It is now 1 week ago that we flew by plane to Samar, city Tagloban and from there by bus to Biliran. It is a place situated at the foot of the mountain, directly by the beautiful ocean. During the ride I enjoyed the beautiful country, but in addition it is an island that is hit annually by typhoons. In particular Typhoon Yolanda (2013-6,340 deaths) and Typhoon Urduja (2017 – 27 deaths) have left a lot of damage.

The project

Our destination was the 6 barangays which are part of the project of PhilRads: restoring the effects of the typhoons. The MBC training for starting micro-businesses or livelihood centers has been funded by Dorcas (The Netherlands). 150 people participate in the project, under the supervision of 6 local pastors. The goal is to set up 30 businesses (livelihood centers). The uniqueness of this is that every business is the “property” of 25 members and 2 to 4 people are the executive staff. With in mind that a growing business can create jobs for more people in the future. The members invest their share of the capital in the business, are in any case already customers and exert a positive pressure on the staff of the joint business.

How did it stand

The project was set up together with Pastor Dante Sonido. His desire is to deal with poverty, precisely in that area that has a very direct effect under the ever-recurring power of nature. In consultation with the local churches and leaders of the villages, and by the selection of participants, there is a now a motivated group that want to bring a change in life.

The strong point is that the 6 (5 female) pastors are so motivated and have worn this over to the participants. Each of these pastors is responsible for the supporting of  5 livelihood centers and they will also function as coach. For that they followed the MBC Training of Coaches. So far, they have already invested a great deal of their time.

The Business Plans

The purpose of our visit was to train pastors to be able to coach the businesses (Paul Casuga and Nick as trainers) and also the evaluation of 10 business plans (by Bronno and Nick). By individual meetings we have been able to complete the 10 business plans. For some of the business plans, we had to ask them again to do a more detailed market research. But in the evening and at the weekend they worked hard with the pastors to get it ready in time.

What are the expectations for the future

When the 30 business plans are completed (end of November), a first group of businesses will start. The investment is a donation coming from Manila. This donation will be made available to the businesses as an interest-rate loan, so that after reimbursement a next one can get started (revolving fund).

A project like this is recovery after a disaster and is completed the end of this year. Then it is completely transferred to the local leaders. We would like to accompany these  6 barangays for a few years in the starting-up and running of the businesses, so that the investments come back and can be used again for the start of other businesses. Also because in other disaster projects, without further guidance, there is sometimes nothing left of it.

Report by Bronno Mulder, Foundation MBC in the Netherlands.