Community orgs fill leadership vacuum in conflict-areas: BDA

COMMUNITY organizers have become de-facto leaders in conflict-areas monitored by the Bangsamoro Development Authority (BDA).

BDA chairman Safrula Dipatuan said that since BDA started 15 years ago, one of the concrete changes they observed was the interest of community organizers to step up when there are leadership vacuums.

“Through support, the BDA was able to empower communities such as the people’s organizations … by helping them build and manage a total of 515 community infrastructure and livelihood projects in 284 conflict=affected communities across 75 municipalities,” Dipatuan said.

“The impact of our community interventions went beyond the numbers,” he added.

This was a huge step, Dipatuan noted, especially since the beginnings of the BDA were met with skepticism.

Dipatuan spoke during the closing ceremonies of the Mindanao Trust Fund, which was held Tuesday at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, this city.

The BDA chair said the BDA is thankful for the trust of the MTF, with which it partnered for 11 years through the Mindanao Trust Fund Reconstruction Program.

“After four years, the MTFRP took that crucial leap of faith to become our first strategic partner,” Dipatuan said.

Over the years, the fund was able to generate through cooperative development assistance packages P1.4 billion.

The EU is the largest contributor, having provided P1.17 billion in aid, along with the Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and the World Bank.

The MTF is a multi-donor grant facility established to consolidate international development assistant for the socioeconomic recovery of conflict-affected communities in Mindanao.

The EU commitment amounts to 80% of the total aid in the MTF.

EU Ambassador Franz Jensen, speaking during the event, said the aid has led to the implementation of at least 500 projects, which have affected 600,000 people in at least 300 different areas in Mindanao.

Dipatuan said that the complementary development effort went beyond the Autonomour Region in Muslim Mindanao, reaching areas such as Davao Oriental and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

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