From the 80 proposals in the Visayas, the TUKLAS Visayas Lab identified and supported 10 innovation teams, nine of which were able to complete their projects by the end of December 2018:

Solvex38, Intelligent Flood Warning and Monitoring System by Tech4DRRM

Bottle-net Life Jacket by Carlos Hilado Memorial State College

Compact mobile water treatment facility by Viqua Water Care Solutions

Bakwit Kit by DesignNovator

Museo Bayanihan, an offline-online participatory museum for disaster education

Tikod Messenger: Empowering vulnerable communities via off-grid information exchange service

Pool of Trained Indigenous Young Humanitarian Volunteers by Scherz Indigenous Creations

Building community resilience using two-way radio technology by PECOJON and Ham Radio Cebu

Project Mapa by A2D Project - Research Group for Alternatives to Development, Inc.

The Visayas region is no stranger to various types of disasters. The strongest typhoon that struck the country, the super typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda), hits Tacloban and neighboring areas back in 2013. Though leaving a scarred Visayas, these experiences also served as motivation for the innovation teams and their partner communities to innovate for themselves to be better prepared for disasters.

Plan International Philippines has been in-charge in supporting the ten innovation teams from the Visayas region. As an organization that advances children’s and young people’s rights, and equality for girls, the TUKLAS Visayas Lab sees to it that the core values of Plan International Philippines is envibed in the Lab’s operations and the teams’ innovation process.  

These past months have been a learning experience for the TUKLAS Visayas Lab, the innovators, and the partner communities. Below are some of our reflections:

GENDER RESPONSIVENESS

Recognizing the ill effects of disasters to vulnerable sectors like children, elderly, persons with disability, particularly to girls and young women, it is imperative to analyze the issues that affect their wellbeing especially in times of disasters. The TUKLAS Visayas Lab then strengthen the capacity of the innovation teams to look at the innovation process using the gender lens. The Lab conducted trainings on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) and Child and Youth Protection, to name a few.

As a result, it is noteworthy that a number of our innovators worked with children and young people in the testing and development of their innovations; women lead in setting up partition kits in evacuation centers, and take an active role in building the resilience of their families; men being gender-sensitive and supportive to the needs of their wives and other women in evacuation centers; and indigenous peoples young women can now participate in the education of their community that is traditionally being dominated by men and elderly. The TUKLAS Visayas Lab considers these, though very qualitative, as small victories in realizing the gender lens in the innovation process.

HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN / COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

We always say that Community Engagement is the heart of the TUKLAS process. That is why the TUKLAS Visayas Lab sees to it that we are supporting our innovation teams to be able to effectively engage their partner communities in the innovation process.

The human-centered design, in essence, puts premium to human. It recognizes that all things, be it product or service, should be developed with the user in mind. The user of the innovation should not just a passive receiver but an active agent of the innovation process. We then tried to strengthen the capacities of the innovation teams to do away with the “messiah” complex, and the community to actively participate– from the understanding issues, identifying, testing and developing the innovative solution that can augment to their preparedness plan.

One of the innovation teams we supported really put this lesson to heart. They realized the effectiveness of this approach, that it is really heartwarming to see a community actively involved in the process. Not only it improved the actual innovation, but doing so developed a more robust community cooperation. They then realized that the community, if empowered, can do so much for their own preparedness, response, rehabilitation, and recovery.

The TUKLAS journey sees to it that the innovation teams were able to work with a lot of stakeholders- the vulnerable communities, local government units, academe, various government agencies, and the private sectors. There have been realizations especially from the local government units and partner communities on possible adoption of the innovation. Some are even considering on integrating the innovations in their respective disaster risk reduction and management plans.

These experiences should inspire aspiring innovators. They should take to heart that the innovative solution will not materialize if the community is neglected.

LAB SUPPORT, FLEXIBLE POLICIES

It is also noteworthy that the project really explores different ways on being agile to be able to accommodate the innovation culture– the fail-fast-and-learn-often approach.

The TUKLAS Visayas Lab supported the innovation teams on community engagement, programing, monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning (MEAL), finance, procurement, risk analysis, networking and external relations, and sustainability planning, to name a few. The community engagement has been intensified through lab support to innovators with less experience in working with communities. This resulted to high awareness and involvement of communities and facilitated quality feedback to further improve the innovation.   

Worth sharing as well is the modality of funding to innovators. It is the first time for Plan International to venture into such kind of granting modality and it has been humbling to be able to learn from this experience. The Lab revisited and updated its policies to be able to meet the demands of the innovation project in terms of fund releases, reporting, activity implementation.

The opportunity has been opened to Filipinos and TUKLAS has been very grateful for the enormous response of young people, civil society organizations, community-based organizations, entrepreneurs, and academicians, to name a few, to the challenge of our times and proven that with our concerted efforts, we can!

For inquiries, contact our innovation lab

TUKLAS.Visayas@gmail.com