Dr. Susana Anayatin and Diane Goldin open the new safe drinking water station at Tenorio Elementary School in Mindanao, Philippines.

Determined Strides: Dr. Anayatin's Path of Empowerment and Peace with the Goldin Institute

Dr. Susana Salvador Anayatin, a member of the Parliament of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in the Philippines, has partnered with the Goldin Institute since its launch in 2002. She paved a path that is a testament to growth, positive change, and tireless activism in helping her community with peace and development initiatives through her community activism, institutional work, and joining forces with the Goldin Institute. Her engagement with the Goldin Institute inspires her to become more passionate about working for the welfare of the orphans and widows of war and the underserved sectors of our society.

Group photo at the 2002 Goldin Institute Event in Chicago.
Participants meet at the inaugural global convening of the Goldin Institute in 2002 in Chicago.

On a personal level, as a global associate of the Goldin Institute, Dr. Anayatin learned to become a global citizen by engaging with people from different countries. In this interview, she dwells more on these and how her motivation stems from personal tragedy, which she turned into strength and courage. She also touched upon impactful initiatives in the Philippines, emphasizing her transformative journey and dedication to peace-building efforts.

Diane Goldin, Travis Rejman and Susana Anayatin meet with the senior leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to discuss ways to reduce tension through the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Diane Goldin, Travis Rejman and Susana Anayatin meet with the senior leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to discuss ways to reduce tension through the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in the Philippines.

Journey with Goldin: Partnerships Yield more Services for Underserved Communities 

At the beginning of our conversation, she acknowledged that she gained education and skills in engaging with the Goldin Institute since partnering with grassroots communities. “I had a change of mindset. I now believe that peace and development are shared responsibilities between governments, private sectors, and grassroots communities, as they are all stakeholders of peace and development.”, she says. “I learned that through partnerships, we will yield more resources and services for the unserved and underserved in the communities.” Her values for volunteerism were also strengthened, alongside a more vital willingness to share skills to change lives, especially the out-of-school youth and illiterate adults.

She speaks about one specific initiative that evolved as part of the Goldin Institute’s work and its impact on helping the community with water pumps.  “I was able to participate in a Goldin Institute Event in Taiwan about the provision of clean water, after which our team partnered with the Goldin Institute on a project to provide water facilities in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, specifically in the Provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Cotabato City.” Through the three-year project, they installed about 430 water pumps in different public schools, now serviceable to school children and the adjoining communities. “This time, as a Member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament, I could sustain the water project by saving some funds from our office. Since last year, we have constructed five water sources with hygiene and sanitation facilities in remote villages.”

Susana Anayatin and children at a school in Mindanao access safe drinking water
Susana Anayatin and children at a school in Mindanao test the new access safe drinking water

She is fortunate to have attended another Goldin Institute event about child soldier prevention in Colombia. “As a war orphan, I have been passionate about sharing some basic needs with war orphans here. We solicit food, school supplies, medicines, and clothes and bring them to orphanages. This time, since I have some sources, we take care of four orphanages, one home for older people, and a dormitory for disadvantaged students.” She further adds: “We are taking care of these war orphans because of their vulnerability to being recruited as child soldiers if they are left unschooled and homeless.”

Diane Goldin, Travis Rejman and Susana Anayatin meet with teachers at the Darping Elementary School in Mindanao, Philippines to bring safe drinking water to the school.
Diane Goldin, Travis Rejman and Susana Anayatin meet with teachers at the Darping Elementary School in Mindanao, Philippines to bring safe drinking water to the school.

Turning a Personal Tragedy into Strength to Help her Community 

Her motivation to get involved in peace and development work has its roots in a family tragedy- to which she did not surrender.  “I am the daughter of activists who fought alongside the Americans against the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. I became a war orphan because our father was killed in front of us in our house at the early stage of the armed conflict here in Mindanao.” Life has not been easy for her. “I had to work hard for my high school and college education at the backdrop of the armed conflict.”

