By Princess Lacorte/AdDU Intern
NEW ZEALAND Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Kell highlighted his country’s investments toward supporting indigenous tribes during the 2nd Mindanao Development Authority forum on May 19.
Although New Zealand has shifted to supporting the peace process in Mindanao in the last few years, the country is still devoting active efforts and working closely with partners to help improve the lives of the indigenous communities.
The embassy had just concluded a two-year-long project for female indigenous entrepreneurship in four Northern Davao tribes. Riding on this, Kell said they would keep supporting the “Uplifting the IP Women of Davao” project launched in 2021.
The project assisted Davao’s IP women in multiple areas, such as health and entrepreneurship. He also mentioned that talks with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are underway to develop another project that will utilize new approaches toward supporting the needs of Mindanao IP communities.
Additionally, they are looking at a new initiative for these communities on a much bigger scale. Kell added that part of its focus is Davao City and its 11 tribes. New Zealand is currently working with project partners like Go Negosyo to connect with other embassies to fund these projects.
Kell noted that Go Negosyo discussed how they might try to replicate these projects in other areas in the Philippines by deploying their indigenous project partners as mentors. They are also reviewing how they can coordinate with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry to produce new methods of encouraging more interest in IP communities.
He also encouraged young Mindanaoans, particularly Muslims and indigenous peoples, to apply for post-graduate scholarships in New Zealand.
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