October 17, 2008, Friday, was a big day for the Katilingbanong Pamahandi sa Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (KPMFI), as it celebrated its two years of service.
What started the celebration early were the smiles of the whole KPMFI staff, officers and members of its partner NGOs and local People’s Organizations during the early morning motorcade starting at 8 a.m. “Looking from a distance, I can already tell the names of the KPMFI staff who are waving at us. Those people are frequent visitors in my barangay, ” shares Lolita, an active member of a KPMFI partner barangay.
“The two years with them have been fruitful,” she added.
Bearing the theme, “Pagpupo sa mga bunga sa 12 ka tuig nga panag-uban ug Pagtisok sa mga bag-ong liso…” KPMFI had its beginning as an area-based operation team of Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI) in Gingoog City. BMFI, seeing the need to have a social enterprise entity, conceptualized KPMFI. Gradually the area-based operation team became a separate organization from BMFI in 2006. KPMFI focuses primarily on the local issues and realities of the communities living in the city of Gingoog and its neighboring towns.
From sharing of smiles to sharing of food
Celebrating with KPMFI on its second year were the 300 elementary school children of Barangay Bal-ason, Gingoog City, as it launched its Community Social Responsibility Program, the Katilingbanong Pamahandi, Katilingbanong Responsibilidad, In-School Feeding Program.
The In-School Feeding Program will go on every three months especially for the undernourished Day Care, Grade 1 and Grade 2 children in 61 identified schools in Gingoog City and municipalities of Claveria and Magsaysay. It is a joint effort and partnership among the Backyard Broiler Growers of Gingoog, Claveria and Magsaysay together with KPMFI and AnakCiano, Inc.
Like many pioneer endeavors the two-year-old organization has undertaken, the feeding program was another first for the NGO. It was also the first time for Barangay Bal-ason, whose Barangay Captain gladly sponsored part of the food for the program. And true enough, like a child eager to blow his candle and share his cake, KPMFI didn’t know how better to celebrate its anniversary than the way it did.
While the motorcade was in progress, visitors from many partner barangays and NGOs were waiting at the KPMFI office in Gingoog City. As the KPMFI staff arrived, a community that shared the benefits, cause and vision of KPMFI was gathered inside the KPMFI compound. Everybody laughed, shared giggles and passed on the excitement in fun-filled games. The festivity was not without a banquet of food shared by all.
Richard S. Rejas, Chief of Operations of KPMFI, in his opening message, expressed his delight over the number of visitors who came and the support from the different NGOs to make the celebration a success. Rejas hoped that with the community’s participation and support, KPMFI will continue to deliver measurable success in its mission to help build community sustainable enterprises, vibrant local economies and a strong foundation of a sustainable peace.
Somewhat symbolic of a milestone was a chicken recipe contest during the festivity that was participated in by five barangays. After all, KPMFI has been pushing the backyard broiler production project. And it has been successful in its core business to transform poor farmer households into micro-entrepreneurs who are self-sufficient with this sustainable enterprise, a joint social enterprise endeavor with Anakciano, Inc.
Ariel “Ayi” Hernandez, Executive Director of BMFI and KPMFI, proudly shares KPMFI’s milestone in creating micro-entrepreneurs. Ayi recounts that the backyard poultry program has expanded from a model of 15 households to 800 households by the end of its third year of operation. The project started with 3,000 heads per cycle and is now currently at about 200,000 heads per cycle. This account can be verified by the many successful backyard broiler growers who were present during the celebration.
KPMFI has been dynamic in its efforts to ensure protection and development of the “small victories and gains” of the poor communities within Gingoog City and its neighboring towns. Within only two years, KPMFI has shown excellent milestone. “I am sure KPMFI will be more fruitful in the following years to come,” Hernandez proudly said.