Mindanao, which is home to the poorest regions in the country, is the geographical focus of Oxfam’s development work. Through the Oxfam Mindanao Programme or OMP, Oxfam works with civil society and the private sector to help build poor men and women’s capacity as economic leaders.
What is the Oxfam Mindanao Programme?
In the next five to 10 years, the Oxfam Mindanao programme will work with partners to achieve sustainable livelihoods and greater protection for the Lumad, Bangsamoro, small asset-holders and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in CARAGA, Central Mindanao (CM) and the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
At the heart of OMP’s operations is the vision of women free from armed conflict, violence and discrimination, thus able to realize their right to a secure livelihood.
What does OMP want to achieve?
- To secure access of men and women to productive assets, markets and economic resources for food security and improved income
- To increase resilience of men, women and children to conflict and disasters and restore inter-ethnic trust and confidence
- To make duty-bearers, especially state actors, accountable in conflict and disaster prevention and protection
- To increase the participation and capacity of women in leadership and decision-making and be free from discrimination and violence
What has OMP achieved so far?
In its first year, the Mindanao programme has worked with smallholders with some form of land tenure security and with fairly some access to non-land assets like credit and extension services. This relative control over assets is a critical element for this smallholder agriculture (SHA) group.
The other SHA group is composed of farmers who engage informal and domestic markets, and compared to those with land and non-land assets, are considered more vulnerable to be able to engage, and eventually gain power in, both domestic and international markets.
In OMP’s various projects, smallholder farmers are being organized by partner-NGOs to build their capacity and ensure their sustained participation in rubber, moringa, abaca, cassava and organic red rice value chains under fair and just terms.
OMP has not sealed yet a partnership to focus on the fisheries sector, but plans are underway in FY 2010. Similarly, there is an ongoing feasibility study to see if vegetable farmers (and possibly, coconut farmers) may be linked to Unilever’s global supply chains. Specifically, affirmative action is being undertaken to make these enterprise development initiatives more inclusive of women-smallholders. Thus, the women’s economic leadership (WEL) framework is applied. The formation of multi-stakeholder partnerships has been the chosen track, following an approach that is both evolutionary and multi-phased. Under this set-up, Oxfam takes on the role of a facilitator, instead of being responsible for actual service delivery.