A CEBUANA social worker and indigenous peoples (IPs) rights advocate and her nongovernment organization were recognized during the Indigenous Peoples Awards 2023 in Rome, Italy.
Estrella Catarata, executive director of Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (Sibat), received the award from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) last Feb. 9.
Ifad is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
Catarata, 51, a native of Balamban, Cebu, told SunStar Cebu the award is significant to marginalized sectors, especially the IPs.
She said their project is not just about providing electricity in far-flung communities, but also about providing opportunities to the underprivileged.
Sibat’s Community-Based Renewable Energy Systems (CBRES) program won the Best Performing Non-Ifad-Funded Project award.
There are 15 micro-hydro power systems under the CBRES program that operate 24/7, or last eight to 12 hours every day, mostly in the Cordillera region.
Catarata said IPs are adapting and building resilience to climate change through the project, while also conserving the region’s water sources.
She said electricity has finally reached homes, schools and health care facilities throughout the region.
She said rural businesses, such as rice and corn mills, use clean energy to help build livelihoods and food security while also being environmentally friendly.
Meanwhile, Catarata hopes the recognition will eradicate the culture of red-tagging and maligning community development workers in the country.