1° What does your project consist on?
We are currently on a mission within a community of the Gawad Kalinga Association. The purpose of the mission is to help the community create a social business. The project chosen is the manufacture of jam from fruit purchased at local markets and then processed in the community.
What do you expect from it in the long term?
The company’s objective will be to provide an activity for people who do not have one (mainly women) and to create a new source of income.
What role does the Gawad Kalinga association have in your project?
The Gawad Kalinga association has assigned us to the community where we are staying. She organized our arrival in the Philippines and our transportation to the community. The association is supposed to support us and ensure the viability of the project, but we do not have a direct coordinator.
Could you develop the aspects of “sustainable development” within your mission?
To ensure the sustainability of the project, the first concern is to involve community members as much as possible so that they can take ownership of the project and make it sustainable. The objective is that the final result will be a project built by the community for the community with a product made from local and fresh produce, available at an affordable price for the vast majority of the inhabitants of the surrounding area (relatively poor population).
2° Is the working environment as you imagined it?
Not knowing the name of the community we were assigned only a few weeks before departure, it was difficult for us to get an idea of the working environment that awaited us.
Do you find yourself in difficulty?
We have easily adapted to our environment and we do not currently have any difficulties that we have not been able to solve. We would sometimes have appreciated more support from Gawad Kalinga, but since we do not have a long-term (LT) intern assigned to our area, our direct contacts with the association are often unavailable coordinators. We refer to other LTs who answer our questions if necessary.
What are your views on the people and the region where you are currently located?
The experience is very exotic and disrupts us a lot in our references and habits. However, the Filipinos in our community, whom we met during our stay, proved to be very welcoming and caring people. The exchange and discovery of their culture therefore becomes a very positive experience. We were also able to understand and apprehend a facet of poverty.
3° Do you think you have a secret boot that would lead to the success of your mission? If so, which one?
There is no miracle recipe a priori. The success or otherwise of the mission will undoubtedly lie in the involvement of community members and our ability to make them take ownership of the project in order to make it sustainable.
4° What essential advice would you give to a person who would like to embark on a similar adventure?
Take your time at the beginning of the mission to integrate yourself, identify needs and determine a project that is relevant to the community. Also not being shy and being able to adapt, even if we all experience morale drops, that doesn’t mean it won’t work!
You can follow them on the Facebook page Jamasarap – Mission de développement aux Philippines : https://www.facebook.com/Jamasarap-Mission-de-d%C3%A9veloppement-aux-Philippines-835306960180533/