Her brother, a policeman, was also killed brutally at the height of the kidnapping in Mindanao. “Despite poverty, I was able to finish college and landed a job in government. The loss of a father and a brother inspired me to join groups that advocate for peace, justice, human rights, and peaceful resolution of conflicts.”

Group Photo at the ARMM Governors Office featuring Susana Anayatin, Travis Rejman and Diane Goldin
Susana Anayatin, Travis Rejman and Diane Goldin meet with the Governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao ARMM in the Philippines.

Sharing Decades of Learning: Peacebuilding as a Shared Vision and Dream  

Dr. Anayatin shares with us also a key lesson she learned during her community-led peacebuilding work and efforts. There is a particular reaching that stands out to her as transformative. “I learned that peace is possible and that peacebuilding must not be dictated but a shared vision, dream, and passion where the stakeholders walk together along the journey.” She highlights that peace could be a lifetime process as a way of life.

Goldin Institute Board member Mimi Frankel meets with Global Associate Dr. Susana Anayatin at a planning meeting in Chicago.
Goldin Institute Board member Mimi Frankel meets with Global Associate Dr. Susana Anayatin at a planning meeting in Chicago.

Speaking from her experience, she shares a mindset from which individuals and organizations working in peace can benefit.Consultation must be conducted in project and activity planning. The environment of the communities is vital, from planning to implementation and monitoring of projects/activities to establishing ownership and sustainability.” she says. She draws attention to a crucial matter in the peace-building process and collective efforts to achieve that. “Peacebuilding is contextual. Culture, traditions, behavior, values, arts, et cetera matter and should be considered. Further, peacebuilding is a crucial factor for the success of peace initiatives.”

Spreading a Message of Hope and Unity 

As the Goldin Institute recently celebrates its 21st anniversary, she notes the organization's most significant achievements. “The Goldin Institute created a platform for peace practitioners, academics, students, youth, and women to share knowledge, articles, and experiences in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, and post-conflict reconstruction. It established connections and reached people far beyond borders, especially in countries experiencing armed conflict and violent extremism. [...] People are interrelated regardless of creed, religion, ethnicity, political beliefs, and orientation. My experiences at the Goldin Institute allowed me to overcome the feeling of victimhood.” Concluding on a positive note, she recalls that now she enjoys a more peaceful life and is willing to journey and walk together with people from all walks of life.

Dr. Susana Anayatin poses with children from the Lower Taviran Elementary School at the opening of the safe drinking water station at the school in Mindanao, Philippines.
Dr. Susana Anayatin poses with children from the Lower Taviran Elementary School at the opening of the safe drinking water station at the school in Mindanao, Philippines.

 

About Dr. Susana Salvador Anayatin: 

Dr. Susana Salvador Anayatin pursued postgraduate studies in Peace and Development that enhanced her peace-building skills. She currently teaches Peace Education, both formal and informal, and one of the subjects is Conflict Resolution and Prevention of Violence Extremism. Most of her students and participants are youths, and she partners with local NGOs and the military since violent extremism is still an issue in Mindanao.


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Donate your woolens this winter

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Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Volunteers Double the Impact of Grant from Lush Foundation

When our team in the Philippines received the grant from the Lush Cosmetics Foundation, they made a commitment to install 16 water pumps serving at least 3,500 students in Maguindanao.  Thanks to the additional support from a crowdfunding campaign led by Board member Akif Irfan and the tireless efforts of a network of volunteers in the Philippines, our team more than doubled the impact we were expected to achieve.

This past year, the Philippines team exceeded all expectations by providing 36 water pumps at 35 different schools reaching a total of 5,884 students in five different municipalities across Maguindanao.

This is a remarkable acheivement anywhere, but especially difficult in the area of ongoing conflict where we work that this year flared into multiple indicidents of violence and a declaration of martial law.  In our region, nearly three out of every four people lacks access to safe drinking water and children are especially hard hit and routinely become ill from contaminated water. This project brings water to schools in part so that children can stay healthy and in school and not travel great distances to retrieve water for their class, regularly losing precious classroom instruction time. 

