Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Leyte Disaster-Resilient Conference and Multi-purpose Training Center

When Super-typhoon Haiyan ravaged Leyte and nearby provinces it lay waste too vast agricultural lands. Leyte is a coconut producing area and the strong winds destroyed most of the coconut trees uprooting the trees or cutting them at the middle. The government is not responding well in terms of helping the small farmers either because they have no resources or because the damage is just too massive in scale.
Aside from the coconut trees, all other subsistence crops especially in the upland areas of Leyte has been destroyed, exposing the farmers to extreme famine and hardships in the short and long-term.
The WAND Foundation started responding to the needs of the Typhoon Yolanda survivors in Leyte 4 days after the typhoon struck by sending 2 elf trucks full with emergency food packs and pre-fabricated toilet facilities for installation and use by community residents. The WAND is a recipient of international awards some of which are the, Bill and Melinda Gates Award for Global Health Explorations, Israel International Award and the Tech Awards for Technology Benefiting Humanity.

The WAND Foundation is now implementing 2 major projects in Leyte, a. Low-cost safe sanitation project, and, b. Food resilience through root crop production and vegetable gardening.

Our plan is for us to be able to build a “Leyte Disaster-Resilient Conference and Multi-purpose Training Center.” The Center will serve the needs of marginalized farmers and artisans in their search for sustainable solutions to the ravages of Typhoon Yolanda and subsequent super-typhoons. They said that with climate change, super-typhoons will be more and more frequent and Leyte is one favoured path to this calamitous situation, hence the need to be prepared.

We will negotiate for a 5-year agreement a 1-hectare land where the center can be built with Barangay officials of Barangay Hugpa, Ormoc City. Barangay Hugpa is an upland barangay in Ormoc City and most people are dirt-poor. Of the 175 families only 2 have toilets! This is indeed an ideal place for a conference and multi-purpose center due to its precarious location and accessibility from the city.
The area around the center will be developed into a sustainable perma-culture farm with fruit and timber tree, root crop and vegetable demonstration, coconut seedling growing and fruit nursery, vegetable seed production and small animal raising. The local people will work and learn and earn income from the farm and then become certified “barefoot” agricultural technicians able to help others.

For sustainability, the center will invite trainees and eco-tourists as well as sell the products namely vegetables, vegetable seeds, coconut seedlings, fruit tree seedlings to visitors and the market in Ormoc.
Aside from seeing the activities of the center, the visitors will also be able to visit the houses of neighbouring farmers and see their own implementation of gardens, rainwater harvesting, organic fertilizer production and sustainable livelihood activities.

The requested amount will be used to build a typhoon-resilient center made of coconut lumber and bamboo, ecosan toilet system, ferrocement rainwater catcher and an organic fertilizer vermi-composting facility. The signage of the donor will be displayed permanently in the entrance of the center.

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