Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe congratulates Country Director Yukiyo Nomura of ICAN Philippines,
after signing the grant contract for “Community Development Project with the
Children of Indigenous Community in Mindanao,” on February 10, 2014, at the Embassy of Japan.
Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Ms. Yukiyo Nomura, Country Director of ICAN Philippines signed the grant contract for the third year of the project 'Community Development Project with the Children of Indigenous Community in Mindanao' at the Embassy of Japan on February 10, 2014. The project, amounting to US$ 208,240 (approximately 9.5 million pesos), is funded through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, a small-grant funding program of Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA).
In southern Mindanao, indigenous people such as B'laan or T'voli have kept their traditional way of life since ancient times. However, they have sometimes been forced to leave their lands and settle in higher places since the 1930's, when immigrants from Luzon and Visayas to Mindanao increased. Even today, the indigenous people sometimes face discrimination, and lead a harsh living in higher lands far from urban areas. Barangay San Jose, General Santos City, which is the site of this project, also belongs to such areas. People in the barangay needs assistance in areas like education, health, and livelihood. It is also critical to take measures for getting rid of the sense of inferiority that the local indigenous people have long held.
As phase 1 and 2 of the project, ICAN constructed classrooms at the Shuttle Elementary School and Bia-o Primary School and equipped them with chairs, desks, and blackboard. ICAN also conducted seminars for schoolchildren and teachers to deepen their understanding on the culture of indigenous people. Health and livelihood programs were also implemented.
The phase 3 of the project will expand the achievements in the previous phases. ICAN will construct classrooms at Datal Salvan High School in the same Barangay. The school will be furnished with desks, chairs and blackboards. The project will create an environment that is more suitable for indigenous children so that the children will accept their identity positively. In addition, the third phase will include empowerment activities with the children, teachers, and community as well as activities for enhancement of health in community level and improvement of livelihood through production and sales of handcrafts.
The Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects started in the Philippines in 2002. Since then, the Japanese Government has made contracts for 36 projects in the Philippines under the scheme, amounting to approximately 597 million yen (approximately 280 million pesos) in total. Japan believes that this project will strengthen not only friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also the existing strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines.