RYE School Proposal


RYE School Proposal

A joint proposal between CERV Philippines and Meaningful Volunteer.


RYE School

This proposal is to raise funds for the RYE School – a solar powered , Internet enabled school where children pay in the form of community service to attend the school.

The school will also provide family planning seminars; a base for the Meaningful Shop – an Internet based livelihood project and an office for Meaningful Volunteer.

The solar paneling will:

  • Provide power for the school
    The electricity is very unreliable and sometimes is unavailable for weeks at a time during typhoon season.

  • Recharge car batteries.
    Many of the locals are not connected to the electricity grid and use car batteries to power lights and so on.

  • Provide emergency power to the hospital.
    The lack of power at the hospital after Typhoon Frank hit Romblon was a serious hindrance to the well being of the population.
  • Provide accommodation for volunteers.
    The second floor of the RYE School will be used to house volunteers.

We already have the following in place:

  • We are teaching approximately fifty students in computer studies and English from a temporary location. 

  • Four laptop computers have been purchased.
  • Have on-line lesson plans, class lists, student notes, handover notes etc to ensure future volunteers know what they are doing prior to arriving.
  • Have commenced work on our family planning project - Project Lifecycle.
    A 500 person sexual health survey has been completed and we are working closely with the local health care center.

The overall cost for the project is:

Land                          $1,470
Four classroom school $7,000
Green Energy             $5,000
Total                         $13,470

Note: The cost of the school is approximately correct.  We are currently getting detailed building plans and associated costs from an architect.  These will be ready on or about the 22nd of May.

Introduction and Justification

The archipelagic province of Romblon is located in the heart of the Philippines.  It is isolated from the main island of Luzon, severely hampering government services and the people’s economic well-being.  It is the fifth poorest province in an already poor country of 80 provinces.  It also receives very little in terms of private humanitarian efforts (apart from the occasional Peace Corps volunteer) and has only one local NGO that helps maintain several marine sanctuaries.

It was into this environment that Meaningful Volunteer (www.meaningfulvolunteer.org) entered Romblon in 2009.  CERV (www.volunteerphilippines.org) has been placing volunteers since August 2005.

Both Meaningful Volunteer and CERV are non-profit organizations.  Both organizations get fee paying volunteers from around the world to volunteer in our projects.   Volunteers typically stay for two months, though some stay for up to six months.

We have discovered several areas of concern in the placement area.  These include education, sexual health, vocational training, marketable activities and an under-resourced mangrove reforestation program.

We hope that by building the RYE School, we can begin to address these needs.

Specifically, we hope to provide:

  • English and Computer Education.
    We already have purchased four laptop computers for use in the school, and we have world class English resources, including on-line lesson plans.  We have approximately fifty students enrolled in our school.

    This will be the primary use of the RYE School.

  • Education in family planning.
    One of our initiatives on Romblon is Project Lifecycle.  It aims to introduce the SDM (Single Days Method) method of family planning into the existing framework and procedures of health care workers.

    The RYE School will also be used to conduct family planning seminars and train BHWs (Barangay [village] Health Workers) in the use of the SDM Method.

  • Education in livelihood projects.
    The school will also be used as a training facility for livelihood projects. 

    Meaningful Volunteer will expand into others countries (Nepal, Uganda, India and Peru) and will sell all local crafts under the Meaningful Shop banner. 

    The RYE School will be used a training facility for the Meaningful Shop.

  • A district office for Meaningful Volunteer
    Meaningful Volunteer currently operates out of host families homes in Romblon, which is far from ideal.  Having a local office from which to operate will help us to become more efficient.  

  • Accommodation for volunteers.
    The second floor of the RYE School will be used to house volunteers in.

Our Unique Projects

RYE School

The RYE School is part of a larger education initiative spearheaded by Meaningful Volunteer and CERV Philippines.

Many initiatives fail all around the world because the people in the developing communities don’t invest in the initiative.  A classic example is the malaria problem in Africa.  A seemingly easy solution is just to give the people mosquito nets.  What tends to happen though is either the person sells it, or uses it as a fishing net.  In areas where mosquito nets are given away, there is little or no decrease in malaria rates.

If on the other hand - you sell the people a mosquito net – not at market rate, but at a rate where there is a significant investment by the end user – then the person takes ownership of the net are much more likely to use it.  There is a significant decrease in malaria rates when people are sold mosquito nets.

The RYE School follows a similar philosophy.  Each student must invest in their education.  Helping Meaningful Volunteer perform a community clean up – for example – is good enough for one term worth of fees.  Bringing one hundred aluminum cans for recycling is also good enough for one term worth of fees.  Or any one of a number of other environmentally friendly activities. 