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In addition to the direct service of installing water pumps at schools, our has been involved in a wide rage of meetings, events and forums throughout the year, especially around Peacebuilding and the "Bangsamoro Basic Law" legislation designed to reduce tensions in the region. In addition, the team expanded the partnership with the World Food Program to promote hygiene and sanitation for students, teachers and in food preparation.  

There are many stories of children and schools whose lives were impacted by the access to safe drinking water that support from Lush made possible, but we are particularly proud to share an update about the five water facilities in Barangay Bugawas, Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao. Barangay Bugawas is a vulnerable and conflict-affected community where most of the residents have historically supported the aims of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that is in an open and often violent conflict with the government. These communities have been engaged in the volunteer efforts to bring the water pumps to schools in this region and have coordinated their actions and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with leaders from both sides of the conflict, demonstrating that it is possible to work together to solve problems in ways that build momentum for peace in the region.


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Get Involved: Campaign for Safe Water in Mindanao

For Advisory Board Member Akif Irfan, helping a grassroots organization solve a water crisis in the war-torn Philippine island of Mindanao is both part of his personal responsibility as a Muslim American, and just another chapter in his long relationship with the Goldin Institute.

This summer, Akif launched a fundraising drive with his family and friends to support the work of Global Associate Dr. Susana Anayatin and her team, who have provided water pumps to more than 113 schools in the Maguindanao province of Mindanao, serving over 40,000 students in a region where more than 70 percent of the population face obstacles to accessing safe water. Maguindanao is ethnically and religiously diverse, with a Christian majority and a sizeable Muslim minority as well as a significant number of animist tribes, along with a long history of inequity and outright oppression that has sometimes erupted into violence.

PhilippinesAkif04

A local insurgency in Marawi City in the neighboring province of Lanao del Sur exploded when foreign fighters affiliated with the so-called Islamic State joined the fight and prompted a massive response from the Philippine Armed Forces this summer, including the imposition of martial law. When the conflict spread to nearby Maguindanao, the military stepped up its activities there as well. The conflict has literally come close to home for Susana on several occasions, as in September, when improvised explosive devices were detonated on a road she uses occasionally, wounding four people. Nevertheless, she has deftly navigated the political, economic and social hazards, collaborating constructively with all sides to provide tangible benefits to communities wracked by warfare and poverty.

To install the water pumps, Susana works closely with military officials who have the heavy machines they need and with the rebel groups who control the territory where some of the schools are located. The Goldin Institute has been working with Susana since 2011, providing her with financial resources and opportunities to meet with grassroots leaders from around the world. This training enhanced her leadership skills and reputation, and ultimately prepared her to serve as her community’s representative in an ongoing peace process. Late last year, Susana was appointed a commissioner of the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which includes members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as well as the government and is dedicated to obviating further outbreaks of violence and ultimately establishing stability throughout the region.

PhilippinesAkif03

This summer, the Goldin Institute was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Lush Cosmetics Charitable Foundation for the installation of 16 additional water pumps serving approximately 3,680 more students. The Lush Foundation, a philanthropic leader in supporting grassroots driven social change, also offered to provide information about the project on their website and on select product packaging to help raise awareness about the Goldin Institute’s work.

PhilippinesAkif05As a Goldin Institute Advisory Board member, Akif has kept track of Susana’s efforts and saw an opportunity to build on this momentum. He initiated a fundraising drive that coincided with Ramadan, the Muslim holy month which ran from the end of May to the end of June. Unexpectedly, it was also the moment the conflict in Maguindanao intensified, adding new urgency to the campaign, since the installation of the water pumps solves an immediate need even as it supports cooperation between parties with historically fraught relationships.

