Project Batarisan: Integrating ICT Interventions in Land Reform Advocacy

Project Batarisan: Integrating ICT Interventions in Land Reform Advocacy

Philippines
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Project Batarisan is a training and tools development project aiming to empower Filipino civil society and peasant organizations engaged in land reform advocacies with information & communications technologies (ICTs). It seeks to organize a nationwide workshop to consult them, and identify and/or develop appropriate ICTs for their different lines of work.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Land reform advocate organizations, particularly the grassroots formations based in the rural countryside, have minimal access to the full potential of ICTs in their organizational and political work. This includes campaigning, resource generation and mobilization, networking, public information, multimedia documentation, research, and other tasks. Project Batarisan seeks to look for geographically, culturally and economically appropriate ICTs to help improve the work of the network of organizations to be convened. For example, mobile SMS is the most accessible ICT in the rural setting, and as such technologies integrated to mobiles would be recommended for the different lines of work.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has estimated the employment in agriculture to be 11,675,000 in 2003, and translates to about 60 million people including their families. Despite this, ownership of land is restricted to a small elite group – only 5% of land-owning families have control over almost half of all total landholdings in the country. According to the Center for Environmental Concerns - Philippines, technological solutions to agricultural problems, such as sustainable agriculture and organic farming, are realized to their fullest potentials only under situations where farmers own the land they till. Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) are infrastructures and services that accelerate processes for production. These ICTs, such as the internet and mobile SMS, continue to enjoy growing penetration rates in the Philippines: according to the 2009 Yahoo-Nielsen Net Index, the overall internet reach in National Urban Philippines increased from 20.8% in the first quarter to 28% by the end of 2008. Mobile penetration rates, meanwhile, have reached 75% of the total population by the end of 2008, according to wireless industry research conglomerate Wireless Federation. The innovation of Project Batarisan is simple: bridge the digital gap experienced in the rural setting where the struggle for equal land opportunity is by identifying ICTs appropriate and available to their local conditions and integrating these in the advocacy work of local land reform groups. This ICT intervention will also serve as an effective link-up to supporters based in the urban, and network them as well into the international setting. The project works with a continuity framework that seeks to continue supporting advocates who have succeeded in getting land title grants by developing and integrating ICTs in their production.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The Computer Professionals' Union (CPU) has previously conducted workshops integrating information activism in grassroots campaigns, on which Project Batarisan is based. The first in 2009 was conducted for different progressive partylists, which are political parties representing sectoral interests in the house of representatives, the legislative body of the Republic of the Philippines. Among the partylists who actively participated in the trainings is the Anakpawis Partylist, representing peasant, labor and urban poor concerns in the legislature. Anakpawis representatives have been firm advocates of genuine land reform since it first participated in the electoral campaign in 2004. It has filed in congress the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) that proposes stronger mandates on the government's land distribution and agricultural subsidy schemes. In the May 2010 election campaigns, Anakpawis engaged in digital campaigning, setting up social networking sites and centralizing all digital efforts in their main web portal, Anakpawis.net. These ICTs were reported to be useful in coordinating their campaigners throughout the nation, and drew significant support from middle class voters that mainly compose of the Philippine online population. Anakpawis was re-elected to congress in May 2010 with one representative. In August 2009, CPU organized AOM 2.0: Integrating Info-Activism in People's Campaigns, the first nation-wide ICT workshop in the Philippines at Cebu City. It convened over 20 organizations from all over the country to train them in the integration of ICTs in their campaigns. Among the participants are civil society organizations from the peasant and agriculture sector, such as the Farmers Development Center or FARDEC from Central Visayas. Participants were enthusiastic in integrating ICTs in their advocacies. For example, FARDEC has already utilized podcasting as an alternative venue for their regular radio program, Pandayan sa Barugan.
About You
Organization:
Computer Professionals' Union
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Leon

Last Name

Dulce

Country

, XX

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Organization Name

Computer Professionals' Union

Organization Phone

+6324401430

Organization Address

10-B P.Burgos St., Corner Calderon, Project 4, Quezon City 1109 Philippines

Organization Country
How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, XX

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Actions

Over the course of the years, CPU has developed an extensive and broad network of organizations and institutions from different sectoral concerns. It seeks to tap its particular networks with Anakpawis and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the largest national alliance of peasant organizations that CPU has worked with in different campaigns and projects, to comprehensively consult with and to serve as our extensive implementation partners.

Despite limited resources, CPU continues to provide technical support to land reform advocates. It maintains the web portal hosting of KMP and the Asian Peasants' Coalition, and continue to seek project opportunities that will enable the empowerment of rural-based advocacies with ICTs.

