UPOU targets Ifugao Rice Terraces Conservation and Sustainable Development in New Project
UP Open University (UPOU), in fulfillment of its mission of widening access to quality education and its public service thrust, targets the Sustainable Development and Conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) in its project with UP Los Baños, Kanazawa University, Ifugao State University (IFSU), the Ifugao Provincial Government, and selected municipalities in Ifugao funded by Mitsui & Co. Ltd.
Dubbed as the “Youth Capacity Building and Exchange Program toward Sustainable Development and Conservation of Ifugao Rice Terraces,” the project will focus on training the Ifugao youth on the concepts of IRT as a Satoyama landscape and a Globally Important Heritage System (GIASH), sustainable tourism, sustainable farming practices, local food security, agricultural heritage systems and the cultural heritage preservation of the IRT. Training modules and multimedia materials will be developed to aid in the capacity building of the youths.. Partnerships will also be linked between countryside and urban communities and provide hands-on experience, exchange programs and internship to rural and urban-based youths.
During the launch, Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, welcomed all partners and guests to the launch. She coined the term #Y4IRT as the shorter name to the project and explained how the project proves important to the University. All collaborators were given an opportunity to share messages. Dr. Koji Nakamura from Kanazawa University gave a short message about the importance of educating and supporting the young generation. Dr. Portia Lapitan, UPLB Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, says UPLB is proud to be part of the team that leads in the conservation of the country's National Heritage.
Dr. Marissa Bulong, the Director of the IFSU GIAHS Center, shares how IFSU commits its full support in the successful implementation of the project. Councilor Pablo Cuyahon of the Hungduan Municipal Government stated how much it means to the Ifugaos that projects like #Y4IRT are aimed at the sustainable development and conservation of their rice terraces, culture and way of life.
Mr. Masanori Sato, General Manager for Corporate Planning & Administration Division of Mitsui & Co. Ltd, the project's funding agency, explained that #Y4IRT is one the three projects chosen by the company out of about 90 proposals submitted within Asia.
Dr. Joane Serrano, #Y4IRT Project Leader, introduced the Project Team members.
Dr. Primo Garcia, Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), delivered the closing remarks. He thanked everyone for their presence and commitment to the sustainable development and conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.
This capacity building and exchange program will empower the young generation of Ifugaos with the knowledge and leadership needed to sustain the IRT landscape. Participants will learn about the IRT culture and way of life, and involved youths will learn from each other to promote a holistic view of rural and urban linkages to appreciate interconnectedness of these systems. This project, which will run for two years, will create awareness of the GIAHS areas among the youth, and their relevance in the present world. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)