[quote]“By installing pumps in schools, we are promoting education and helping to foster an informal peace process.-- Akif Irfan[/quote]

Akif continued, “In light of the recent increase in civil strife in Mindanao, the need to address water security has become even more critical.” Tapping his network of family and friends, he has already raised $5,085, to date, with an ultimate goal of $12,500, which will pay for water pumps at 10 new schools, serving thousands more children. The Goldin Institute has committed that 100 percent of the funds raised through Akif’s campaign will be used for the provision of safe drinking water.

A $1,250 donation will pay for the installation of a jetmatic pump at a new school. You can get involved for as little as $5 by clicking the image above to add your contribution!

Akif’s history with the Goldin Institute dates back to 2007, when he served as an intern while an undergraduate at Northwestern University studying economics. Now a vice president at the Goldman Sachs financial firm, he joined the Advisory Board in 2014, has represented the Goldin Institute at conferences in Mexico City and New York City, and contributed to the development of the Gather platform. While the history and status of Filipino Muslims is not well-known even within among Muslims, Akif, whose own family originated in South Asia, points out that the community on Mindanao suffers from discrimination as well as entrenched poverty and the catastrophic effects of climate change, and are therefore more likely to lack access to safe water.

[quote]“By bringing all sides together to solve problems, the Institute’s approach is helping to create lasting change." -- Akif Irfan [/quote]

[hl bg="#d1e1ff" fg="#FFFFFF"]Join Akif in supporting access to safe drinking water in the Philippines![/hl]


Philippines Water Project Reaches 40,000 students!

https://youtu.be/pHYjrvGO15g

Working within a coalition of members in civil society, non-governmental organizations, the military, armed guerillas and parents, Susana and her team overcame persistent challenges which still remain moving forward.  

A joint report released this month from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef shows sobering numbers for safe drinking water access in the Philippines. According to the numbers released, 7.5 million Filipinos are without access to sanitary toilets, while 8.4 million do not have a supply of clean drinking water. 

A local insurgency in Marawi City in the neighboring province of Lanao del Sur exploded when foreign fighters affiliated with the so-called Islamic State joined the fight and prompted a massive response from the Philippine Armed Forces this summer, including the imposition of martial law. When the conflict spread to nearby Maguindanao, the military stepped up its activities there as well. The conflict has literally come close to home for Susana on several occasions, as in September, when improvised explosive devices were detonated on a road she uses occasionally, wounding four people. Nevertheless, she has deftly navigated the political, economic and social hazards, collaborating constructively with all sides to provide tangible benefits to communities wracked by warfare and poverty.

To install the water pumps, Susana works closely with military officials who have the heavy machines they need and with the rebel groups who control the territory where some of the schools are located. The Goldin Institute has been working with Susana since 2011, providing her with financial resources and opportunities to meet with grassroots leaders from around the world. This training enhanced her leadership skills and reputation, and ultimately prepared her to serve as her community’s representative in an ongoing peace process. Late last year, Susana was appointed a commissioner of the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which includes members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as well as the government and is dedicated to obviating further outbreaks of violence and ultimately establishing stability throughout the region.

"It is summertime here in our region," Susana explained, "and our students are on vacation through the end of May. We are also dealing with flooding and as well as peace and security challenges. There are military operations happening in the areas we’ve targeted for water pump installation, as the national government is waging war under martial law."

Even amidst these difficulties, progress continues as our partners have recently installed four more units, including one in a community where Muslims and Christians living and working together.

In addition to leading these water pump installation efforts, Susana has been chosen by these communities to be a representative in the national peace process since her appointment late last year as a commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.' 

This milestone was complemented by another historic moment in the project with the announcement of a $20,000 grant from the Lush Cosmetics Charitable Foundation.


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Major Foundation Support for Philippines Water Project

We are pleased to share that the Goldin Institute has received a $20,000 grant from the Lush Cosmetics Charitable Foundation to support our work in the Philippines.

