December 14, 2021

British Council and Forest Foundation to Champion Craft Changemakers

The British Council in the Philippines and Forest Foundation have teamed up for Woven Networks – Craft changemakers conserving forests.The one-year collaboration aims to strengthen the voices of local communities by highlighting their sustainable practices and vital role as artisans through research grants. The project advocates for more inclusive and gender-sensitive forest management by sparking collaboration and knowledge exchange between forest-dependent craft communities and wider society.

In line with this is the launch of the Woven Networks Scoping Grants. Ten grants of up to PHP 285,000 each will be awarded for the research and development of projects that champion indigenous knowledge and the sustainable resource management of craft communities. The scoping grants are open to Philippine-based designers, researchers, creative social entrepreneurs and community leaders who believe in the importance of local and international collaborations in responding to systemic challenges.

The research projects must take place between April 2022 and July 2022. They should involve craft communities who rely on forest products in any of Forest Foundation’s focal landscapes in:

  • Sierra Madre (Region II, Region III, and some areas in Region IV-A: Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Quezon)
  • Palawan (Region IV-B)
  • Samar and Leyte (Region VIII)
  • Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental (Region X)

Proposals should also include network-building activities between local partners and collaborators within the Philippines and United Kingdom.

Recognizing that not all interested applicants may be familiar with grant proposal writing, there will be an information session on 7 January 2022, at 5:OO P.M. (PH time). Registration can be done here. Proponents can apply as an individual or as an organization via the British Council’s website.

The deadline for applications if 29 January 2022.

There are around 60 million indigenous people who rely on the forest for their livelihood, according to the United Nations. In the Philippines, many of them are women artisans and weavers. They greatly depend on non-timber forest products like rattan, abaca, raffia, or pandan, turning them into clothing, baskets, and other objects. However, mass production of craft products has led to overexploitation of forest resources, unsustainable practices, and increased vulnerability to climate change.

Despite policies that support community-based forest management in the Philippines, there are still complex factors preventing indigenous peoples, particularly indigenous women from participating more in forest conservation. They often face extreme marginalization and discrimination. The location of their homes, usually in remote areas, makes it difficult for them to be represented or access opportunities.

The Woven Networks project is supported by the British Council Crafting Futures global programme.