Students who invest in their education are more likely to benefit from their education.

The RYE School is already underway in some temporary facilities.  We are teaching approximately fifty students in computer studies and English.  Four laptop computers have been purchased for the computer studies class.

A continuing problem with educational projects around the world is that they place unskilled volunteers with no teaching experience in schools and expect them to perform miracles.  The RYE School addresses this problem by providing on-line lesson plans so that the volunteer can learn as much as they can about what they are teaching before they arrive.   If they are taking over a class from an existing volunteer, then the new volunteer can refer to handover notes and class notes. 

They can even view existing students and see how they are performing academically .

One of the most important indicators to educational success is a full stomach!  The RYE School program provides a small meal at the start of class: Typically a peanut butter sandwich, a small piece of snack food and a sugary drink.  There is an additional drink half way through the two hour lessons.

Many of our staff members have volunteered in diverse areas across the world.  We feel that the quality of education offered in the RYE School is above and beyond anything we’ve seen in other developing countries. 

The Meaningful Shop

The RYE School will also provide a place for training in livelihood projects.

Malcolm Trevena – one of our full-time workers – spent six months in Uganda developing Grassroots Uganda .  Grassroots Uganda teaches ladies how to make jewelery out of recycled poster paper.  There are approximately 100 ladies in the organization and last year it had a turnover of $US 20,000.

We are hoping that the Meaningful Shop will replicate the success of Grassroots Uganda.

Project Lifecycle

Malcolm Trevena worked extensively with women groups in Uganda as well as being very involved with the “Comfort Women”  movement in South Korea.  He volunteered with the movement for about one year and would lead tours to the “House of Sharing” and introduce visitors to the Halmoni (grandmothers).

He also worked for ten years in New Zealand as an IT project manager.

Ingrid Potgieter – another key member of the Project Lifecycle – did her master’s thesis on the overlap between female reproductive rights and human rights.

It is felt that these unique skills will make a great difference in the family planning norms of the island with the introduction of the SDM (Single Days Method) method.

The SDM method was developed by Georgetown University in the United States.   There is extensive information about the technique on the Internet and Georgetown University had published its findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
It involves the lady wearing a color-coded necklace.  On the first day of the ladies menstrual cycle, she moves a small rubber ring to the red bed.  She moves the rubber ring to a new bead every day.  The “white bead” days are considered fertile days.  If she has sex on the “white bead” days, the lady runs a risk of getting pregnant.  If she has sex on the “brown beads”, then she will almost certainly not get pregnant. 

While not as effective as some other methods, it has the following advantages:

  • It is accepted by the Catholic Church
    75% of the islands residents are Roman Catholic.

  • It is 95% effective if used correctly.
    The lady must pass some screening questions to find out if she is suitable for the method.  She must have a regular cycle between 26 and 32 days, for example.
  • It is very cheap.
    Each necklace has a lifespan of about two years.  We will be charging ladies about 25 pesos (~$US0.50) for the product.  We pay the suppliers 80 pesos for each necklace.

  • There are no side effects

We feel that our primary roles in this project are project management and marketing. 

Project Management
Filipinos are the best people to talk to Filipinos about family planning and sexual health issues.  The people doing the training of local health care volunteers – for example – are Filipinos.  The people talking directly to the end users will be Filipinos.  Our role will be project coordination and documentation of what we learn.

This project involves a lot of marketing, including not only to the end user, but also to key stakeholders including the Catholic Church and the local heath care providers.

Unique Skills Summary

We have identified the above needs from our own observations as well consultations with the stakeholders (the people, local government and organizations of Romblon).  People are enthusiastic about the ideas about opening new markets for their goods and different career paths they might take.

Problems Addressed

We will be addressing the following problems in the community.


Public education in the Philippines is an institute in crisis.  Underpaid teachers work in dilapidated schools with limited resources to hungry students.  Urban schools suffer from over-crowding – sometimes up to 90 students per classrooms – while rural schools suffer from isolation and even fewer resources.  A rough calculation shows that each teacher gets approximately one-half of a centimeter of chalk per class from the government.  They fund this shortfall from their own pocket.  Outdated textbooks and creaky chairs are often shared in class.

Meaningful Volunteer is bringing quality education to the students in the Philippines.  We provide world class English educational resources.  The education will be provided to the following groups.

