Farmers' school and farmers' education
About the Implementing organization
Name: Silsilah Dialogue Movement
Year of establishment: 1984
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Indigenous group or organization / Ethnic minority group or association
Guided by one of the Pillars of the Silsilah Dialougue Movement which is Dialogue with creation, the movement has given special attention to this area of dialogue starting with education and formation in general and around 20 years ago, identified a mountain area near Zamboanga in the locality of Baluno to apply this formation in a community formed by Muslims and Christians. After the first stage of activities, Silsilah identified one place where it established the "Escuela de Siembradores" (school of Farmers), a simple building used as the convergent point of farmers' formation starting to educate farmers to use properly the land and introduce organic farming without cutting indigenous trees and at the same time, educating the farmers to properly use the land introducing trees and other crops fitted to the different soil and mountain terrain. This effort brought Silsilah to start a rice mill in the area of the Escuela de siembradores to help the farmers cultivate rice and corn. Meanwhile, Silsilah also developed a place near the city of Zamboanga of 14 acre called Harmony Village. The land was donated to Silsilah for its activities of formation building some buildings for gatherings. Inside Harmony Village, there is also Christian and Muslim prayer houses but its large area had been used for organic farming/gardening for educational demonstration. Today, Harmony village is a model of Organic Farming and the ground of formation for students and other groups.
Forests / Mountains / Grasslands
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Disaster risk reduction / Peace and security
The increase of calamities in the world and in the Philippines and the ongoing awareness of climate change has created an awareness of what silsilah promotes as Culture of Dialogue. The special attention given to the farmer community of Baluno has been for Silsilah a concrete way to educate the farmers and to bring the message of the importance of care for the earth in a community formed by Muslims and Christians.One of the first impacts was being able to bring Muslims Christians in the area. Second is to the control of corrupt leaders in the government who allowed illegal mining and logging in the are. Thirdly, top help people to know and use properly the land. The Escuela de siembradores has been since the beginning a point of gathering and inspiration also for others who know about this experience of Silsilah. At the same time, the Harmony Village's use of organic farming has inspired many to follow and to protect special plants that we find around.
Sustainable Development Impacts
Our presence in the area of Baluno has been an occasion to challenge the government to cement the roads going to the mountains and facilitate the selling of crops in the market area. for many years, Silsilah had provided the trucks going to the area and facilitate the transport of crops and goods to the market area. Along the years, we have also helped a community of farmers to be organized by the government in areas called Buffer Zones. Now they are organized into People's Organization and are eligible to avail government programs for the development of the area. Silsilah also protects the farmers against illegal business of those who get the right of the land to use it for small-scale mining or to use it for development projects of the government that supposed to go to the farmers. For this reason, Silsilah has organized farmers in the mountain areas to protect their area and report to us illegal activities. This has allowed us to identify and remove some corrupt government officers
In our effort to promote dialogue with creation to educate the farmers and use organic farming, we had been in contact on the National level especially through a committed staff of Silsilah who is in contact with many groups in line with this project. We have been also a part of Misereor partners in a national level. We have also direct contact DENR national level to help them in the are of this project. In general, the concept of Dialogue with Creation is one of the pillars of dialogue with the Dialogue with God, Dialogue with the Self, and Dialogue with others is becoming popular and is creating an awareness on National and international level. We believe that this contribution of idea in the context of dialogue and the spirituality of life-in-dialogue that Christianity, Islam, and other religions needs to be harmonized in the concept of dialogue to overcome the idea that dialogue is only an instrument to be used during conflict situations.
We are moving step by step in educating farmers facing the realities of corruption and encouraging people to use organic farming. this ongoing effort has brought us to many initiative. One is the creation of a Center for Holistic Healthcare where we process some herbal medicines that we find in the area and also educate farmers and others to acquire the skills of identify and use these herbal medicines. There are good stories among farmers and others. Now, they use these herbal medicines and share the skills with others. In line with this development, the activity had been brought to Urban areas inviting people to use the space around the house to cultivate herbal medicines, vegetables, and trees for their own benefit and to share also with their neighbors. The project is called, "Plant, Share, and Care." This is also an occasion for us to build friendship among Muslims and Christians and we start this program in poor areas in the city.
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