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Kwentong Pinnovation

Pinnovation Academy; Institutionalizing Filipino (Pinoy) Innovations concluded its Phase 1 last March 2023. It highlighted lessons through the journey of Pinoy innovators in implementing a community-led DRR and CCA innovative solutions.  

The Pinnovation Academy Project facilitated the process of scanning, selection, which resulted to the implementation of fifteen (15) local innovations on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in their areas.  The project also supported additional three (3) innovations particularly through mentoring activities.  Innovative solutions sought to tackle concerns on flooding, landslides, typhoons, drought, mental health, WASH, DRR education, emergency response, agricultural sustainability, livelihood resiliency, forest and coastal management, transportation, and food security.  


Innovation projects are located across the Philippines (see Fig. 1).  The innovations are characterized with challenging geographical locations, diverse cultural landscape, different hazards and risk assessments contexts, varying socio-political dynamics and differing organizational capacities.

Pinoy innovators experienced undertaking the process of innovation: ideation, prototyping, testing, pivoting, evaluation and monitoring.  Ideation came in different forms - some innovations were conceptualized by the People’s Organization (POs) and community innovators themselves; some were adopted as existing solutions in other areas but were developed to ensure contextualization while others were revived local indigenous knowledge and practices leading to its enhancements.  The rest were developed through collaborations between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and People’s Organizations (POs).

Pinnovation Academy established systems and mechanisms to strengthen the capacity of community innovators in innovation development.    Prototypes were developed and tested with mentors and subject matter experts who willingly shared their knowledge and experiences.  Test case designs were formulated that guided the testing process on how the prototypes sufficiently met the objectives set for the innovation.  Moreover, pivots were undertaken to find the most appropriate design/prototype based on objectives, contexts and needs.  These pivots are testimonies to the seriousness of the innovating teams with their patience, perseverance and cohesiveness. 

Support to innovations came in different forms.  Mentors and experts provided technical support on how the innovations will be prototyped and tested.  Government and private individuals supported the innovations even in the early stage of implementation through the use of lands, additional funding, logistical and material support.  Policy advocacy is also promising.  Local Government Units are now working for policies aimed at sustaining the innovation and/or amplifying its impact.    Government and private sector commitments are coming in. 

Communications and Knowledge Management Products go hand in hand in sharing the knowledge, learnings and lessons of the project.  Online and offline sharing of materials among the innovators were done through direct engagements/discussions, online platforms – website, social media, tri-media.   In addition, the innovators were invited in local, regional, national and international events that provided more opportunities for advocacy, networking, learning and sharing.   Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, Learning and Sharing (MEALS) were done through administration of MEALS tools, clustered hub learnings, progress reviews and a national learning event.

Some innovations were ‘tested’ in recent disasters.  The merged fishing gear was able to withstand Typhoon Paeng in December 2022.  The innovation was the only fishing gear that remained standing in the middle of the sea with only minor damages.  During this same typhoon, the Indigenous healing center responded to a flood-affected community in Barangay Kuya, South Upi, Maguindanao located 30km away from the innovation. The innovators distributed 50 pieces each of herbal soap, ointment and liniment.   Still in the last quarter of 2022, prolonged heavy rains in the area of the Bamboo dike resulted to incidents of flooding and piling up of debris which the innovation was able to hold to protect the nearby farms and the community.  

Another event was the community resistance against the entry of a mining company to the communal forest of the Tigwahanon tribe in March-May 2023.  The forest guards were able to monitor and write a report.  This community effort has successfully drove away the mining company.

Lastly, for the COVID-19 pandemic, the healing garden with psychosocial support, although suffered some damage due to series of heavy rains and flooding, helped in maintaining the mental health of children, youth and even the parents in the community.   The innovation helped in ensuring child protection by providing a safe space for them. 

Strengthening community leadership is also a process.  Alongside, the mentoring for the technical aspects of the innovations, Pinnovation Academy worked hard to strengthen organizational capacities and DRR, CCA awareness of the partner PO and communities.   Capacity development activities that targeted all innovators were conducted, alongside with separate capacity development sessions per innovator.  


Community-led innovation development is a process of finding the balance between the technicalities of the innovation process and the requisites for community empowerment.  Mastering both of these aspects require more time, sufficient resources, local counterparts, deepening reflections, adaptable applications and grasp for learnings.  Pinnovation Academy successfully facilitated this process, despite the challenges.  Mindful that realizing this goal will be continuing; as this is an Academy, an innovation platform that will persist even after the project. 

Pinnovation Academy’s experience with its partner communities, people’s organizations on the ground, and anchor civil society organizations are worth reflecting on and learning from. There is so much to look into, go deep dive and learn lessons.  The experience is worth sharing with similar endeavors in grantmaking.  It is very instructive for donor partners to appreciate the community’s ingenuity and generate knowledge on what works and what does not. 

Kwentong Pinnovation (The Pinnovation Story) moves on to Pinnovation 2.0 to further strengthen the positive results of the project’s Phase 1.  Pinnovation Academy 2.0 looks forward to enhanced and more appropriate systems and mechanisms; wider advocacy support through local LGU piloting, national government mainstreaming and collaborations with the private sector; deeper community leadership through organizational consolidation and skills development.  There will be vast opportunities for learning and sharing as innovations continue to evolve.  The facilitation of innovation development remains a big task for Pinnovation 2.0.  In partnership with Pinoy community innovators, the ingenuity and creativeness in finding local solution to disaster risks will remain as an effective strategy in building resilient communities

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