March 20, 2022. Improved road access, the chance to meet together despite the distance and pandemic and more of these stories manifest the significant progress and transformation happening in the camp communities once marginalized from development.
During the recent gathering of community volunteers and the transitioning combatants from the different villages covered under the six major camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF) on March 14-15, 2022 at Cotabato City, shared their narratives and experiences in relation to the on-going transformation in the camps.
“Before, the road going to Brgy. Tamparan in Munai, Lanao del Norte (Camp Bilal) was difficult and risky. Now, we are happy that there is a better road to reach the village, far from its condition, years ago”, Joint Task Force on Camps Transformation (JTFCT) Camp Bilal said.
Co-chairman of the JTFCT Camp Badre expressed that “Simple meeting like this activity is already significant for us. We are all comrades in this struggle, all worked as combatants but it was very rare that we meet because we are coming from different camps. But this project gathered us”.
This said gathering happened during the Project End Review and Reflection Session conducted in line with completion of the Camps of Learning Project (CLP)- a project that aims to promote inclusive peace through literacy in the Bangsamoro.
In the event, BDA together with partner and the participants reviewed the project implementation and drew lessons learned that shall be relevant to consider in the future. This was guided by the project development objectives, project steps, and was through a reflection session wherein the body identified what went well, and the areas that need be improved.
Took off in April 2021, CLP has touched the lives of many in the camps. The building of community learning centers equipped with complete facilities provided a permanent and convenient learning place for the learners who, before the project, have to run into any available facility in their village just to join the classes on Alternative Learning System (ALS).
Attending and completing the ALS sessions helped promote peace with the beneficiaries feeling the empowerment and self- growth as they learn basic literacy such as writing their names by their own, counting numbers, reading and writing few basic words.
Learner from Camp Abubakar is confident that by the coming national and local election in the country, people can read their names from the voters’ list as they can now write to cast their votes.
From Camp Badre, the learner is grateful that even without a degree, the project brought them education and made them experienced studying and learning at school through the ALS.
As the project also carried skills training for the beneficiaries, people in Camp Bilal are thankful that aside from basic literacy, they also learned additional knowledge and skills that is helpful to augment their daily income.
For the people in Camp Rajamuda, the learning they acquired from the project will never be forgotten.
Camp Omar is likewise in gratitude for the project that served as bridge for the people to learn.
Learner in Camp Bushra is happy that the literacy sessions are completed.
CLP is formally closing this March 2022 leaving fully equipped learning centers across the six major camps of the MILF. The project hopes that the facility shall be used in the future in bringing literacy, empowerment and development in the lives of the people in the camps, long been deprived of such services due to the war in the past.
There were 480 learners who successfully completed the ALS and are now confident having the ability to read, write and count.
The implementation of ALS in camp communities was guided by the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed with the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE- BARMM) for areas under the Bangsamoro Region. Communities outside the region like Brgy. Inug-ug in Pikit is coordinated with the Department of Education- North Cotabato Division (Region XII) and Lanao del Norte Division (Region IX) for Brgy. Tamparan in Munai.
Further, the project was in support to the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
CLP is funded by Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).