Case Study: The Philippines
Transforming from Receivers to Givers
The Philippines is blessed with abundant natural resources, but because the country is made up of over 7,000 islands with steep and rocky volcanic terrain, travel and trade can be difficult. Mountain communities face isolation, and without access to markets, local economies are unable to grow.
Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Community Based Development Program of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in underserved areas. Our approach relies on local resources and strengths to create solutions that fit the unique needs and context of specific communities. The Church has adopted an asset-based community development (ABCD) approach for all of their programming, identifying the assets and resources of communities and mobilizing them as the building blocks of development.
Agriculture is the primary focus of our partnership in the Philippines, as it is a powerful engine for improving health and local economies, and for building resilience that allows communities to bounce back after disasters and help others to do the same. Following locally led assessments of needs and available resources, communities were able to increase their available farmland, invest in food processing equipment to create higher-value products and establish trading outlets for farmers to sell their produce directly and earn more income. The program also enables farmers to take advantage of the emerging demand for organic produce within the Philippines, and works with communities to minimize deforestation.
Another major program involves establishing a regional agricultural learning center to investigate and demonstrate innovative farming techniques, which can be used in rural areas throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The institute works with a local college's forestry and agriculture department, and trains community development workers from the Philippines as well as visitors from Anglican churches throughout the region.
After Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, Episcopal Relief & Development partnered with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines to develop a three-year long-term recovery plan that expanded church agricultural programs to provide relief supplies, and empowered “receiver” communities to become “givers” when they have recovered. This work continued through 2014, while the Church’s Community Based Development Program underwent a strategic planning process and formed a new, independent foundation, E-CARE (Episcopal Community Action for Renewal and Empowerment Foundation). E-CARE continues to manage disaster risk reduction and recovery for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, and works with communities to initiate development projects and create a country-wide network of churches that care for and support one another.