UNFPA launched Babaenihan in 2015, a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the pressing issues that impact on the health and well-being of Filipino women and girls, and how each member of society – from the community to the national government – can contribute to improving their future. It aims to raise awareness on the urgency of addressing teenage pregnancies through investments in education, health, and economic opportunities. The campaign is a partnership between UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) of the Philippines based on a mutual goal of empowering Filipino girls in marginalized communities.
ASSIST is providing UNFPA strategic support in producing the campaign’s multimedia requirements including the conceptualization and design of the full campaign strategy and plan, development and production of communications materials, and the execution of the campaign plan. The project also held a nationwide campaign launch and is empowering women through the anti-poverty program of the OVP called Angat Buhay.
The energy crisis in the Philippines incurs up to 23 billion pesos (0.17% of the GDP) in economic damages and has affected small and medium-sized buildings (SMBs) that struggle to address increases in power cuts. The crisis also affects public buildings like schools and hospitals. The accessRE project responds to the problem through the adoption of sustainable power systems, particularly solar panel installations in selected community-relevant SMBs.
The project introduces small-scale solar power solutions with capacities ranging from 3kWh to 7kWh that can save SMBs PHP 3,900 to PHP 9,100 per month with a return on investment period of about 2-5 years and an average lifespan of 20 years. Specific project activities include the conduct of (1) multi-sectoral dialogues and facilitation of local alliances; (2) pilot installations within SMBs amounting to 100kWp capacity; (3) establishment of a Technical Training Center; and (4) community awareness and promotion of low-cost energy alternatives. The project also seeks to achieve sustainability by building local capacity and providing education and employment opportunities for solar technicians and consultants through training and job placement sessions.
By the end of the project it would have reduced the stress on conventional energy sources through increased adoption of solar technology among SMBs, improved productivity within key establishments through uninterrupted power supply, established a regular pipeline of local green (solar) technicians for affordable solutions, and created positive impact and contributed to the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Road Map of the country.
A WHO-UN joint report in 2015 found that as many as 8.4 million Filipinos don’t have access to clean drinking water. These people collect water from unsafe and untreated sources and as a result, many are highly susceptible to water-borne diseases. SOURCe is a partnership with DEG and Vestergaard that aims to prevent waterborne diseases posed by untreated water sources in vulnerable rural areas through the provision of modern technology, training, and capacity building.
It was first implemented in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake and is now being replicated to remote villages in the Philippines. The goal is to distribute over 2,000 free water filters and to create awareness on safe drinking water and proper hygiene practices. The project has the following key interventions: (1) multi-stakeholder engagement with local government units, local organizations, and other organizations; (2) training of Community Clean Water Advocates (Philippines) and establishment of customer care centers (Nepal); (3) community awareness sessions; (4) school awareness programs on WaSH; (5) installation and distribution of LifeStraw Water Filters.
The project is still running in the Philippines and similar to the experience in Nepal, expects to result in increased demand for clean drinking water and strong community support meeting this basic need.
The food industry of the Philippines is one that has a rich cultural base that fits the palates of the world. The country is likewise blessed with a rich array of natural resources that provides all types of raw materials for the development of food products such as marine and fresh water fishes, crustaceans, domesticated animals, fruit trees, crops and vegetables, to name a few. Given this potential, the project aimed to discover the hindrances to the Philippine food industry in gaining considerable market share and bounty.
ASSIST through this project, conducted consultation activities and researched on obstacles to higher food safety standards by raising awareness among CEOs and different stakeholders and implementing online and offline training modules. Through this project, it was discovered that one of the problems is the lack of activities to capacitate the food industry to produce world-class products. The project therefore, specifically aimed at addressing this problem while fostering cooperation and trade relationships between the Philippines and EU member states through the reduction and elimination of hazards / risks in Philippine food production.
The Fairtrade movement in the Philippines has been around for more than two decades but only few producers, especially farmers, are aware of it. Part of the goal to change this, is to form a Fairtrade Marketing Organization (FMO) in the Philippines that will promote fairtrade certification and increase the sales of fairtrade products.
ASSIST in partnership with FLO-Cert, OURFood and SIGNAsia implemented this project to support the establishment of FMO and increase awareness on the benefits of fairtrade to farmers and businesses.
ASSIST developed awareness raising materials on fairtrade, including international standards for small producers and the certification process. This was achieved through the conduct of workshops, forums and a market research; and strategy to identify commercial partners. The project also secured the commitment of future fairtrade product retailers in the Philippines. Two workshops were conducted in the Visayas region (Bacolod and Cebu) to provide basic information about Fairtrade International, FMO, standards for small producers and the certification processes. This was attended by civil society organizations (CSOs), including farmer organizations and small businesses.
