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A new project known as the “Water lily” livelihood project has been launched in the Philippines to make communities more productive through a large microfinance project with 65 cooperatives throughout the city of Butuan. This project consists of training in the art of producing handicrafts such as “bags, hats, slippers, and other native items where the material to be used is “water lily” that can be easily harvested from rivers, creeks, and other waterlogged areas.” Once community members start producing these handicrafts, their products will be sold locally and internationally.

Officials say the purpose of this project is to improve living conditions for residents in remote areas. In order to ensure the success and efficiency of project, the funding is only extended to registered cooperatives and coop officers are encouraged to make gradual loan payments so that they avoid future liquidity problems.

It is exciting to see a government take action to address poor living conditions in a developing country. A similar project, the “Pangasius” techno-demo pond of Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU), is being simultaneously launched with the aim of improving the government’s food security program and create better livelihood opportunities for residents of the region. By using local natural materials, working with existing cooperatives, creating contingencies and guidelines, providing apt training and funding and looking for new opportunities to improve the community – the government of the Philippines is certainly paving the way for better communities!