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Built empowerment and trust though social marketing in communities, helping communities take ownership of resources

About the Implementing organization

Name: Malusay Fish Loving People II

Country: Philippines

Year of establishment: 1994

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Community enterprise or business / Cooperative business / Public-private partnership / Other


Through workshops, leadership and community discussions, and other aspects of the behavior change methodology of MAFILIP's partner Rare, as well as through the capacitating partnership of the SMARTSeas program, Malusay community members learned how to understand and address challenges facing their environmental resources and the impacts that would have on the community. This behavior change model relies on the community leaders themselves promoting change, to create an atmosphere of trust and willingness to adopt a new way of fishing, farming, and co-existing with the natural world around the community. This science-based approach has empowered the community to defend its resources and decisions about the resources it now feels ownership and pride over.

Nature Element

Forests / Oceans / Coasts / Wetlands / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Disaster risk reduction / Peace and security

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

Social marketing, trust-building, and monitoring training approaches brought through Malusay’s implementation partners has helped MAFILIP best analyze threats to their community, both internal and external. MAFILIP has repeatedly demonstrated its understanding that conservation of the environment helps preserve their way of life, through its support of initiatives aimed at restoring and protecting forests, corals, mangroves, seagrasses and oceans. The community around MAFILIP has made known its strong connection to their environment and use partnerships and leadership to protect both people and nature.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The organization helps combat illegal fishing, protect, rehabilitate and preserve ecosystem in and around Malusay Marine Protected Area. Members volunteer as fish wardens despite the risks from powerful illegal fishers. MAFILIP thwarted attempts illegal fishers to gain support of a communist group by explaining what they do and demonstrating their intent to protect the environment. Instead of punitive fines, violators are required to plant mangroves and sign a covenant not to practice illegal fishing. They are piloting a vessel monitoring system which gives them access to information on encroachment to the core zones.

In addition, MAFILIP has strengthened its tourism industry through forestry and mangrove restoration and conservation training for community members. By bolstering not only support to traditional ways of income but also opening pathways to new ones, MAFILIP has significantly and sustainably contributed to Malusay’s growth potential.


Scalability in behavior change in community empowerment is a top priority for MAFILIP’s partners, including Rare and its behavior change approach, coupled with managed access and conservation as a management tool. As stated above, the Philippine government has also begun to invest in this approach, with support from LGUs and many communities across the Philippines.


The national government of the Philippines has invested in the approach used by MAFILIP because of repeated demonstrations of success in communities throughout the country. However, this replicability could not have happened without committed leadership and partnership at the local community level and in people’s organizations. Determination and empowerment of communities like Malusay encourage adoption in other communities who see the success of the approach, and are supported to promote it in their own communities.

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