Stories of commitment would commonly involve oaths and acts of verbal promises. With the Women Go project, such vows are witnessed not only in voice, but more importantly, in action. Through the inclusion of environmental conservation initiatives in their strategic plans as well as their Gender and Development (GAD) plans, one can observe the dedication and duty of the women of Real, Infanta and General Nakar (REINA), Quezon towards uplifting women as well as nature and biodiversity. Local authorities including the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of PP 1636 are now supporting these women-led environment conservation programs, two (2) of which are being initiated by the KALIPI Infanta Federation.
These programs supported by the Infanta local government unit (LGU) are the following:
- Circular Waste Solutions: Made through an eco bricks production and marketing project of women group KALIPI Infanta Federation, in partnership with the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO). KALIPI Infanta Federation leads in the collection of waste materials from the barangays of Infanta. From the barangays, the Infanta LGU-MENRO consolidates the waste by hauling them on garbage trucks, and then brings them to the landfill to be processed into bricks. KALIPI Infanta Federation markets and assists in the promotion of eco-bricks to their members and communities through its own project team within the organization. They sell the bricks and search for places to generate income, which are shared between KALIPI Infanta Federation (70% income) and the LGU (30% income). Majority of the buyers also come from Infanta - members of KALIPI Infanta, hotels, Brgy. halls, as well as schools - who use them for landscaping.
- Forest Restoration: KALIPI women have adopted at least 10 hectares within PP 1636 endorsed by the PAMB. It will be planted with indigenous forest trees to help bring back biodiversity and improved ecological services of the area. The PAMB of PP1636 endorsed the plan of the KALIPI women to adopt at least 10 hectares of forestland within PP 1636 to be planted with indigenous forest trees. This initiative, once realized, will help bring back biodiversity and improve ecological services of the area. The women of KALIPI Infanta are currently negotiating with the DENR-CENRO and LGU Infanta to forge an agreement supporting this conservation initiative.
Below is a list of the NbS projects proposed/implemented by the women groups:
- KALIPI Infanta: E-TANIM ang kinabukasan ng kababaihan at kabataan sa kabundukan ng Sierra Madre sa bayan ng Infanta. (E-PLANT the future of women and children in the mountains of Sierra Madre at the town of Infanta.) The project has three (3) components:
- 1st component: 10 hectares adopt-a-restoration site within PP 1636
- 2nd component:e cassava model farm using Sloping Agriculture Land Technology (SALT) and organic farming
- 3rd component: watershed management that includes watershed restoration and rehabilitation of the water tank to ensure sustainable water supply to irrigated farms and households.
- KALIPI Real: ILOG "Isalba ang Laksang buhay at Oportunidad Gamit ang lakas ng kababaihan". (RIVER “Save lives, biodiversity, and opportunities through women’s strength). The project has two (2) components:
- 1st component: Watershed restoration and protection
- 2nd component: Mangrove-adopt-site
- KALIPI General Nakar: E-Tanim ang Kinabukasan ng Kababaihan sa Kabundukan ng Sierra Madre sa Bayan ng General Nakar, Probinsiya ng Quezon. (E-PLANT the future of women in the mountains of Sierra Madre at the town of General Nakar, Quezon Province.) It has the following components:
- 1st component: Riverbank rehabilitation along Agos River
- 2nd component: Bukid-aralan (farm-school) displaying organic farming of ginger
- KUMARE: Ridge to reef conservation project. The project is to conserve the natural resources from ridge to reef through restoration of adopt-a-forest and mangrove sites in Real Municipality
HARIBON’s Women Go project have observed exemplary behavior from the women organizations of PP 1636, showing their participation, support, and commitment towards PA management strategies:
- Consistency in attending meetings: In 2019, women groups KUMARE and KALIPI regularly hold meetings to keep track of their activities and consolidate their organizational direction. With Women Go, the nine women organizations increased their total number of meetings to sixty (60) in 2022.
- Dedication to becoming a PAMB member: One of the main goals and indicators of commitment by the Women Go project is having women’s organizations recognized as a PAMB member. In 2019 before the project’s implementation, no women organization has been recognized as a PAMB member. While no organization was successfully accredited in 2022, the women group KUMARE has submitted their letter of intent and other requirements as part of PAMB membership application. On June 28, 2022, their application was presented to the PAMB during that year’s 2nd quarter meeting.
- Diligence in attending PAMB meetings: With no official recognition as a member, no women’s group had been attending PAMB meetings in 2019. By 2022, the KUMARE has started attending PAMB meetings as observer to the two (2) regular quarterly meetings and one (1) special meeting, a 50% increase from prior years. On February 17, 2022 the women leaders of KALIPI and KUMARE were present attending a special PAMB meeting too.
- Earnest interest in creating women-led PA management programs for community adoption: In 2019, no single community has had an initiative involving PA management. By 2022, communities have adopted at least three (3) women-led conservation programs that supported PA governance, including:
- KALIPI Infanta:
- Adopted 10 hectares in Brgy. Magsaysay, Infanta
- This year, they allocated 10% of the total net income from their BDFE towards conservation-related activities like: (1) donating water and biscuits during the Alay Lakad Laban sa Kaliwa Dam (Walk offering against Kaliwa Dam project) stakeholders event against the construction of the Kaliwa Dam, (2) providing transportation allowance and snacks during tree planting activities in celebration of National events like Earth Day Celebration.
- KALIPI Magsaysay:
- Maintained tree nurturing and monitoring of the tree planting site in KM 15 of KALIPI Infanta on March 2022.
- Funded snacks and drinks during regular clean-up drives in barangay roadsides.
- KALIPI Gumian:
- Gumian Watershed management
- Sponsored snacks and drinks during regular clean-up drives in barangay roadsides.
- Enthusiasm for recognition of efforts: Through the help of the project team, the women organizations are in constant search for opportunities where they can gain well-deserved recognition, especially in local or national government programs. In 2022, KALIPI Cawayan received the “Makakalikasang Samahan Award,” which is the Best Livelihood Project, from the Quezon Provincial Government during Real’s Foundation Day this year (2023). A search for outstanding organizations in the Real Municipality was initiated and the groups KALIPI Cawayan and KUMARE were chosen. KALIPI Cawayan met the criteria for the award after the organization presented its environmental initiatives.
Fundamentally, the Women Go project upholds recognizing women as equally important in leading environmental and PA governance programs is key to successfully delivering outcomes. Gender mainstreaming activities have been carried out enhancing the participation of women in four levels: family, community/barangay (village), municipality, and the PAMB.
With women being major users of forest and natural resources, they can also be considered the perfect decision makers when it comes to governing nature, which brings their families ecological services, and allows their communities to survive and thrive. Including women in environmental talks will further improve the government’s climate change programs, making way for holistic solutions in addressing the issues of women’s resiliency and adaptation against climate impacts. Recognizing women’s voices as relevant and a source of knowledge in environmental and PA governance has been a foundation for Women Go, one which governing bodies could emulate.
The Women Go project is made possible by the European Union in the Philippines, with the support of the Municipality of Real, Municipality of Infanta, Municipality of General Nakar, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Community Environment & Natural Resources Office (DENR-CENRO) Real.