Emily McQualter
Friday, April 13, 2012 - 12:15

By Emily McQualter
Technology Monitoring Fellow

Coming home to the Farm School in Oriental Mindoro

Kopernik recently implemented a new project in the Philippines. Working with Gelacio I. Yason Foundation Family Farm School (GIYF-FFS), a local NGO based in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, we are aiming at providing clean, affordable and efficient lighting and phone charging capabilities to some of the most disadvantaged communities in Oriental Mindoro. Here is the first blog post from our Fellow, Emily McQualter.

I arrived back at the Gelacio I. Yason Foundation Family Farm School in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro on the 4th of March 2012 after a 12-hour journey from Manila, and an even longer journey from Australia. To get to Roxas from Manila, various modes of transport are required, including: a bus, boat, jeepney, van and tricycle. I lived and worked at the Farm School for one year previously as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development. Now, here I am again, but this time I am doing a fellowship with Kopernik to assist the implementation and monitoring of Lighting Up Rural Philippines Project. Skirting over the sea towards Mindoro felt like coming home.

The Farm School

Mindoro, is located off the coast of Luzon and is separated into two provinces; Occidental to the west and Oriental to the east. The provinces are separated by a large mountain range that contain amazing biodiversity, including the only remaining 300 individual Tamaraw left in the world. The province is largely rural with a large percentage of the population engaged in agriculture and fishing. The Farm School works with five of the most poorest communities in Oriental Mindoro, 41% of which live without running water and 49% don’t have access to electricity.

The Farm School’s Caretaker Kuya Milo ploughing the fields

Shortly after my arrival we conducted our first business planning session. Our business model was formed using a tool recommended by Social Entrepreneurs across Australia. The Business Model Generation Canvas is a free, easy to use resource that provides a template and way of documenting new or existing business models. We were able to form a solid business plan with focus areas for further research.

I will post more blogs in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!