The World Vision Philippines Abaca project

1. Who are we?

We are a group of volunteers who just wanted to do our small bit to make the world a better place for both humans, animals and the environment. Here are some fun pix of us….no animals were harmed in our photo taking!

“I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” – John 10:10

We hope to raise $4000 to bring Abaca coasters from Philippines to Singapore and to share the story of how climate change impacts the community. Here goes! 

2. Where is this project?

The Kidapawan City in North Cotabato is renowned as a city of fruits producing exotic fruits such as durian, mangosteen, rambutan, banana, and many more. These fruits grow abundantly from the rolling highlands of Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines.

Robert Anton Pimentel Aparente, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. What is the problem?

Despite the promising ecotourism potential, the city is plagued by the devastating effects of climate change. Intensified weather events over the years have caused droughts and flooding. These affected crop production, causing hunger and poverty. It is estimated that 44.8% of people live below the poverty line. In 2016, violent conflicts amassed when farmers took to the streets to protest the government’s failure to deliver on its promise to provide relief goods.

4. What is the solution?

Research shows that the textile industry is responsible for over 10% of global carbon emissions and it contributes more to environmental degradation than any other industry. Synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon are among the dominant materials used in the textile industry. They are cheaper to produce, good for profits and the economy.

However, these man-made fibers and its chemical waste products from the manufacturing process are non-biodegradable, causing long-term irreversible pollution, harming the environment and animals.

Natural fibers can be favourable substitutes to synthetic fibers in reducing the negative effects of the textile industry on the environment. In addition, these natural fibers are also sustainable material substitutes in other industries such as the apparel and paper industry, enabling a more environmentally friendly economy.

Abaca Tree (MarvinBikolano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Abaca plant, a species of banana plant native to the Philippines, is one of the sources of natural fibers.

Abaca’s strong and versatile fibers allows it to be utilized not only as organic fabric, but also in various other forms such as reusable grocery bags, composite for automotive and construction, meat casing, to smaller units such as tea bags, coffee filters, currency notes, insulation papers, and so on.

The Philippines is known to be the top exporter of abaca in the entire world.

80% of the abaca fiber is produced by the indigenous communities and poor households in the province especially along Mt. Apo buffer zones and forest areas facing North Cotabato.

However, there are challenges faced by the community in perfecting the scale of production, especially in the area of quality management and control. Overcoming these challenges will help improve the quantity and quality of abaca fibers, uplifting the livelihoods of the poor farmers. The local community can also be protected from disasters due to the environmental benefits of the Abaca plants, where its water-holding capacity prevents soil erosion, landslides, and floods.

5. What is World Vision doing to help?

World Vision has been working in Kidapawan City for several years and has distributed almost 10,000 tissue-cultured abaca to its assisted families for cultivation. In 2019, World Vision and its partner government agency conducted a training for abaca farmers on the processes of using abaca to produce by-products like fashionable hats, slippers, placemats, and other marketable yet practical items.

In 2022, World Vision Development Foundation implemented a project called “Environment Responsible Abaca Value Chain to North Cotabato Farmers” with funding from the government of Singapore. The Php 2-million project will help to expand abaca production by establishing more nurseries in the area, which will directly benefit 500 farmer-beneficiaries.

It will also help further develop farmers’ knowledge of environmental protection and climate change adaptation, and generate alternative livelihood to promote and improve the sustainability approaches of the community.

6. What can you do to help?

We have designed a set of exclusive cards on “Endangered Animals in Philippines” featuring 10 animals that are on the IUCN list of threatened species of the Philippines. One of the primary causes of the dwindling numbers of these species is the loss of habitat due to human activities such as deforestation and urban developments. 

Are you ready to do your bit for a better sustainable world?

You can

1) Buy the set of 10 cards or more sets 🙂

2) Donate online to World Vision using this link. We hope to raise $4000 or more for this worthy cause. A set of cards will be sent to you. Kindly contact Koh Ni@82395738 or email if you need more details.

Below is a sampling of 3 of the animals featured in “Endangered Animals in Philippines” cards that are on the IUCN list of threatened species of the Philippines.

One of the primary causes of the dwindling numbers of these species is the loss of habitat due to human activities such as deforestation and urban developments. 

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