Results

The first year aims to conduct the workshop conferences, one for each major region in the Philippines (Luzon, Vizayas and Mindanao) with post-conference plannings of each participants in consultation with CPU. It is expected for the integration of ICTs in their operations to be completed before the first year ends. It is aimed to have at least one convention per year after the pilot implementation year to have a sharing of each organization's experiences, assessment of campaigns and other operations, and updates on developments in ICTs.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

If so, how?

Target beneficiaries are actively engaged in policy research, advocacy and grassroots-based campaigning. Empowering them with ICTs will help create a ripple effect that would help bring in national and international support to different decentralized efforts for democratic land ownership. This consultative network will also serve to more effectively share knowledge, experiences and technologies developed among each local practices.

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation.

The implementation of Project Batarisan would require comprehensive consultations on the grassroots level, and thus having partners that will help in all stages of implementation would greatly help. Regional partners both from the peasant and the ICT sectors would help distribute the load over a more decentralized hierarchy. Partnerships for the project's continuity in terms of financial resources and technologies would also be necessary.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

CPU's efforts of ICT mainstreaming in different sectoral advocacies runs largely on volunteerism and networking. It is able to implement medium and large-scale projects through per-project grants which it actively seeks every year. Project Batarisan is the compilation of CPU's efforts particular to the peasant sector into a formal, proactive and comprehensive plan of action.

Project Batarisan is planned with a minimum-maximum framework, setting a zero budget-based, volunteer and network-enabled minimum and a grant-funded maximum implementation. This will ensure that the efforts will continue regardless of funding.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

"Batarisan" is a term used in a peasant community in Bulacan province referring to a collective work unit. This was one of the concepts taught to us by the local peasant organization that served as host to us in the environmental advocacy youth camp with the theme of sustainable agriculture that CPU attended last October of 2009. It was a community that was a beneficiary of the government's land reform program, but whose titles continued to be contested by the Aranetas, the local landlords.

CPU members and volunteers, who participated in order to have a clearer picture of why it was necessary for technologists to support other sectoral advocacies (such as the web development for peasant organizations in CPU's network), were inspired by the struggle of the peasants to assert their right to land. They not only were united in the campaign for land reform, but were also united in making the upland territory productive with rice and vegetable crops.

CPU nurtured the idea of having a more proactive and community-based effort to help in advancing the Filipino peasants' right to land and socio-economic welfare. Ranging from developing a simple and locally appropriate farm-to-market information system to the mainstreaming of ICTs and New Media in peasant/agricultural campaigns, CPU officially began Project Batarisan in its announcement of the project at an Envicore environmental cadres course training this 2010.

Tell us about the social innovator—the person—behind this idea.

While the entire concept of Project Batarisan was from the collective brainstorming of the CPU national secretariat, New Media Coordinator and Research Officer Leon Dulce formulated the entire project package. A graduate from the Quezon City Science High School and visual communications major from the University of the Philippines - Diliman (UPD) College of Fine Arts, Mr. Dulce was a student activist and computer enthusiast, qualities that made him a nice fit to CPU's principle of advancing ICT for the People.

As a member of the UPD-based progressive science & technology student organization Agham Youth, Mr. Dulce actively participated in its campaigns and projects, such as the organizing of the Youth & Students Opposed to the Bataan Nuclear Powerplant Revival (STOP BNPP Revival) network, and the 350.org climate action campaigns. He was exposed to community-based advocacies in his work with Agham Youth, such as the aforementioned Environmental Youth Advocacy camp.

Mr. Dulce now serves as the coordinator of CPU's New Media team, responsible for its social network and website operations, as well as one of its researchers and Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) advocacy officers. He is active in involving CPU in different environmental and grassroots-based concerns: he is the head coordinator of Project Greenbot Philippines, CPU's green technology and environmental advocacy desk, and of Project Batarisan.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another source, please provide the information.

Approximately 50 words left (400 characters).

Additional
Which (if any) of the following strategies apply to your organization or company (check as many as apply)

Policy advocacy to strengthen property rights or increase security of tenure, Developing/applying technology for surveying, mapping and documenting property rights.

Please explain how your work furthers one or many of the above strategies (if you selected “other”, please explain your strategy)

CPU helps in property rights advocacies by providing technical services and trainings to improve the practice of organizations directly involved in policy advocacy. It also seeks to develop ICTs in the long run that will serve as aggregators of relevant information and as media for public information regarding issues on land reform.