The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) was recognized as one of the Eco Champions for its RAFI One To Tree program showcasing outstanding contributions and inspiring work in the field of Environment. This award was presented online during the Bio Nutrient PDO’s project launch for 500 Gifts for 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines on October 7, 2021.
The Eco Champion Award serves as a huge step to further expanding the networks and partnerships built with other collaborators, including Bio Nutrient PDO, in achieving the shared goals towards a better future for the planet.
Bio Nutrient PDO launched its Laudato Si campaign collaborating with the church on programs on biodiversity restoration, proper waste management, efforts on conservation of soil and water, and the enhancement of environmental conditions in general. This is part of Spring Rain Global’s 500 Gifts for 500 Years program which aims to provide support for 14 Philippine-based philanthropic development offices (PDOs) in order to raise funds to empower and continue their work of providing critical services to the vulnerable sector during this pandemic.
One To Tree (formerly known as RAFI Biodiversity Conservation Unit), has been active in reforestation and conservation for over two decades and has achieved more than 80% survival rate for native tree growing. RAFI OTT also assists companies in the service delivery of Environmental Compliance Certificate requirements set by the Philippine Government, as well as helping them achieve carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation goals.
RAFI One To Tree not only focuses on reforestation, but puts equal effort in empowering and supporting local communities via community mobilization, production of native tree seedlings, and maintenance and monitoring. All these provide opportunities for local communities to take active part in the reforestation and community-building process and provide alternative sources of income for over 400 local farmers.
“We believe that one of the best ways to protect our forest, or the environment as a whole, is to empower the people. We need to educate them about the value of our finite resources, help them understand that these natural resources are for their benefit, and that they should protect them so that they and their children can continue to enjoy it.” Anton Dignadice, RAFI One To Tree Executive Director, highlights in his acceptance speech.
“We have to engage and work with the local communities: the farmers, fisher folks, the marginalized sector. We have to strike a balance of making a positive impact on the environment and the well-being of our constituents. We should help conserve nature but at the same time, ensure that we are also able to support the development and improve the lives of our marginalized communities,” he adds.
The active participation of local farmers and community in the project has ensured that seedlings planted are taken care of in order to survive and grow. In 2019 and 2020, RAFI OTT achieved an average tree survival rate of 90%.
RAFI OTT is one of the five (5) Eco Champion awardees which includes: Pope Francis, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Representative of the Lone District of Antique Loren Legarda, Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival, and Rotary Club of Manila President Robert Lim Joseph Jr.
The Eco Champion Award was presented by Ma. Emma Ramas, Founder and PDO Director, BioNutrient Waste Management PDO, Fr. Victor Gonzaga, OSA, Chairman, Advisory Board of Spring Rain Global Consultancy Inc., and Dr. Glenda Antonio, RN, RFC, REP, CFRM, DM-EM, Founder, President, and CEO of Spring Rain Global Consultancy Inc.