Moving forward through partnerships and empowerment

“Leadership is not a title but a responsibility, a huge responsibility that they have to accept.” - Datu Sagoksok, community leader from the Ata tribe

As we move forward with our journey with the Ata tribe in Paquibato, Davao City to establish a place of learning called Panuluanan, we have seen how the community understand and embody the value of working collectively. It is evident how the leaders and elders of the tribe work to not only initiate pathways but also create a space that enables every one in the community, whether an elder or a youth, man or woman, to fully grow and freely contribute to the development of their own community. As responsible leaders and elders, they wholeheartedly act as servants of their community and believe in the innate potential of every one to become a leader. Today, they acknowledge, with mutual respect, the contribution and capacity of their young emerging leaders. They are much willing to journey with their youth and help empower this new generation of leaders. They feel that learning from the past is as important as looking beyond into the future with honour and pride.

Bob Ali, who is one of these emerging leaders, has now taken the role of community coordinator for the Panuluanan project. It is truly affirming to see him grow to become an active agent of change in their community. We look forward to working with Bob and seeing him actualize his potentials.

Read Bob's reflection after visiting Sorayan and how this engagement is strengthening his desire to be of service to his community.

We are also happy to announce that we are partnering with SwitoDesigns, a Philippine-based design studio dedicated to promoting Mindanao Traditional Architecture, cultural identity, pride of place, sustainable eco-conscious methods and peace and healing through participatory architecture. After several meetings with the team from SwitoDesigns and the leaders of the community, we are slowly creating a shared vision of what Panuluanan will look like. Demand Science, who has been our partner in several other iEmergence activities is also eager to support the project and see it through. There are also volunteers who have expressed their desire to help with fundraising and advocacy. We are continually grateful to Creator for these connections!

On October, in commemoration of the Indigenous People's Month, there will be a thanksgiving celebration for the relationship being built through Panuluanan, and a three-day workshop on participatory design. The gathering and workshop will be held in the village of Sorayan where Panuluanan will be established. About 15 tribal elders and young community leaders will participate in the workshop.

Want to be involved in this journey? Provide the food and materials to be used in the workshop! Give cash or in-kind donations…

Indeed, what makes a difference in this world are the efforts of people at the grassroots who are determined and unified by one goal. The dream of creating Panuluanan, a learning and enabling space for the Ata tribe to live out and pass on their cultural values and practices, is now taking shape thanks to the leadership of the elders of the Ata community in Paquibato, the enthusiasm of the community members, and the expression of support from our partners in civil society.

Join us, as we journey alongside the Ata tribe and other like-minded individuals and organizations to provide this space of learning!