Cooperatives and Micro-enterprise Projects are Successful in the Philippines
Most economic news these days is about mega-mergers of corporate giants and about the globalization of the world economy. However, beyond the reach or interest of the news media there is a growing sector of cooperative-based, micro-enterprise initiatives working to bring about a decentralized and sustainable economic system. One such initiative is Baba's Foundation, Inc. located in Davao, City Philippines
BFI is organized into three main desks. the Rural Development desk, the Urban Development Desk, and the Desk for the Special Concern for Children’s Welfare. The Rural Desk has established 5 farmers cooperatives in Barangays Acacia, Indangan, Callawa, Malabog and Sumimao, with a combined membership of 540 farmers and an estimated assets of US $25,650.00. Seventy percent of these farmers are practising sustainable agriculture under the technical guidance of BFI. Since the farmers program began in 1994, the coops have developed well, providing farmers with new technologies, collective marketing of their produce and greater solidarity.
The Urban Development Desk has organized six (6) cooperatives for 248 poor women entrepreneurs. The coops have built up assets of US $ 32,800.00 over a five year period. The
Desk’s Enterprise Development Project has provided training and low interest loans to 218 beneficiaries since 1989. This program received an award from the Asian Development Bank in 1991 for its high loan return rate (98%).
The Desk for the Special concerns for Children’s Welfare run’s four pre-schools for 150 disadvantaged children. It sponsors the elementary education of a further 50 children each school year. It is also actively advocating for the Rights of the Child as mandated by the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, through various activities for children.
One organization which has collaborated closely with BFI is the Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT). "The success of the coops has attracted the attention of other agencies," said Peter Sage, the U.S. director of AMURT. "They find our cooperative model interesting as it blends economic development with institution building, values formation and the deepening of social responsibility." Sage added that AMURT is now engaged in a fund raising campaign to raise additional capital to strengthen these cooperative projects. Readers interested in contributing to this campaign can contact him at email@example.com
This article is a "web special" posted on April 27, 2000.
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