The Philippines is a regional leader in terms of establishing legal frameworks that protect the environment. Laws related to sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in the country include the Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Clean Water Act, Biofuels Act and the Renewable Energy Act. Because SCP is a cross cutting issue, the implementation of SCP has remained challenging. The main objective of this EU-SWITCH project has been to support the government in implementing SCP related policy instruments including SCP related laws.
This project aimed to promote SCP in the country (i.e. environmentally and socially equitable development decoupling growth from resource use and pollution) and strengthen national and regional policy frameworks to promote the shift towards more SCP patterns and resource efficiency. ASSIST provided project management, visibility, communications, capacity building and technical assistance to the Department of Energy and other relevant agencies on renewable energy, energy efficiency and green procurement. ASSIST supported the development of an Energy Efficiency Roadmap, the DTI Green Public Procurement Action Plan, Life Cycle Assessment and a National Energy Efficiency Action Plan for the Philippines.
Tourism in the Philippines is a major contributor to the economy and creates local employment. It has grown rapidly and with its high demand for energy, it is also responsible for a large amount of carbon emissions. The project worked on reducing energy consumption by using locally available carbon-neutral resources, reducing the carbon footprint of the tourism industry in the Philippines.
The Zero Carbon Resorts project funded by the European Commission aimed to influence numerous tourism SMEs to operate their facilities in energy-efficient ways and increase their guests’ awareness of energy-saving behaviors. The project also built the capacity and knowledge of intermediaries, engineers, consultants, architects, planners and SME owners and managers on how to diagnose problems related to energy consumption and how to solve those using appropriate solutions. It also prototyped and tested possible solutions (i.e. small-scale solar energy and biomass devices), and influenced policy related to building regulations vis-à-vis energy standards.
ASSIST handled project promotion activities to convince more tourism SMEs to use energy efficient practices. It included the design and development of three training manual handbooks, training toolkits, project website with a database, content management experts with technical expertise on resource efficiency, organizing of two large events for project promotion and promotion of success stories of hotels/resorts.
The agricultural sector of the Philippines comprises 30% of the workforce and about 12 million people. Challenges from resource depletion, social exclusion and lack of access to technology among others, continue to affect the worsening agro-economic trend in the country. Given this, the national roadmap for the cocoa sector has been set to increase production tenfold, providing sustainable incomes for as many as 130,000 Filipino farmers.
Capacitating Cacao Farmers in Mindanao is a project under the DeveloPPP program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in partnership with DEG and Yara Fertilizers Philippines Inc. It is implemented to address cacao farmers’ limited capacity to meet industry demand due to low productivity. This is mainly due to the shortage of viable planting materials and the farmers’ lack of knowledge on crop nutrition, good agricultural practices (GAPs) and post-harvest handling.
The project also aims to increase the efficiency of farmers in cacao production through Yara’s crop nutrition solutions and effective crop handling. Twenty-five local farmers will be trained to become cacao specialists, who will, in turn, provide crop nutrition training to 50 cacao farmers. In addition, model farms will be established and post-harvest processing facilities will be set up in partnership with selected rural-based cooperatives in the area. Through these strategies, the yield of farmers is expected to increase by at least 25 percent and the selling price of the processed beans to increase by at least 10 percent. Eventually, the project will contribute to the country’s achievement of its national target, which is to produce 100,000 MT of dried fermented beans by 2022.
Traditional farming methods practiced by farmers in the Philippines are becoming less reliable with unpredictable changes in weather patterns due to climate change. Inaccurate weather information would mean inefficient planning of farm activities from seeding to land preparation to post-harvest. This would also result to mismanagement of agricultural inputs, the risk of incurring unnecessary costs and low production and profit. There are many new technologies available to improve agricultural productivity but these are not readily affordable for most smallholder farmers.
Improving Productivity in Agriculture through Climate-Smart Technology in the Philippines (ImPACT Phils.) is a partnership with DEG and Pessl Instruments GmbH under the DeveloPPP program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It aims to improve the agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers and farming communities in the Philippines by providing access to relevant information, data, and technology. The Pessl-manufactured METOS instruments measure environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, leaf wetness and insect pressure based on a farm’s location.
The project’s success would be measured by the reduction in the cost spent by the farmers on fertilizers, pesticides and water; and the increase in income and savings by at least 10 percent. In the long run, sufficient historical data will be established through the system, which would contribute to the development of disease models, yield forecasting, crop water management and harvest cycle models for the varieties of crops particularly grown in the Philippines.