HUGPONG to launch 2013 activity program

Last Friday, February 22nd, Hugpong group members gathered to review last year's activities and plan 2013 program. A dozen organizations, both local and international, joined the meeting: Ikaw-Ako, LEAD Volunteer, Peace Corps, AYAD, Warriors for Peace, OISCA, IPON, Sanaaw, Greenheart Hermitage, Mud House Building, Virlanie Foundation, HOST-NGO. The members discussed the strategy and mission of Hugpong in order to adopt a common and relevant approach. The core values and objectives will be defined and agreed in a mission statement to be approved by all members.

Hugpong is dedicated to promote volunteerism in the Philippines and provide an opportunity to any volunteers' organization to communicate on its projects and activities. Its final goal is to encourage the sharing of skills and experience for a more sustainable and effective intervention. The group is now open to any type of organization, which is active in Negros Island and agrees on Hugpong's mission statement. Religious organizations can also join upon the condition that they respect the religious policy and views of the group and its members. Regular meetings dedicated to plan activities and events will be organized and hosted by each member organization. The members will also vote for their president, secretary and treasurer at the next meeting.

Upcoming events include the Sports Festival in Patag (March 3rd), Glow Fundraiser in Bacolod City (March 8th), Panaad sa Negros Festival in Bacolod City (April 8-14th). Hugpong members will decide on how to best organize their participation into these events. Next meeting of the group will be held on March, 15th.

For more information or to follow Hugpong's activities, check out the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HugpongVolunteersUnitedForNegros


Mud house building with LEAD Volunteer

LEAD Volunteer (League for Environmental Advocate for sustainable Development) is a local non-governmental organization, which has been founded in the Philippines in 2003. Its mission is to increase the sharing of skills and talents, promote voluntarism toward sustainable ideal community-building projects, and build a regional and international network of volunteers. LEAD Volunteer initiates projects and initiatives, which directly or indirectly aim at preserving the environment.
Their areas of intervention include: youth empowerment (rescue team and campus organization), environmental campaign and development (campus nursery and marine protected areas), community sectoral organizing (fisherfolk and farmer's organizational support), culture and arts (artist and event organizing), agrarian reform (beneficiaries organizational capacity building assistance), mud house projects (promotion and technology transfer), and emergency response capacity building.

Since 2012, LEAD Volunteer has been involved at the Social Development Center (SDC) to support the children at risk in collaboration with Bacolod City and Virlanie Foundation. The organization is currently deploying volunteers to organize weekly music activities (drums) and it has been planned to provide the children with art therapy activities in a near future.

HOST-NGO has been recently considering the opportunity to work closer with LEAD Volunteer and possibly build a long-term partnership to act locally in the Philippines. The objective would be to jointly design and implement community-based projects based on a sustainable and eco-friendly development approach. As part of this future collaboration, HOST-NGO volunteers have recently participated into a mud house building seminar conducted by Ms. Marisol Alquizar, an active member of LEAD Volunteer.

The mud house construction is a particularly great process in terms of sustainability and environmental protection. It only requires simple natural materials: soil digged from the earth, mixed with water and sand, and added up with paddy or hay orany dried fiber or even recycling garbage. Natural resources like cement, rocks, metal from the mountains, and wood from the forests are not to be used. This technology is based on the use of easily renewable resources, which is not altering the ecosystem and the environment in general.

Mud house building also represents an undeniable asset for disadvantaged and or indigenous communities living in rural areas. These houses can be built in a few weeks on a very low investment, and would last fifty or even a hundred years.

Mud house building could definitely be considered as part of a rehabilitation program, within the frame of HOST-NGO's intervention in the Philippines and around the world.