WMSU GETS P1.3M AUSaid Fund for Floating School Project
February 9, 2004

The Australian Assistance for International Development has donated P1.3 million for the “Floating School Project” of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) which was launched last January 20 to 23, this year.

The total project cost is about P2.7 millio. However, the Philippine government as its counterpart funds amounting to P1.4 million will shoulder the remaining balance.

As of press time, funds for the project has yet to be released by the government agencies concerned.

The Floating school project is expected to start this coming school year 2004.

Dr. Eldigario D. Gonzales, President of WMSU, exhibited the “Floating School Project” proposal at the lobby of the Office of the President recently.

The floating school project is a mobile school which will offer free literacy program to the out-of-school children of Sama and Badjao tribes, ages 7 to 14. It lso given functional literacy for unschooled adults and skills development courses to unskilled men and women.

The project would focus on the coastal and island barangays of this city which are highly populated by Sama and Badjao people.

Prof. Carmen T. Ramos, Comprehensive Outreach Program for Barangay (COPBA) director, said that 20 barangays have been chosen for the project.

These are barangays Sangali, Manicaan, Cawit, Talucsangay, Pangapuyan Island, Arena Blanco, Mariki, Sinunuk, Caragasan, Patalon, Labuan, Limpapa, Campo Islam, Mampang, Vitali, Recodo, Magay, the Eleven Islands and Sacol Island.

The project would include livelihood courses for men, such as automotive, electronics, welding, practical electricity, production of indigenous fishing gear and boat making.

It also aims to harness the women in the craft of food processing, dressmaking and handicraft. Furthermore, it would educate them by giving information about health, novelty nutrition and responsible parenting.

Professor Lucio C. Somblingo, Assistant Dean of the Department of Extension Services, and Non-Formal Education (DES-NFE), revealed that this project would teach and develop the skills of the indigenous people. Thus, they will not introduce them to new techniques and livelihood skills program.

Prof. Somblingo added, that aside from the Australian Government, the Grand Assistance for Grassroots Projects (GAGP) is also willing to give financial grant for the said project.

Professor Somblingo further said that if the GAGP will approve the project proposal, there will eventually be one floating school for the east and west coasts of this city.

It was further learned that the GAGP was also looking forward to assisting a floating clinic as an extension of the so-called floating school. (R.J. Rosalado, MassCom Intern)