The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Health, Assistance and Neighbourhood Development Support Inc. (HANDS)

Daguma Mountain Forest Restoration Project - forests where native peoples can live

Activity grant

Project Description

50 years ago, the Daguma mountain range on the Philippine island of Mindanao was covered in virgin native forest and was rich in biodiversity. However, these forests have shrunk over the last 30 years due to mass logging for lauan wood and other timbers for export, mining, and large-scale plantations, and the remaining forest is being logged by native peoples who lost their virgin forest lands and being turned into agricultural land. The lack of farming technology and education of these native peoples is resulting in illegal logging and the use of unsustainable cultivation methods, and damage is being caused by soil runoff and landlslides during the rainy season. HANDS is addressing this situation by helping local people to restore forest, teaching farming methods that enable sustainable agriculture on steep slopes, and introducing agroforestry based on mixed planting of species such as Para rubber trees, peanuts, and fruit trees. Specific tasks include forming citizen organizations, implementing and leading skill training sessions, introducing agroforestry principles and techniques, and organizing tours of successful farms. Through this project, HANDS aims to improve earnings for locals and make them self-sufficient through marketable crops, prevent soil runoff, and restore balance to regional ecosystems.

Climate changePreservation of surface soil and forestsPreservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2009 Activity Grants
Grant term
3 years
October 2009 - September 2012
Grant amount
4,218,000 yen
Activity region
South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat Provinces, Mindanao, Philippines
Locals learn how to maintain trees and gather sap at a rubber plantation

Overview of the Organization

Tomiko Yamazaki, Director
Tomiko Yamazaki, Director
Establishment purpose
HANDS aims to work with Mindanao's native peoples, who have had their ancestral lands stolen and the mountains they inhabit ravaged by deforestation, to create socially and economically independent communities that respect their rich culture. At the same time it will raise awareness in Japan about the conflict and poverty that accompanies economic globalization in order to increase interest in the issues facing Mindanao.
Main area of activity
Mindanao, Philippines
2 full-time staff members, 2 part-time staff members, and 185 full members
Annual operating budget
11.32 million yen in 2006, 14.13 million yen in 2007, 9.91 million yen in 2008
Recent activity
The following activities are being carried out together with the native peoples of the mountain regions of Mindanao:
  • (1) Healthcare support: supporting a clinic for native peoples. Purchasing medical supplies for a traveling clinic. Constructing basic water systems for mountain regions. Holding health and hygiene seminars. Fostering medicinal gardens.
  • (2) Forest conservation: encouraging agroforestry on steep slopes. Conserving forests that protect water sources.
  • (3) Educational support: Supporting the school fees of scholarship students from elementary school through to university. Supplementing wages to secure good teachers.
  • (4) Cultivating citizen organizations: supporting the costs of establishing organizations. Encouraging group purchasing of seeds and fertilizer.
  • (5) Fairtrade of traditional crafts: Building a traditional craft studio. Organizing training to pass skills on to the next generation. Raising awareness by holding seminars and markets in Japan.