What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
The idea germinated from the CRMIC’s interpretive program, which was developed in 2003 with assistance from the USAID Coastal Resource Management Project to provide non-formal environmental education to Masbate City’s largely rural population. Nearly 70% of the city’s approximately 105,000 residents live in rural areas, where books are scarce and television is unavailable. Until the CRMIC opened its doors, most Masbateños had never been to a museum. The dearth in cultural institutions combined with high poverty incidence (70%) toward turning a once proud community into a people isolated from itself and its (essentially coastal) environment, showing little appreciation or concern for its rich natural history. This manifested in the degraded environment, depleted resources, general decline of quality of life and poor sense of place.
The CRMIC has put itself at the center of the City’s effort to revitalize itself. As the City Government occupies itself with the brass tacks of rehabilitating the coastal environment through the establishment of marine protected areas and other interventions, the CRMIC focuses on the rather abstract and certainly more difficult aspect of transforming the very “soul” of the society that has created the dire situation that now besets Masbateños: zero forest cover, degraded mangrove forests and coral reefs, poor waste management, and social injustice (resources are controlled by a few).
Through this project and its partnership with the City Government, Liceo de Masbate intends to contribute to the effort by bringing in the formative aspects of environmental through ecological evangelization. The ultimate goal is to create an eco-centric learning landscape the gives back people their sense of place and reconnects them with their natural environment. It is about giving people opportunities for reflection, self-renewal, and spiritual growth, and rediscovering their common voice, cooperation, responsibility, mutual respect, respect for nature, and ultimately, self-respect.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
This is a group effort of volunteers from different professions and disciplines who are working together through this project to bring about their common vision of an Earth-caring citizenry.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
Through another organization or company
If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company
USAID Fisheries Improved for Sustainable Harvest (FISH) Project