“Seaweed farming is not just a job I know I can do well, it is also what brings food to my family’s table, and what sends my children to school.”
Eddi, 52, shares while working at an IOM-constructed seaweed dryer and mini warehouse.
He is one of the seaweed farmers in Tawi-Tawi, an island province in the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Tawi-Tawi is the southernmost province of the country and is part of the Mindanao island group. Given the substantial number of poverty-ridden municipalities and provinces, conflict affected areas, and complex emergencies, Mindanao is classified by the World Bank as a fragile sub-region which requires more dedicated resources to ensure the path to peace.
Apart from these setbacks, Tawi-Tawi is an underserved province due to its geographical location.
But through the 2017 PAMANA (PAyapa at MAsaganang PAmayaNAn) program, people like Eddi who are living in the remote islands of Tawi-tawi are starting to get the help that they need. Unique to its design and delivery, the 2017 PAMANA project in the ARMM is conflict-sensitive and peace promoting to avoid the recurrence of any source of conflict.
Fragile barangays in the islands of Bongao, Sibutu, Sitangkai and Mapun were identified and assessed. And through consultations with community based groups, the project is able to help those who are really in need.
Given the unique needs that were assessed in the province, the 2017 PAMANA projects here include helping and training cooperatives and community-based organizations in finance management, local governance and cooperative fundamentals.
Focus on improving the people's livelihood was also a priority, providing farming equipment and materials like fishing boats and gears, seaweed dryers, vegetable seeds, farm tools, and a variety of support for corn, cassava and copra production.
The 2017 PAMANA is being managed by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and its partner government agencies and has been providing vital development projects for the last eight years in areas nationwide that have been adversely affected by armed conflict. OPAPP has partnered with IOM to be its implementing arm.