A Chinese philosopher once said, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.”
The same concept is the inspiration behind Bayan-anihan—Gawad Kalinga’s (GK) food sufficiency arm, which was established to eradicate hunger by empowering poor families to produce their own food via backyard or organic farming. It advocates for a hunger-free Philippines under the battlecry, “Goodbye Gutom! Empower the poor. Eradicate hunger.”
As its main objective, Bayan-anihan (BA) aims to launch 2,500 farms in the next three years to feed at least 500,000 people for life with the aid of multi-sectoral partnership among GK and the Department of Agriculture (DA), agricultural schools, local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), major corporations and the youth.
During its soft launch last March, a ceremonial planting day was held simultaneously in GK communities all over Luzon— including Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Southern Tagalog.
Two months since its first planting day/soft launch, 24 metric tons have already been harvested from 115 GK-BA farms. This bountiful yield serves as a great opportunity to celebrate Bayan-anihan’s formal launch to the public on July 15 with a big ceremonial harvest. At the same time, it signals the beginning of the nationwide fight against starvation in the country through its upcoming activities and programs.
On this day, the official Bayan-anihan song and website will be unveiled, and there will be speeches by Sec. Arthur Yap, Department of Agriculture Secretary; Tony Meloto, Gawad Kalinga founder; and John Concepcion, Unilever RFM Ice Cream–Selecta Managing Director and CEO. A parade of vegetables and fruits will be staged by the Gawad Kalinga community, and outstanding Bayan-anihan caretaker teams will be honored.
Young adults, teens, and children can play games, while the adults will have a cooking session using the harvested vegetables. As a fitting end to the ceremonial harvest day, delicious and nutritious meals made with the harvested vegetables will be shared by everyone.
Since this is a multi-sectoral movement, the national and local government units, schools, corporations and individuals, and the NGO’s, and the youth can be involved in several ways.
The government can help out by providing infrastructure, land and water, and giving funds for farm inputs. Schools can make training programs as part of the curriculum for faculty and students and can even train the community people as part of their practicum. Any corporation or individual, on the other hand, can sponsor or adopt a farm for P150,000, which will be enough to feed 30 families. They can also participate during planting days, salu-salo affairs, and other activities. Other NGO’s can also help by leading the implementation of this program in their communities using the Bayan-anihan model.
Lastly, the youth can lend a hand by training and by being one with the community through the planting and harvesting activities. With the youth’s help in sustaining the training, the poor will never have to go hungry again, and it will espouse self-sufficiency for the next generations.
By supporting Bayan-anihan, everyone can develop and polish values like self-worth, hard work, excellence, bayanihan (spirit of teamwork), and care for health and the environment.
Through efforts like this, the seeds of hope are planted in the hearts of many Filipinos. For sure, we can anticipate a prosperous and a food-abundant Philippines in the future.
Join Bayan-anihan and call the Bayan-anihan hotline at 09284382838 or visit the website, http://bayan-anihan.com to do your part in helping Pinoys bid farewell to hunger!
For reference: Jonah de Lumen, Bayan-anihan (0917-5520141)
Milen Sison De Quiros; Lucky Llanes; Ayie Torres, Full Circle Communications (6371116)