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Facemasks for Conservation

Twelve women of the Bagobo Tagabawa community in Barangay Sibulan, Toril, Davao City learned how to sew facemasks to earn additional income for their families.

From hand sewing the Rufous hornbill plush toys to reusable facemasks, the Bagobo Tagabawa of Sibulan are adapting to the disruptive effect of the pandemic on their livelihood. They trained in sewing facemasks as a source of income that is COVID-adaptive.

Through the support of the Whiteheads Ark Project, they received materials to start the enterprise “Facemasks for Conservation.” Last December 16-17, 2021, we visited the community with a trainer from Tesda – Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to teach the basics of sewing facemasks.

The community shifted to producing reusable cloth facemasks because they also want to help reduce waste. They started selling within their local community and campaigned for waste reduction and management. Their enterprise helped improve their income while their husbands and other family members continue to participate in forest guarding activities as members of the “Bantay Bukid.”

The Bagobo Tagabawa of Sibulan is our longtime conservation partner in securing the oldest nesting site within the Mt. Apo Natural Park.

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