Story and Photos by Sensoy Constante | Program Officer | Heifer Southern Philippines
The Caraga Region in Southern Philippines welcomed a new breed of development that will lead to a dairy industry pathway. TOUCH Foundation, Inc., along with Propegemus Foundation, introduces a project development intervention known as Developing Dairy Zones for Smallholder Farmers in Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, funded by Heifer International and the National Dairy Authority of the Philippines.
The project intends to make a difference in the lives of 400 original partner families and another 800 families through Passing on the Gift® (POG). By employing Heifers unique approach of passing on gifts to other families in need, this project will contribute to the realization of our global mission of ending world hunger and poverty and caring for the Earth.
As Heifer Southern Philippines sustains POG culture by having participants pass on tangible and intangible gifts, it will help smallholder farmers in the Caraga Region become self-reliant through dairy enterprises. Farmers are now being trained in partnership with the National Dairy Authority (NDA), which will provide the projects original dairy cattle.
With the completion of the initial activities, Heifer Philippines and its project partners conducted four batches of Cornerstones Workshops (Heifers 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development) in the two dairy zones on February 4-13, 2013. The Cornerstones Workshop is considered the most important foundation families should learn prior to any technical input and placement celebrations.
During the post-training evaluation, the whole training team witnessed the initial impact and transformation of the 100 partner families, which was reflected in their attitudes during the workshop. Most of the participants learned to open up, and were very candid in sharing their individual life stories. They expressed sincere gratitude for the Cornerstones Workshop, acknowledging it as the project's first gift saying it is intangible but a complete gift and will always be treasured in our hearts. Through the Cornerstones Workshop, some participants realized their lives had missed valuing and nurturing the 12 principles for so many years. Now, armed with a fresh perspective and closer ties, partner families are ready to take part in Heifer Philippines' first dairy project.