Since the beginning of its 5-year Grant Program in 2017, Forest Foundation Philippines has supported 18 projects, amounting to PHP 53 M, to protect and conserve the forests of Samar and Leyte. These projects have contributed greatly to the achievement of these conservation gains:
Grow forests: The Foundation’s support has enabled its partners and grantees to delineate approximately 2,500 hectares of forest lands, including peat swamps and mangrove areas, established 5 nurseries, and produced 105,000 seedlings of different forest tree species.
Grow livelihoods: With the Foundation’s support, its grantees and partners in Samar and Leyte have completed 33 studies, related to forest forest conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
Grow partnerships: The Foundation has also supported the development of various policies to strengthen forest protection and conservation in the landscape. In addition, the Foundation has supported 13 capacity-building programs and organized 9 community-based organizations.
Grow advocates: The Foundation has supported various advocacy initiatives in the landscapes, including mobile museums, books, radio programs, advocacy campaigns, and coastal clean-ups.
To ensure that these conservation gains will be sustained despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the Foundation organized its second partners’ meeting in Samar and Leyte. Titled “Landscape Thinking in the Time of Pandemic: Second Partners’ Meeting of Samar and Leyte Stakeholders,” the meeting provided space for constructive dialogue and sharing of information to initiate adaptive project management strategies that will sustain forest conservation actions in the landscape.
The Meeting was attended by the Foundation’s partners and grantees in Samar and Leyte, namely the Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development, DraftFCB Digital, Environmental Legal Assistance Center, Fretzeljane O. Olor, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Philippine Eagle Foundation, Roanne B. Romeroso, Sentro Ha Pagpapauswang ha Panginabuhi, Sohoton Services Cooperative, The National Museum of the Philippines, Vigan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Visayas State University – Baybay Campus and Alang-alang, Western Visayas Association of Museums, Women Enablers Advocates and Volunteers for Empowering Responsive Solutions, and Woven Crafts.
During the meeting, the Foundation’s partners and grantees agreed that while addressing the pandemic is the country’s urgent concern, forest protection and conservation initiatives must be strengthened to ensure that the gains won’t be lost. The Foundation’s partners and grantees in Samar and Leyte committed to work together to: support community-based livelihood enterprises, ensure that conservation projects will be adaptive and resilient, build the capacities of local community organizations, strengthen environmental education projects, and collaborate with more development partners to develop and implement new conservation projects in the landscape.
Forest Foundation Philippines, established in 2002 under the Tropical Forest Conservation Agreements signed by the governments of the United States of America and the Philippines, is a non-profit organization that provides grants to organizations that empower the people to protect the forests.