Additional facilitators of Aqua-based Business School for Eastern Visayas and CARAGA trained

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The participants and resource persons during the TOF ABS in Eastern Visayas (left) and CARAGA (right).

FoodSTART+ and FishCORAL are scaling out the Aqua-based Business School (ABS) in more sites in the Eastern Visayas and CARAGA regions of the Philippines. A new set of ABS facilitators from the Eastern Visayas (30 FishCORAL community facilitators) and CARAGA region (45 participants consisting of community facilitators, gender and development focal persons, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Provincial Fisheries officer, Local Government Unit’s agriculture technician for fisheries and the Regional Project Management officer) were trained last 8-11 May 2018 in Tacloban City and 15-18 May in Butuan City, respectively.

In Eastern Visayas, they will be facilitating ABS in 17 pilot sites spread out across four provinces with a focus on fishery (milkfish, grouper, rabbitfish–locally called danggit, sardinella, seaweeds, mudcrab, squid, mussel), and root crops (sweetpotato and cassava) commodities. While in CARAGA, ABS will be implemented in a total of five pilot sites in two provinces with lobster, mudcrab, sardines, seaweeds and cassava/sweetpotato as main commodities.

The IFAD investment project FishCORAL and the IFAD-grant project FoodSTART+ jointly facilitated the Training of Facilitators (ToF) of Aqua-based Business School with Gender and Climate Change perspectives (ABS-GCC) which will serve as one of the key approach for the FishCORAL Livelihood component.

The ABS-GCC is an adaptation of the International Potato Center‘s (CIP) Farmer Business School (FBS), whose curriculum was finalized last February by integrating FishCORAL’s livelihood guidelines and enhancing focus on fisheries and aquaculture commodities.

Criteria setting exercise for Module 1 in Eastern Visayas (left) and CARAGA (right).

Both trainings entailed numerous exercises to facilitate adult learning. For instance, in module 1 (ABS planning and targeting), facilitators had a group work exercise on criteria setting to identify the commodities that should be prioritized. In module 2 (group formation and strengthening), the participants had to solve a puzzle to stimulate communication and cooperation within the group to achieve a common goal.

Market visit exercise in Eastern Visayas (left) and CARAGA (right).

In module 3 (introducing marketing and business concepts with value chain concepts and methods), the participants visited major markets and fish port in the city to map the market chains of pre-identified commodities. The participants then expanded their market chain from module 3 to a basic value chain in module 4 (identifying and prioritizing value chain opportunities). A video presentation on mudcrab production and another one on the case was shown as part of Module 5 (targeting and testing potential innovations).

Business Development Services panel discussions in Eastern Visayas (left) and CARAGA (right)

In Eastern Visayas, a panel sharing and discussion was given by public and private business development services (BDS) providers, composed of representatives from LandBank Leyte Lending Center, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWSD), and Metro Ormoc Community Cooperative (OCCCI), as part of module 7 (accessing support services), while in Caraga the panelists included representatives from the Deparment of Tourism (DOT), Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). For the final event (module 8) – the business launch – where the ABS enterprise groups launch their businesses in a public event, a video presentation of CHARMP2’s FBS business launch was shown to the participants. Finally, the newly-minted ABS facilitators and organizers then conducted a workshop to draft each pilot site’s implementation plan.

We now look forward to see the new knowledge put in use and the ABS successfully implemented in the target regions.

Written by and Guada Babilonia, Philippines Country Facilitator, and Arma Bertuso, Senior Research Associate, CIP-FoodSTART+