The Episcopal Church of the Philippines : Asset-Based Community Development

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF THE PHILIPPINES: ASSET-BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

This was a collaborative six-year programme with the congregations that make up the Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP). It was launched in 2012 and USPG supported the programme for its entire duration.

Using the biblical example of Jesus using one child’s food to feed the five thousand, the ECP encouraged the members of its congregations to take stock of the assets they had – their free time and all their skills and talents - and then think of ways in which they could harness those assets and use them constructively. A number of self-help projects and income-generating initiatives were launched as a result. Participating churches and individual church members received loans which they used to launch projects.

One of the project’s success stories is the Cabacab Farmers’ Association, formed in 2014 by 11 farmers who were all members of St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Cabacab, in the province of Benguet. Andrew Baniaga, a vegetable farmer, was one of the association’s founder members. For years Andrew struggled with his farm, beholden to loan sharks. When the association joined Receivers to Givers, Andrew was able to receive a low-interest livelihood support loan from the programme. For the first time, he had money left over after a farming cycle and had more control over what crops he grew. Andrew’s farm flourished, the Cabacab Farmers Association grew in number and St Peter’s saw an increase in its congregation too.

A major achievement of this programme was how it helped all of its participants to realise that every member of the Church has something valuable to contribute towards church and community development.