"With the active community members and supportive local stakeholders working together to sustain culturally relevant education, Cartwheel remains hopeful in the thriving of Higaonon culture in Sinakungan."
“It takes an entire village to raise a child.” And then a government office to institutionalize it.
Cartwheel Foundation, Inc. (Cartwheel PH) has been working with the Higaonon community of Sinakungan, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur since 2009. Cartwheel PH’s local implementing partner, the Indigenous Peoples’ Apostolate (IPA) of the Diocese of Butuan has been with the organization for every step of the way. Cartwheel PH is proud to fully turn over the Early Childhood and Elementary Education (ECEE) Program to the community and the local district’s Department of Education (DepEd).
Written in Binukid, the native tongue of the community, the Higaonon curriculum underwent a rigorous, yet fulfilling process.
Cartwheel PH turned over the said ECEE Higaonon curriculum and full program implementation to local stakeholders on April 28, 2017 at the IPA Office in Butuan City. Cartwheel PH is grateful to all attendees: Director Orlando F. Gamil (DepEd School Governance Operation Division Chief), Lorne P. Gayon (DepEd Curriculum Implementation Division Chief), Jennifer S. Escobido (DepEd Political Affairs Assistant from the provincial district), Bishop Juan de Dios M. Pueblos and Reverend Fr. Carlito Clase (representatives of the IPA), Datu Aquilino Lidanhug (Higaonon tribal leader and Tribal Education Council representative), teachers of Democrito O. Plaza Indigenous Peoples (DOP IP) Sinakungan Elementary School, Higaonon parent-representatives, and Cartwheel PH’s Young Indigenous Peoples Leaders Program college grantees from Sinakungan.
Sustainability for the Early Childhood Education Program
For every community engagement, Cartwheel PH envisions its programs to be owned and run independently by proactive members of the community. The Higaonon of Sinakungan continually remain in active pursuit of their young learners’ education—teachers ensure quality in the school’s day-to-day operations, while parents and other community members regularly aid in activities like structural maintenance, supplementary feeding, and regular cultural gatherings.
For program turnover, Cartwheel PH coordinated with DepEd’s Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPSEO) in Metro Manila, which connected the organization to the community’s district branch with recommendation from DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction, Dina Ocampo. With the approval and the turning over of the program to the Department of Education, the government institution sees the importance of keeping indigenous knowledge, skills and practices of the Higaonon integrated into all subject matter.
With the active community members and supportive local stakeholders working together to sustain culturally relevant education, Cartwheel PH remains hopeful in the thriving of Higaonon culture in Sinakungan.
Cartwheel PH would like to thank Ranielle Evangelista for this article.