The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Health Assistance and Neighbourhood Development Support Inc. (HANDS)

Supporting environmentally-friendly businesses that provide sustainably increased revenues for Tasiman

Activity grant

Project Description

The indigenous village of Tasiman in the mountains of the Philippine's southernmost island of Mindanao had its wood resources devastated through destructive logging by developers in the 1960s. This, followed by slash and burn agriculture by colonists and the indigenous T'boli and Ubo tribes as well as the monocultural plantation of corn on mountain slopes has resulted in poverty and environmental problems such as soil erosion and the destruction of ecosystems. This project aims to solve these issues by supporting the planting of native plants on 10ha of common land per year as well as the cultivation of tree crops such as rubber and fruit-bearing trees by 20 households on a total of 20ha. Contour farming methods will be used, thus conserving the environment while improving the revenue of local residents in a sustainable manner.

Ecosystems and the Symbiotic Society
Grant year
FY2014 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
October 2014 - September 2017
Grant amount
3,192,000 yen
Activity region
Tasiman Barangay, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines
Children at a local indigenous school that teaches coexistence with the forest

Overview of the Organization

Tomiko Yamazaki, President
Tomiko Yamazaki, President
Establishment purpose
A policy of settlement started during the American colonial period has resulted in destructive deforestation and mining, agricultural profiteering, and other actions since the 1960s, leaving the indigenous people of Mindanao in a perilous social and economic situation. HANDS was established with the aim of meeting with mountain tribes such as the B'laan, who are trying to protect their tribal identity and make their ancestral lands economically and socially independent, and assessing their most urgent needs, starting with medical assistance, and supporting efforts towards this independence through a variety of businesses.
Main areas of activity
Four provinces and two cities in southern Mindanao, Philippines (South Cobato Province, Sarangani Province, Sultan Kudarat Province, Davao Del Sul Province, General Santos City, and Cotabato City)
3 part-time staff members, 52 full members
Annual operating budget
9.38 million yen in 2012, 15.3 million yen in 2013, 14.5 million yen in 2014
Collaborating organization
Partner For First Peoples Foundation, Inc. (PFP)
Recent activities
Carrying out the following activities at indigenous mountain villages and coastal muslim villages:
  • Medical and health-related activities (mobile clinics, implementing basic water infrastrucutre, etc.)
  • Educational activities (supporting operation of schools, scholarships, support for school meals, etc.)
  • Rural development (cultivating communal organizations, etc.)
  • Environmental conservation (promoting sustainable forestry and agriculture)
  • Supporting women's independence (Helping to increase revenue earned by women using traditional skills)
  • Domestic publicity and awareness raising activities (newsletters, website, regular educational meetings, participation in various events, etc.)