Saturday, June 15, 2013

WAND Foundation is one of the winners in the 2012 Search for Philippine Innovative Human Rights Initiatives

KaSaMa 2012
Karapatan Sa Malikhaing Paraan

Project Entry:
Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation

We promote water and sanitation as the flagship initiative and integrating agro-reforestation and development among Higaonon Indigenous Peoples. Water and sanitation is a human right issue with the UN explicitly recognizing that clean, drinking water and sanitation as essential to the realization of ALL human rights (Resolution 64/292). In its General Comment No. 15, it mentioned that “human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity”.  Water should be sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable.  We focus on Higaonon communities because they are left alone, disadvantaged and powerless. Our proposal integrates the provision of water via gravity-fed impounding system and improving water quality via biosand filtration, promoting ecological sanitation or use of water-less toilets and re-use of human waste, agro-reforestation by the planting of bamboo and ASEAN’s most important trees to protect water sources and organizing communities so that they manage and sustain the activities. The project is innovative in that, a.  it does not provide ready solutions but menu of inputs involving water, farming development, nutrition and health for them to select depending on actual needs; b.   the participation of many stakeholders ensure that support is generated at various levels; c. eco-sanitation provide sanitation and cheap fertilizer and contain spread of diseases; d. the promotion of ASEAN’s most important species help improve biodiversity and incomes; e.  the community farmers’ groupings ensure localization and sustainability; and, f. integrating farm-based livelihood and using farm production into the scheme will help improve the incomes of the beneficiaries.

Innovativeness of the Project:

Others have already worked in the area of provision of water or sanitation but there approach suffers from defects, and that is, it is linear and not integrated, eg. provision of water alone or provision of sanitation without regard to the multiple needs of the local people. These initiatives usually fail. Our approach is different in that we integrate provision of clean water using simple, appropriate gravity-fed system and biosand filtration to render it clean and drinkable, promoting dry toilet in order to control open defecation and contamination of water sources in areas where water is scarce, planting of high-valued fruit and trees in order to improve water sources and improve incomes, promoting other livelihoods, educating and organizing local citizens especially the Higaonon communities which are often neglected, unseen and powerless. Gravity-fed water system is simple, easy to manage and cheap but previous projects focus on installation without training and no protection of water sources so the system fails in no time at all. Biosand filtration is using sand, charcoal, stones to filter microbes from the water and is a very effective and cheap way of providing drinkable water but current approaches does not utilize this. Local livelihoods using farm/forest products abound but farmers usually sell raw without value-added. Community education and mobilizing “barefoot technicians” coming from local people is an innovative way to continue and expand the process.

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