Armed groups are finding it easier to recruit members in the town of Tuburan in Basilan Province due to poverty and lack of employment.
It is also difficult to unite communities for a project because it is often not implemented well. For example, the fishermen were promised boats for their livelihood, but these programs often did not push through, forcing them to still rent a boat and even if they didn’t catch anything in a day, they had to pay for it.
The LGU of Tuburan, Basilan, together with The Asia Foundation and Nagdilaab Foundation, Inc. provided alternative livelihood to the residents of Barangays Mohammad Ajul, Bohetambis, and Lahi-lahi through a participative and meaningful local engagement process. The community was encouraged to be involved in the project design process to better understand their needs and the root causes influencing recruitment in the area. Farmers and fishermen advocated cattle raising and boat making not only to meet the needs of those who engaged in the initiative but also to benefit their community as a whole.
A total of 357 individuals from Barangay Bohetambis and Lahi-lahi participated in all the Engagement and Alternative Livelihood Training activities.
Guideline 1: Provide dialogue with residents and barangay officials
Example: The LGU of Tuburan, the beneficiaries, and barangay officials of Barangay Mohammad Ajul had a meeting to discuss what the needs of the community are and how they can be resolved. A translator was also included for residents who are not fluent in Tagalog, and they talked about their experiences.
Guideline 2: Encourage the beneficiaries to help with the sustainability of the project
Example: The beneficiaries of the first part of the program have also participated in helping other residents. One fisherman who received his own boat said he felt more part of the community and was more inspired to help out.
Guideline 3: Continue engagement and project expansion after turnover
Example: In the next meeting, all the barangay captains of Tuburan will be included to expand the scope of the project.