With this grant, the Goldin Institute will be able to expand the safe drinking water project to an additional sixteen schools in Mindanao, estimated to reach more than 3,680 students. To help raise awareness about the Goldin Institute’s work, Lush Cosmetics has also agreed to provide information about the project on their website and on select product packaging.

This support will be a major boost for our work in the Philippines, which recently marked a significant milestone by serving over 40,000 students at 113 schools in Mindanao. As you know, this work is critical in a region where over 70% of the population lives without reliable access to safe water.

The Goldin Institute is proud to parther with the Lush Foundation, a philanthropic leader in supporting grassroots driven social change.

Please join us in thanking the Lush Foundation Charity Pot program for their generous support!

 


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Interfaith Groups Work Towards Peace in Mindanao


This story summarizes the hopes of interfaith groups dedicated to building peace in the southern Philippines. These peace activists, including our friend Father Angel Calvo, continue to advocate on behalf of the peace process that would bring an end to the decades-long conflict between the Muslim and Christian populations of Mindanao.

The sentiment of those quoted in the story, closely reflects that of our Global Associate, Dr. Susana Anayatin. Although not in attendance at the gathering in Zamboanga City, Dr. Anayatin added her viewpoint:

 

[quote] I agree that Peace in Mindanao remains elusive despite our peacebuilding efforts. It is very complicated now because of the election campaign period and effects of the long dry spell. We cannot just preach peace to empty stomachs ... many people are hungry because they cannot plant food crops. Poverty in rural and urban areas increases. Issues of global terrorism attributed to Muslims is also affecting our peacebuilding efforts as some crimes committed here are allegedly committed by ISIS sympathizers. [/quote]

 

For more on this issue, and to see how Susana's work in rebuilding the water supply to school children and the wider-population of Mindanao goes hand-in-hand with furthering the peace process, visit our issues page here

 

 

 

 

 


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Celebrating Earth Day 2015


Over the weekend, our global associate in the Philippines, Dr. Susana Anayatin celebrated Earth Day 2015 by leading a series of trainings on Environmental Protection and Cultural Sensitivity to over 129 soldiers of the 61D Division Training School, Philippine Army. The partnership that Susana has created with this Division is key to ongoing efforts in Mindanao to bring clean water to schools and communities most needing infrastructure improvements. Find out more on how they are doing this at our info page here.   

Susana has a long history of being a strong proponent of environmental causes in the southern Philippines and it bears repeating her stance on why Earth Day should be a rallying cry to everyone to take action: 

For me, Earth Day is a time to reflect on the condition of the planet as a result of human activities. We know that the scientific evidence reveals that our ecosystem is in a very critical situation - the shortage of food and water, rising air pollution, and global climate change are very real and alarming. Threats on human survival and other forms of creatures have hastened our need to act.

Mitigating plans and actions must be taken by all nations and people to save Mother Earth. It is VERY URGENT. We can start with education, which will play a great role to instituting long term solutions.

As part of our project work in restoring water supplies to primary schools in the southern Philippines, we have proposed to make environmental education part of the curriculum so that students and their teachers are more aware of the inter-relationship between human beings and their environment as a source for not just water, but also food, air, shelter and other basic needs.

The necessary actions to protect the environment, such as tree planting, proper waste management and enforcement of policies and laws should also be part of school curriculum - and the Goldin Institute Philippines continues to play a part in making this a priority.

As my team and I work on the ground in trying to bring safe drinking water to the schools of Maguindano, I become more aware that the work cannot be done without additional government advocacy in partnership with civil society and business sectors. These must be strengthened here in the Philippines, but I imagine that it is the same for all regions, whether it is Chicago or the developing world.

 

[quote]There are many planets in the universe but only one which sustains human life ... Let us love and respect mother earth so that future life will not be compromised."[/quote]

- Dr. Susana Anayatin

 

We are proud to continue to partner with Susana and the on-the-ground grassroots efforts to improve the environment in her part of the world. We invite you to learn more and become more involved!


