GIYF-FFS aims to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable rural development within the communities it serves through an education and community participation system rooted in the following programs.....
Integral youth formation/ Alternancia
GIYF-FFS has a three-week alternating cycle system in place, which allows learning without alienation from the students’ environment. Students live at the school for two weeks and then return to their families for one week. A school year is made up of 14 of these cycles starting in June and ending in March.
During the two-week school stay, one week is focused on academia and one week is focused on sustainable farming practice. During each one week home period tutors visit each student and their family with the aim of assisting in the implementation of sustainable farming techniques learnt from the school, development of family enterprise projects (FEP’s), knowing personally the life situation of the student and reinforcing the family work groups (cluster).
Student planting a corn crop.
Teacher Pong harvesting Organic Palay (rice) from the school's farm.
Community Organising/Enterprise Development.
Part of the values that the GIY-FFS wishes to imbibe in its students is an entrepreneurial spirit that seeks livelihood opportunities by considering the needs and potentials of the family and community and assessing how to creatively respond to those needs through the Family Enterprise Project (FEP). The FEP is born from a collective effort, in which students on their third and fourth year of formation, with the support of their families and tutors are expected to select and implement a particular project that would not only be sustainable and feasible in their local communities, but also open opportunities for greater financial support for the families.
GIYF-FFS aims to be the main mover for rural development within the communities it serves. To achieve this ‘community organizing’ is needed to allow groups to work together to discuss and analyze problems and seek potential solutions. Each family of the school is allocated into one of five clusters according to which community they live in. This community organizing allows GIYF-FFS to give specific trainings and advice on enterprise and other community possibilities according to a clusters’ geographical location.
The combination of the family based FEP’s and cluster based trainings ensures that all enterprise and community possibilities are explored and all community members are involved.
For examples and to read more about FEP’s and community engagement, visit our stories-from-the-field.php page.
Fresh produce from the students family farms
Student and school cook enjoy preparing a healthy lunch
Family during home visits
Sustainable and Organic Agriculture
Sustainable agriculture and natural health trainings aim to build capacity of local farmers and raise awareness of the many and varied benefits derived from the two. Its simple in theory – grow food using only natural processes at a less expense, maximize the use of small plots of land through crop diversity and intensity, improve health through cutting harmful chemicals from the diet and live in harmony with the natural environment. However there is a huge challenge to convert farmers from their traditional methods.
The school farm is a training ground for students and community members. When local farmers see the success of organic farming at the school farm they feel inspired to try it on their own farm. Trainings, workshops and exposure days are opportunities for local farmers to gain skills, knowledge and inspiration regarding sustainable and organic agriculture.
Every second week of the two-week school stay is known as ‘farm period’, during which students practice sustainable and organic farming techniques learnt in the classroom such as composting, using organic fertilizers, biological pest control, design etc. During home period students are able to implement these farming methods on their own family farm.
GIYF-FFS aims to produce enough harvest to nourish the schools students through a Permaculture farming system. The school farm grows organic rice varieties as well as many other crops including banana, eggplant, corn, coconut, mango and mushrooms to name a few. The farm also keeps chickens, pigs, cattle and Karabaw.
A student with one of his FEP pigs.
Parents and community members during natural health training.
The Natural Health program, which promotes the consumption of fresh and organic vegetables and discourages harmful chemicals and additives such as MSG goes hand in hand with the Sustainable and Organic Agriculture program. Grow natural food and eat healthily is the message being sent to the students, families and community through information and training sessions, health counseling and developing health friendly enterprise projects.
Having the students’ board at the school for two weeks allows the schools cooks to prepare healthy foods for the students with a school diet mainly consisting of rice, in season fruits and vegetables and fish.
A recent survey aimed at parents of students says that 90% of respondents believe that their child is seeing better health due to the natural health program of GIYF-FFS.
Teacher Shella shares that “the great challenge we face is the deep association we ascribe to poverty and the consumption of native food like root crops, unripe cooked banana, unpolished rice, camote (sweet potato) tops and other vegetables while highly accepting unhealthy food like junk food, processed meat, sweets and chemically treated food with heavy artificial additives.”