Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe congratulates Country Director Yukiyo Nomura of ICAN Philippines, after signing the grant contract for “ Peace Building Project through Education in Conflict Affected areas in Pikit, Mindanao (Phase 2) ,” on November 23, 2012 at the Embassy of Japan. The ceremony was witnessed by members of ICAN Philippines and the Embassy of Japan.
Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and M s . Yukiyo Nomura , Country Director of ICAN Philippines signed the grant contract for ‘Peace Building Project through Education in Conflict Affected areas in Pikit, Mindanao (Phase 2)' at the Embassy of Japan on November 23 , 201 2 . The project, amounting to US$ 654,341 (approximately 27 million pesos), is funded through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, a grant funding program of Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Municipality of Pikit with a population of about 10,000 lies in Cotabato Province, Mindanao. In the municipality, around 75% of residents are Muslims and remaining 25% are Christians. Pikit witnessed armed conflicts several times in the past, and the residents were forced to evacuate and return repeatedly. Since the security condition is relatively stable these days, more and more children want to go back to school. However, the municipality has not provided sufficient learning environments for them.
Under the project, school buildings will be constructed or renovated for Datu Embak Mangansing Memorial High School, Balabak Elementary School, and Balatikan Elementary School in Pikit. School furniture such as desks and chairs will be also provided. In addition, ICAN Philippines will conduct the “School of Peace Training” for the students and teachers. In the training, students will learn how to address quarrels or fights peacefully without resorting to violence, and teachers will be equipped with know-how to deal with children with trauma or stress. ICAN will also convene Mindanao Children's Congress, a forum for children from various ethnic groups in Mindanao to build confidence with each other and discuss the future of Mindanao.
As the Phase 1 of the project, ICAN constructed a school building for Sultan Memorial High School and “School of Peace Training” for the teachers and students.
The Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects started in the Philippines in 2002. Since then, the Japanese Government has disbursed approximately 215 million pesos for a total of 30 projects in the Philippines. 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.