Chain of Change (Entrepreneurship): Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime and this case that you have fed a community. The Fishpond Production Project has given more benefits other than fish.
Linked Up!: Department of Labor and Employment; Department of Agriculture.
Things were looking up for the Mandaya tribe when they were granted their ancestral domain claim. Unfortunately, the area held no other viable livelihood opportunities except for mining, which proved to be a dangerous occupation for the Mandaya men. Exposure to the harsh working conditions in the mines has even shortened the life of the president of the MTYO, who died at the age of 32 from complications related to his lung ailment.
They also had limited access to education. If they had the money, the nearest school was still kilometers away.
The MTYO decided to help their fellow Mandaya raise money for their education through their Intensive Offshore Fish Production Project, which provides a source of needed protein for Mandaya tribe members and cheaper commodities to the other residents of the outlying area. They raised tilapia, African hito, and Taiwan clams through off-shore production by fish-cage culture. They were able to tap the underutilized communal waters of the area.
Initially, these out-of-school tribal youth ventured out with a project in the face of a critically endangered environment and massive poverty. After gaining some training from agricultural offices and a loan from the Department of Labor and Employment, MTYO worked with 2 hectares of land awarded by their tribal chieftain.
Following the successful run of the livelihood program, they received 8 more hectares from Datu Latiban. After securing financial assistance from provincial and municipal offices, this resulted to the planting of a total of 1800 hills of Mahogany, Falcata, Banana, Rubber and high value fruit trees.
These projects greatly affect the lives of the organization’s members and their families, and peripherally their families. Because of the empowerment they receive from the trainings and the livelihood opportunities provided to them by the organization, MTYO members are looking forward to a future that will allow them to stay in their ancestral lands while earning a decent living.
In 2008, MTYO received the Gawad Saka Outstanding Young Farmers Organization Award. True examplars of self-reliance and faith in one’s abilities, these youngsters showed that great things can be achieved no matter where you are, how old you are or how little you have.
Converting the TAYO prize: The MTYO hopes to expand their enterprises to provide a more stable source of income to more members of their community.