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FEATURE STORY

Off the Edge of CHARMP2

off the edge

Mountain Light, Sun Star
Writing has multiple objectives, and one of these is to write to those close to you.
The previous article under this column counselled our readers about living, one day at a time in these hard times, even if the nation’s economic index tell us otherwise. In plain terms, I hope that the good economy has not been selective still for the social, economic and political elite. And so, I continue expanding on the theme of our previous column with this article having in mind, our former staff at the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resources Management Project (CHARMP2) who are out there in the job market, after concluding their contract with us.
The theme played on the edges of time, ingrained in my mind during the conduct of last year’s CHARMP2 Knowledge Learning Market (KLM) and observance of the Project’s 7th and last anniversary.
In the midst of the revelries and fun that came with the celebrations and enjoyed by everyone, it also brought a troubling air. I felt sad at the same time. We were living at the edge of time, counting days before the end.
Soon enough, December came. Some will not return to their work the following year. January 2016 brought on that strange and troubling feeling as many of our contracted personnel will wake up on the last day of March, the last day of their work with us. That has passed us now and in June, more will be gone. Whether we are that person affected by the loss of work or not, we all certainly feel sad and troubled somehow. The life we found and lived together as Project staff has to end and it is too close, for comfort.
I look for ways to feel good in spite of the situation. Together, we certainly have progressed so far and loved our work in the past seven years we did not dwell thinking about this moment. Be it that way, may you take our existence as Project staff together as standard wherever life may take you as you continue to serve others.
That said, I would not volunteer any maybe(s) anymore, except to keep you in my memories, our influence, both on nature and on our communities in the highlands. Whether we know the extent or impact of our work, I know we have moved or brought marginalized highland community living into a new epoch – in the mainstream of nation building. At the Information and Knowledge Management Unit (IKMU), we tried to bring this message out in the last years of the project’s life. Together with our farmer beneficiaries, they themselves testified and courageously shared in several media encounter the significant consequences our actions are having on their livelihood, community and nation building as a whole.
The CHARMP2’s interventions in its project areas in the Cordillera highlands contributed to their becoming ‘high opportunity, high risk societies' – always part of the challenge of development. But we also have confidence that the legacy of the Project among its beneficiaries and stakeholders will continue to guide them in balancing their pursuits for sustainable opportunities and benefits, more than the risks, which the Project has done so far.
To recall, we have advanced access and mobility in otherwise inaccessible communities, developed watersheds, invested and improved livelihoods, financed rural development in the highlands so that project beneficiaries possess power far in advance of anything ever done for them before. The risks are great, so too are the benefits, but more important is how the Project and its interventions capacitated individuals and communities to safely negotiate their way through the many opportunities and risks that confront highland living.
So should we feel optimistic or pessimistic about our interventions and legacies at the CHARMP2?
We do not have enough information now to be either. The impact of the Project is best determined three years after Project completion. For now, that tells us not to worry unduly, so it is for us at the DA-RFO-CAR, who will keep these legacies to remain vigilant. We are living ‘off the edge of CHARMP2’s tour of duty after all, and for all those who contributed their lives, expertise and time to the Project, we should see it through. //


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