by Marco G. Fernando
I have to say that everything started from a meaningful influence of passionate individuals. It somehow started as a mandatory undertaking I need to do when I was once part of the CBA-SG. We were tasked to participate in Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) Bayan’s coastal clean-up activity every first Saturday of the month.
At that time, I don’t quite have figured out what real and tangible impact coastal clean-up activities have but when I surrounded myself with people who have strong passion of protecting the environment that’s when I figured out what I want and what I need to do.
It was not mere accident but a meaningful influence. I was not only influenced by the wonderful people around me but the reality that the world is revealing: you can’t change an individual instantly in one setting. It might take a series of experiences before a person could truly love and advocate for the environment that’s why I founded ADUNA because I want to open opportunities for young individuals to experience or witness themselves the reality of the issues we are facing about the environment because pictures and other digital campaign materials may let people be aware, experiences make them take action.
Everything could start as a selfish undertaking but eventually, you will learn to love and know what you are truly fighting for as long as everyone is allowing each other to grow.
The idea of creating the organization started after the very first Social Business Socials (SBS). Ms. Natasha Kunesch, former Research Director in Foundation University and Mr. Faisal Alih, Chancellor set up a meeting with the working committee which includes most of the pioneer members of ADUNA.
During such meeting, we discussed on how we can create and improve the second edition of the Social Business Socials and suddenly, out of the blue Ms. Tash and Mr. Alih suggested that it may be a good idea to create an organization which will be carrying the vision of the SBS.
Before creating the organization, we were tasked to look for social entrepreneurs around Negros Oriental. We were almost running out of luck finding social entrepreneurs when we found out about 6200 PopUp. It was inspiring to hear the different stories of the social enterprises like SUBIDA, BayawAni, Lumago, Alima Community and many more inspiring and passionate people sharing their beautiful journey as a social enterprise.
A day after the said event, my colleagues and I decided to gather and deliberate on what to name our organization. We decided to name it ADUNA because we trust and believe in the power of existence and growth.
ADUNA is a Visayan term that means “there is/there are” because we believe that there is us, you and the people who believe that we can achieve a sustainable future for everyone. As long as we believe in each other and work together, we can make something possible. That we can achieve something that is good for everyone because what is good for everyone is good for you.
Our vision is to create learning and volunteering opportunities for young individuals to experience and develop a love for the environment. ADUNA is built on four pillars which are assistance, awareness, action and analysis. We were able to strengthen these pillars due to the overwhelming support of the people around us.
It is noteworthy to recognize the influence of Mr. Gary Rosales of BPI Bayan Dumaguete. He is one of the greatest supporters of ADUNA. We were inspired by his sincere passion towards working for a sustainable and resilient Dumaguete City. The first year of the existence of ADUNA was fruitful and significant because of the opportunities shared by BPI Bayan Dumaguete. We are truly grateful to be in partnership with BPI Bayan Dumaguete, War on Waste Negros Oriental and other wonderful and amazing NGOs which have provided us a meaningful partnership. Also, I am truly grateful to Foundation University especially to Mrs. Charlotte Cariño for providing me and my colleagues an enabling environment to which sprouts the most significant partnerships that ADUNA has.
I am also immensely grateful for having wonderful individuals with me for this journey we have in ADUNA. I hope everyone could partake on this journey so that we could achieve our goals sooner. We were able to become a support system to different NGOs because of these wonderful individuals who are passionate and genuine to support our projects and the projects of our partner NGOs.
They were able to align their own personal interests with the vision of ADUNA and for that, I am so thankful to have them. It was fun and memorable to share the experiences with them during the reef dome construction and deployment, mangrove tree planting, IEC campaign, surveys and other significant activities. Because of all of these activities, I want to share this significant realization that I have.
Coastal clean-up activity and other environmental activities that may seem to be unsuccessful are powerful tools of minimizing the impact of human activities and prolonging the life in existing ecosystems while we are fighting towards a better system to live on. It is heart-wrenching as an advocate to know that you can’t pick up all those trashes but also as an advocate, you know that you have done something to make sure that some trashes are away from the marine ecosystems causing hazards to marine creatures.
For every trash you picked, it could save a life of a marine creature. No matter how few the trashes you picked, the fact that you have done something to ensure that these trashes don’t get into these beautiful marine ecosystems is already a simple act of kindness that could save these ecosystems.
Just this February, we launched Kapin Uno Project. Kapin Uno Project is a project that aims to give livelihoods locally which at the same time saves the environment by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and responsible production. In this project, the waste materials of bakeshops – the flour sacks – are transformed into drawstring and tote bags.
This gives livelihoods locally because our bag makers are unemployed housewives who seldom get income. Also, this project promotes responsible production because we aim to avoid the unnecessary production of new fabrics to create new bags. Fabrics contain microplastics and if we produce more of it then we continue to pollute our environment.
We also hope that through helping these wonderful women especially mothers, we will be able to spread environmental consciousness since mothers are considered “ilaw ng tahanan,” we believe that they are the catalysts we are looking for to spread environmental awareness to their children.
I believe that the most important love we can celebrate right now is the love for environment. I am excited to the possibilities that these love can give to me and my colleagues and I hope it will direct us to a destination where our own individual and collective goals meet.
It doesn’t need to end in the ocean. Your trash belongs to you and the ocean would not be less without it.