The Davao Region, one of the clusters of Philippine provinces in southeastern Mindanao, is known for its rich marine, agricultural, and mineral resources, and for being home to diverse cultures and peoples. Its resource-filled waters and lands are primary sources of livelihood and economic development in the region. However, these have also become factors for conflicts linked to socio-economic, cultural, and political structures affecting Indigenous Peoples and their ancestral domains.
With a focus on Islamized Indigenous communities in the municipality of Pantukan in Davao de Oro and the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte, forumZFD works together with local partner organizations to promote the transformation of local conflicts through nonviolent means. The emphasis of our engagement is on complementing the communities’ existing and/or traditional conflict resolution mechanisms with nonviolent conflict transformation methods such as conflict analysis, dialogue, and mediation. Through various contextualized trainings, workshops and mentoring sessions, developed together with the partner organizations, we hope to increase their understanding of key conflicts affecting their localities, and support them to develop the skills needed to apply nonviolent conflict transformation in their local contexts. We also accompany our local partners in their development as an organization, so that they are able to sustainably implement actions that respond to these conflicts.
We consider the meaningful participation of not only traditional and religious leaders, but also the women and youth to be crucial to conflict transformation efforts. Hence, we also integrate discussions related to the role of gender dynamics and youth in the transformation of their local conflicts.
forumZFD hopes that through this inclusive and partner-oriented approach, Islamized Indigenous communities in the Davao region will be more proactive in identifying and understanding local issues and their potential solutions. It is envisioned, moreover, that partners become better equipped and empowered to develop and implement strategies that address local conflicts related to resources, governance, and even inter- and intra-group divisions.