Darlene Adviso in New MexicoGoldin Institute's Susana Anayatin in Mindanao, Philippines