“People’s festival” to feature peace-building initiatives

The stories of peace advocacies and best practices traced their actual setting in areas in central and northern Mindanao which were affected by the insurgency conflict, where communities waged peace on their own initiative, according to the organizer, Minland, a nongovernment organization.

Minland said that most of the people’s organizations (POs) selected to showcase their best practices were cooperatives, and four groups were organized in Pikit, one of the conflict-affected towns in North Cotabato.

“True to their vision, these co-ops have provided goods and services to their members, thus enabling them to attain increased income and savings, investments, productivity and purchasing power,” said Ana Numos, technical services officer of MinLand. “In their own way, these groups have reduced poverty.”

During the festival, each PO would be given at least 15 minutes to present in a forum their motivating ingenuity and best practices in peace-building and on how they helped alleviate them from life’s deprivation, with the theme, “Ipamahagi ang Karanasan, Pagtibayin ang Natutunan, Ipagpatuloy ang Nasimulan”.
The Damulog Alliance Tribal Organization from Damulog, a Lumad-dominated town in Bukidnon in northern Mindanao, will share its peace and development initiatives among the natives, as well as the Moro farmers in Barangay Tumbras, one of the villages affected by recent skirmishes in Midsayap in North Cotabato.

Farmers and fisher folks in Barangay Tumbras have organized themselves and named their group as the Tumbras Muslim Farmers Fisher folks Association.

The G7 Organic Farmer’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Takepan will also share its effort at helping uplift the lives of farmers through organic farming.

Aside from peace building, success stories to be highlighted during the fest would dwell on advocacy, education, environment, health, economic and livelihood for women, youth and children.

“The festival will showcase effective participatory strategies by focusing on people-led activities, which can be replicated by other communities or institutions to strengthen development initiatives of other organizations in the long run,” Minland said in a statement.

The festival will be on its third year and for this year, will be held at the Guadalupe Formation Center in Barangay Balindog heres starting Tuesday. At least 10 peoples’ organizations from central and northern Mindanao were invited to share their experience.

With MinLand is the Invisible Link, an alliance of civil society groups working in conflict affected areas in Mindanao and supported by the World Bank Mindanao Trust fund – Reconstruction Development Program, MoveOn Philippines International and the Bangsamoro Development Agency.   (MindaNews)