23 December 2021, Hagonoy, Bulacan. “It takes a village to grow a mangrove” is a statement that encapsulates One Child, One Tree (OCOT) – one of Hagonoy’s most recent and consistent volunteer-based organizations active in promoting environmental protection.
By December 23rd, 2021, with over a hundred individuals, OCOT Hagonoy implemented its largest planting activity and planted 50,313 mangroves. Generous funding from the One Tree Planted (OTP) with support from FEED enabled OCOT to continue to perform its role in environmental protection.
OCOT volunteers and fisherfolks not only planted mangroves but also built fences around the two mangrove sites: Aroma Beach and Mangrove Sanctuary, both located in Pugad, Hagonoy, Bulacan, meant to protect the newly planted mangroves from garbage and strong water and storm surges.
This project is part of OCOT’s 5-year plan aimed at growing at least 100,000 mangroves. Prior to receiving the funding from OTP, OCOT had planted close to 6,000 mangroves through the support of private individuals. Its Mangrove Reforestation Program in Hagonoy, Bulacan is aimed at mitigating climate change and supporting the livelihood of 60% of the total population who are reliant on fishing for their livelihood.
OCOT’s goal is to grow 100,000 mangroves in around 10 hectares that has been declared by the Municipal Government of Hagonoy as a mangrove protected site. To achieve this goal, OCOT aims to empower the local community by raising their awareness on the value of mangrove conservation, facilitate community development and people’s participation, foster volunteerism, and work in partnership with different organizations.
OCOT recognises that proper reforestation and mangrove conservation must be based on science. Hence, our program is research-based which means that we do proper assessment of mangroves that survive in our reforestation sites, considering the tidal information, soil, and land zones – also seeking advice from mangrove experts and training volunteers on mangrove assessment, proper planting and monitoring and reporting of program implementation.
Despite the challenges posed by COVID 19 pandemic, OCOT continued safe and accessible ways to enhance awareness raising, site clean-ups, and planting activities, adopting health and safe protocols aligned with the Inter-Agency Task Force group, one of the leading agencies guiding the Covid-19 response in the Philippines.
Information dissemination activities were carried out virtually for the most part. For example, OCOT celebrated Mangrove Ecosystem Day with weekly webinars on relevant topics delivered by experts in their respective fields. Environmental topics included rising sea water levels, water pollution, our eco footprints, and Reimagining Hagonoy, where approximately 200 participants took part.
“As a young person, I take part in planting and encourage other young people to join. I believe that in 5 years’ time, our mangroves will be thicker and stronger, because of the dedication and hard work of our volunteers and community residents who participate in planting and protecting our mangroves”. – Ma. Angela, OCOT volunteer
The success of OCOT’s reforestation program also depends on partnerships and working towards responsive policies, by working closely with different non-profit organisations, schools and colleges, community groups such as cooperatives and fisherfolk associations. OCOT believes that its resources can complement partners’ abilities to achieve a shared goal. Also, through its advocacies with local government units, the reforestation area has now been declared as a protected area. The local government unit also provides support in kind such as food for our volunteers and free use of the boat to transport planters to the mangrove sites.
- Airon Joshua Balingit
- Alexis Adrian Santos
- Aliyah Beatrice Ramos
- Angelo Guevarra
- Angelo Perez
- BJ Pascual
- Carlos Carreon
- Clarence Luis Nabong
- Denden Pascual
- Demy Martin
- Dennis Martin
- Efraim Santos
- Ethel Cruz
- Federico Pascual
- Gilbert Mendoza
- Greg Mendoza
- Ireneo Pascual
- James Cruz
- Janlu Atienza
- John Daren Galvez
- John Matthew Danganan
- Julio Teodoro
- Luis Nabong
- Ma. Angela Sayo
- Natalia Sali
- Nikka Reyes
- Paniel Sabdao
- Raymond Pascual
- Reymart Bautista
- Rham Sali
- Richard Pascual
- Shaira Manansala
- Shan Francis Villanueva
- Vic Cruz
- Wendell Aguinaldo
- Will Ulysses Villanueva
About One Child One Tree (OCOT)
Natalia Sali is the project lead. Natalia is a PhD Candidate in Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom. She is skilled in project management, research, training, community development, volunteer management, teaching, and people’s participation. She founded OCOT in 2017 and together with her family, has built OCOT’s excellent reputation of sound program delivery and people’s engagement. Nats is also a FEED Ambassador since 2017.
Rhamley Sali is OCOT’s field supervisor. Rhamley is UK-based but has decided to come backhome and stay in the Philippines for a long time to support OCOT’s programs. He supervises volunteers and other participants in planting, clean up, and other activities in the reforestation sites.
Ayesa Agniezka Sali-Santos is OCOT’s communication and liaison officer. She communicates with community nurseries in Bulacan and coordinates mangrove deliveries during planting activities. She oversees the website development and social media promotion.
“As a youth from Hagonoy, I can contribute to OCOT’s aim by giving my time in planting activities and encouraging others to do so. We need to focus and support this program to help protect our coastal areas.” – Will Ulysses, OCOT volunteer
Despite the pandemic, One Child, One Tree has remained focused in its environmental efforts. We believe that we need to protect our environment now more than ever. People’s livelihood is at stake and with it comes our responsibility to make a difference in people’s life and the environment. We are a small local group, but our strength comes from the participation of the community and organizations who share the same vision – of making Hagonoy Greener.
With funders like One Tree Planted and partners in our reforestation program, we envisage that in 5 years’ time, our mangrove forests will be thriving and our people, benefiting from it.
For more details on OCOT, visit: https://onechildonetreeorg.wordpress.com/
In 2015, the Philippine government submitted to the United Nations the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The carbon dioxide reductions will come from the sectors of energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry. Join us! Help us reverse the Earth’s “hothouse climate” tipping point.
Tree-Planting with FEED
© Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc.