GFF Philippines Summer Camp

By Michael Fanning, GFF Representative – Philippines

Elementary school summer holidays begin in April and end at the end of May here in The Philippines. That meant GFF would not be able to call around to schools and continue its workshops, mobile libraries and digital tablet training during these two months. Instead, we created some posters and a summer camp plan and called around to some local barangays (villages) to inquire about potential interest. Out of the 6 villages we asked, 5 of them replied that they would like a summer camp held there, which we are holding in local sports halls or classrooms.

Sarah McLaughlinGFF Philippines Summer Camp
Read more

Lighting up Homes in Panipiason, Philippines

By Willyn Carrascal, GFF Representative, Philippines

In October 2018, GFF HELPS Philippines set out a new venture to bring light to those in need in the form of solar power in Madalag, a predominantly rural municipality in Aklan, Philippines. This area was chosen for the trial of the solar project after a long and careful consideration of necessity, accessibility and safety.

Access to electricity is a basic need in any household and the lack of it may affect an individual’s life in different ways. Families with no electricity will have shorter productivity as they heavily rely on sunlight during the day to do housework. At night, they would typically use kerosene in a glass bottle as light. This may be harmful to their health and a huge fire hazard, especially to houses made of bamboo and nipa (palm leaves). Students also find it difficult to do their homework without adequate lighting. By providing this necessity, we would not only help eliminate these problems but also create a safer place and turn a house into a home.

Sarah McLaughlinLighting up Homes in Panipiason, Philippines
Read more

Digital Learning Project – Philippines

By Willyn Carrascal, GFF Representative, Philippines

As society evolves with its 21st century technological advancement, children’s way of learning is changing. Therefore, schools and teachers must adapt their pedagogy into 21st century learning. Children today have shorter attention span and are more inclined to learn through student-oriented learning with proper teacher-guidance. Based on our observation during our visits in schools in the Banga area, many of them have computers that were never used or already broken due to poor maintenance. School children in Banga do not have access to engaging materials to support their learning. Teachers also expected to do more administrative work whilst ensuring their students are not falling behind, taking their time away from their personal lives. This makes their job more stressful and may lead to teacher burnout.

Sarah McLaughlinDigital Learning Project – Philippines
Read more


GFF HELPS entered the Philippines in 2018 to establish new projects in the Aklan area. We worked alongside a local NGO, the Yolanda Aklan Reconstruction Programme, and learned a great deal about their successful livelihoods programme. Our pioneer Representatives, Michael Fanning and Willyn Carrascal lead the way and initiated our first projects:

Digital Learning

Today there is a widening gap between those with and without access to technology. The amount of information available online nowadays means that every child’s learning could be supplemented with rich and engaging content. As technology grows increasingly more affordable and available, GFF HELPS set out to see whether small rural schools could benefit from simple inexpensive tablets, pre-loaded with effective teaching tools, like the famous Khan Academy, or a range of local apps that can be accessed offline.

Michael and Willyn piloted the idea with four small local schools in the Banga area. They conducted teacher training sessions to ensure teachers understood how to use the technology and shared their expert opinions about how it could be best used in the classroom. Teachers took to the technology well and found maths applications particularly useful to enhance their lessons. Children navigated the apps with ease and engaged well with it.

Digital Learning Pilot Report

In 2019 we will be conducting a broader test of this project before we decide to expand it into other schools.

Household Solar

Those in the most rural parts of Philippines do not have access to the electricity grid. They use kerosene lamps which are harmful and often dangerous, or do not have light at all after sunset. Solar lights are safer and increase the productive hours in a day. GFF HELPS piloted a small roll out of solar units to 40 households in Magdalay, a small community in the hills. They worked closely with the local community leaders to determine who was most in need and how to store and install the lights. This cooperation was integral to the project and we learned a good model for doing this type of work in other similar locations.

Read more about this project here.

Reading Workshops and Mobile Libraries

Another thing they noticed in the small schools they visited was a shortage of reading materials and children did not spend much time learning how to read. They developed a reading workshop and sourced appropriate books that could form a mobile library. The workshops helped the children with their comprehension and the interactive storytelling got them engaged and eager to learn. They children are continuing to exchange books and we hope to expand their selection and find ways to further enhance their reading skills.

"This experience has given me the opportunity to connect with communities in rural areas and allowed me to learn more about my own culture." 

Willyn Carrascal, GFF Representative 2018, Philippines

"I have learned that sharing and giving can be just as rewarding as receiving. There is a big hospitality culture in the Philippines and people will try make you feel at home whenever they can."

Michael Fanning, GFF Representative 2018, Philippines
Emily RobertsonPhilippines
Read more