Currently, although operations have been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Yamog has several promising, ongoing initiatives underway. Two significant projects were initiated in 2020, and the Yamog team is hopeful that progress on these initiatives will pick up later this year.
Sustainable Energy and Safe Drinking Water in Davao Occidental
One of Yamog’s main ongoing projects centres around the promotion of a locally-operated electricity and water supply system in Sitio Danao, Barangay Pangaleon Municipality of Malita Province of Davao Occidental-Mindana, Philippines. Funded by Misereor-KZE Germany, this project will establish a 26 kW capacity micro hydro system in Sitio Danao.
The Yamog team is grateful for the contributions of HPNET Board Member Gerhard Fisher and company from Pt Entec Indonesia, who fabricated the turbine and electro-mechancial equipment for this project. Following up on a collaboration facilitated by HPNET in 2018, and knowledge exchange activities in 2019, Pt Entec and Yamog continue to collaborate to advance high quality micro hydro equipment in community based projects in Mindanao.
Through this project, Yamog aims to improve the quality of life of the Tagakaulo tribal community, via a participatory approach to community development. Substantive community involvement is prioritized, in order to harness local social capital and build the community’s capacity to manage and sustain the project. This collaborative, participatory approach is very much in line with the local culture, reflecting the spirit of “bayanihan” (communal activities).
Community collaboration has been central, not only in the establishment of the MHP, but also in the promotion of watershed protection and restoration in the Tagakaulo’s ancestral land. The community association, watershed committee and volunteers have collectively carried out resource mapping and planning to mitigate and prevent further environmental destruction and strengthen the watershed ecosystem. They aim to conserve 390 hectares of the watershed, plant 5,000 fruit-bearing and native trees and establish a community-managed nursery, mandating that each member of the community association plant 5 trees every year. To date, they have successfully transplanted around 30% of their total target number of trees.
Yamog, furthermore, aims to promote gender equity through the project, and women have played an important role in activities thus far. One of the project’s core activities focuses on developing sustainable livelihoods for women, to respond to the gendered impacts of energy poverty and limited economic opportunities, and to leverage the valuable role that women play within community development. The community association’s general assembly also voted for a woman to be their chairperson, acknowledging her strong leadership capabilities.
The project team has not yet been able to install the electro-mechanical equipment for the MHP, as their engineers aren’t able to travel to the beneficiary community due to COVID-related restrictions. However, Yamog hopes to complete installation by September or October 2020, so that the community will have electricity access before Christmastime.
Another ongoing project at Yamog is called “Improving the Lives of People in Off-Grid Communities in Mindanao through the Provision of Sustainable Energy”, funded by the European Union and Misereor-KZE Germany. This project will establish 6 MHPs and 2,876 solar home lighting systems, serving 4,000 poor, mostly indigenous, households in Mindanao.
The project has four key components: Installation of an energy mix of solar power and micro hydropower; holistic approach in water resource management through a community-driven forest protection initiative; development of local people’s management and technical capacities, and promoting good local governance; and providing a physical center for technical servicing, research and training.
For the last component, Yamog is in the process of setting up the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Technologies (ReSET) Center, where practitioners will learn how to fabricate turbines and other electro-mechanical MHP components, as well as other renewable energy technologies (solar, wind, biogas). The ReSET Center will serve as the hub of renewable energy development in Mindanao, where Yamog will also conduct research and trainings to pass on the RE technologies to grassroots communities.