Through its HeartWork, OIDCI will invest and leverage its experience and resources to work with local communities in addressing environmental degradation and in pursuing environment-friendly livelihood practices that will positively impact on the social and ecological environment.


Beginning 2017, the focus of OIDCI’s Heartwork is the establishment of the Ekip Agro-Ecosystem Resource Center. The resource center will house the nursery shed for the propagation of good quality seedlings and planting materials that will help enhance the forest cover of the surrounding areas. The planting materials for pine trees, coffee and guyabano will be made available. The resource center will also serve as venue for knowledge-sharing and training.

LowRes Book Cover 8-3-2017 FinalOIDCI’s partners for the center are the Ekip Indigenous Farmers Federation Inc. (EIFFI) and the Ekip Women’s Organization (EWO). The working partnership will involve continuing community dialogues in documenting indigenous and traditional agro-ecosystem practices that will be put together as a knowledge resource book that the younger generations in Ekip and other villages in the municipality of Bokod, province of Benguet, can refer to.


The Ekip people are descendents of the Banawis and the Sa-Ingan, an indigenous people from Ifugao. They speak their own dialect called “Kalanguya” which is different from the major dialects in the Cordilleras, the Ibaloi and Igorot. The Ekip farmers continue to observe long-standing traditions that have been handed down by their ancestors, such as: 1) the Cha-ngas, a system of community cooperation where work is shared without compensation and prompted only by community responsibility; 2) the Ugbo, to help a neighbour accomplish work speedily, exacting compensation at a later time (maykaro ni akew); and 3) the random planting or crop-rotation on rice with indigenous crops such as camote, gabi, cassava, sayote, watercress, marble tomato, banana, coffee, tacombao, and medicinal plants. As part of their belief system, they believe that the forest lands are sacred gifts from God and act as its custodians and stewards.


For this CSR project, OIDCI will provide technical and financial assistance in establishing the seed-to-shelf process of growing coffee and guyabano wherein EIFFI and EWO will acquire a total technology package that starts from the planting stage onto harvesting, processing, and labelling and marketing. The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project II (CHARMP2) will also be extending technical assistance and advisory services to the partnership in terms of providing expertise in nursery establishment and maintenance and in training facilitation on plant propagation. The project is also supported by the local government of Bokod and the Ekip Barangay Development Council.


For this HeartWork project, the aim is to develop Barangay Ekip into a model barangay that practices both traditional and modern methods of forest conservation and cultural preservation, leading to sustainable livelihoods – a model example for the nearby villages and municipalities in Benguet as well as for the rest of the country.

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