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Addressing the World Water Needs

Because just about everyday there is another report on the shortage of adequate drinking water to the world's population, we are always on the look-out for new and inventive ways of delivering clean, drinkable water – especially to those who currently do not have access.

This 'edible water blob' could replace plastic water bottles, which currently impose great health and environmental risks. Check out the three founders of this unique delivery system and see why they are winning awards for their design. With enough attention and backing, the 'blob' may become a reality and a new standard for how we consume water.  

And to see how we are solving the water crisis in Mindanao, please see our microsite at this link.

 

 - Photo Credit: Skipping Rocks Lab


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Water on our Mind

Water Crisis Declared in Mindanao

Officials of Butuan City in restive Mindanao have declared an unprecedented "state of water crisis" after more than a month of severe water shortage that has affected the lives of the more than 200,000 residents.

As the story reports, this crisis was brought on by the last natural disaster that struck the southern Philippines in December, the tropical storm "Seniang."

Our own Global Associate, Dr. Susana Anayatin continues to bring clean water to residents and school children in the same region, by maintaining the water wells restored by the Goldin Institute in recent years. We will continue to monitor the official announcement from Butuan City with Susana and post up-to-date developments on how she and her community is being impacted by the current crisis. The interactive map demonstrating our work with Susana in the region can be viewed here

Clean Water Not Just an Issue in the Philippines

In Zambia, this recent story points out their own crisis. Over 5 million people are thought to be without clean drinking water. Directly from the piece, WaterAid country representative Fatoumata Haidara commented on the how this impacts Zambia:

 

[quote]A lack of sanitation is a public health issue as people are affected by their neighbours and communities' sanitation status as well as their own. The implications of not improving access to clean water and good sanitation will have a spiral effect on all the other sectors such as health and education."[/quote]

 

In a related story, a public health consultant furthers the case that sanitation efforts would lead to cleaner water on the African continent and cites the serious challenges that need to be addressed:  

Africa has the lowest water supply and sanitation coverage of any other region in the world. It is estimated that one in three Africans has no access to improved water or to sanitation facilities and the number of people lacking those basic services is increasing. The majority of those lacking basic services live in informal or suburban areas and rural communities. Unless actions are taken now, the absolute number of people lacking basic services will increase from 200 million in 2000 to 400 million in 2020.

New Standards Being Set - New Breakthroughs Being Made

The Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation or (JMP), recent research published online, recommends a new standard for how "we measure progress toward universal access," said Jamie Bartram, the Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the Water Institute. "Drinking-water and sanitation are essential for good human health and the benefits are maximized when delivered at home." See more on this story here.

And in this recent editorial by a former U.S. policymaker and physician, Bill Frist speaks to 'clean water as a currency for peace' and why we should legislate towards helping achieve clean and safe water around the world:

 

[quote]In my own experiences as a physician regularly leading medical mission trips, I am constantly struck that providing medical assistance and public health services to others is interpreted as a currency of peace and ultimately as an aspect of public diplomacy. Our assistance to other nations in these areas seems to accelerate in impact when it provides tangible benefits to everyday people. The Water for the Poor Act has been proven."[/quote]

 

Finally, we found this story about a Haitian-American janitor at Princeton working singlehandedly to help bring clean water to his home village. Here is an excerpt from the full piece

water shortageAs a young boy growing up in La Source, Lajeunesse and his brother Chrismedonne would make the treacherous three-hour climb up and down the side of a mountain to reach a spring. It was the only way they could get clean water for their family. They watched as their fellow villagers got sick from drinking contaminated water from the river below or injured themselves climbing the mountain trying to do the same ... it was after the 2010 Earthquake that he would take action, and Lajeunesse raised $38,000 with students at Princeton to build the pipeline that would bring clean water to La Source. Raising the money was only the beginning. Building the pipeline would prove immensely challenging and take the strength of the entire village to accomplish. Yet eventually, it came to be.