  • Out of School Youth.
    For a whole variety of reasons, many of the youth do not go to school. 
  • In School Youth.
    Many of the students just are not flourishing in the public school system.  The RYE School will be used to supplement their education and provide them with an extra boost.
  • Adults.
    Many adults are keen to improve their English and learn about computers.
  • Anyone else who wants to learn


The island of Tablas – upon which we are based – once had a thriving marble-based economy.  People soon discovered cheaper alternatives that were just as beautiful and sturdy as the Romblomanon Marble and the industry promptly collapsed.   This was a double blow as the people were now trapped on a hard, rock-based island that was great for marble, but terrible for growing food.

There are serious malnutrition issues on Tablas.  There are numerous people with rust-colored streaks in their hair – a sign of a diet lacking iron.

While the Meaningful Volunteer programs do no tackle these issues directly, we are making some attempt by providing each student with a small meal.  This is typically a peanut butter sandwich, a small snack and a sugary drink.  An additional drink is provided half way through the two hour classes.

The extra energy also helps the student focus for the rest of the class.


Unemployment is very high on Tablas.  The males who are in work tend to be either fisherman or farmers while the females tend to be housewives.

Meaningful Volunteer is keen to provide the students of the RYE School vocational options once they complete their studies.
Both ISP (Internet Service Providers) and Call Centers are going through a boom in Metro Manila.  Meaningful Volunteer will be approaching these industries in June/July of 2009 and trying to strike a deal with them.  We’ll provide them with fluent speakers of English who are computer literate if they help to sponsor our school financially.  Meaningful Volunteer wins: We get money to support our projects.  The companies win: They get well trained staff.  And the students win: They (hopefully!) get a job at the end of their studies.


It almost goes without saying: The residents of the island lack money.  Meaningful Volunteer will begin to address this through livelihood projects.  We will look to sell existing crafts as well as introducing new techniques. 

Malcolm Trevena – one of our staff members – set up Grassroots Ugandawhile he was in Africa.  Grassroots Uganda converts recycled poster paper into beautiful jewelry.  Grassroots Uganda had a turnover of $US 20,000 last year.
It is hoped that the success of Grassroots Uganda will be replicated in the Philippines (and other locations) via a new on-line shop called the Meaningful Shop.

The RYE School itself produces plenty of waste paper: Old photocopied books, tests, activities and so on.  In keeping with the environmental friendly nature of the school, this waste paper will be converted into paper jewelry. 

Tablas Island is very isolated.  It is but one of its many serious problems.  Sending items from the island is an expensive exercise.  To overcome this we will add a customization option for the crafts.  The name of your family on a paper bead placemat is a good example.  This will increase the price density of the item (dollars per kilogram) and this will go some way to offsetting our transport costs.


The Romblon Islands are gorgeous and we want to help keep it that way.   The RYE School will be solar powered – or possible hydro powered - and use low power laptops.  The excess power that is generated will be used to charge car batteries that households who are off the power grid can use to power light fittings and so on.

Waste paper from the school will be converted into paper jewelry (see above).

Rainwater will be collected from the schools guttering and used as a clean source of drinking water.

And any kids that wish to attend the school must participate in environmentally friendly activities such as community cleanups and collecting recyclable goods.

Family Size

We want to work hard at reducing the average family size on Tablas.  Click here for more information about how Project Lifecycle will accomplish this.  A small family size affects each of the areas list above.  Having fewer children means:

  • School becomes much more affordable

  • More nutritious meals can be served as there are less mouths to feed
  • A well fed and educated child is much more likely to find employment when they are older

  • More money to spend on essential items

  • A smaller environmental impact.  
    The world’s resources remain the same, but the population continues to grow.  The population growth needs to be stemmed and the most obvious way to do this is to have fewer children.

Measurements of Success

We have high hopes and dreams for the RYE School.  We want to make a real and meaningful difference to the community.  We also want to know that we are making a difference. 

We are obviously making at tangible difference with our computer studies program.  Many of the kids have never even touched a computer, so any skills we can give them is advantageous.  Just the ability to type opens up many doors.

Measuring the success of our English program is harder. 

The first thing we did on the island was to conduct control group testing.  We tested the spoken, listening and reading English abilities of approximately 150 people.  The same test is also given to any person who takes part in our English program.  After about six months or so, we will give a similar test to the same groups of people. If the students in our programs are not doing significantly better than those in the control group, then we are doing something wrong and something needs to change.

The gains to be made from Project Lifecycle are very much long term.  Less babies now means better education and nutrition and a host of other factors for your existing children, both now and in the future.  Lower family sizes are a key factor in poverty reduction.

With this in mind, we conducted surveys that measured several key sexual health factors such as family size and contraceptive prevalence.   The surveys were translated to the local dialect and were given by local BHWs (Barangay [village] Health Workers).  Approximately 500 women were surveyed across five villages.

This survey can be used to compare the before and after affects of the project.

Activities and Measurable Outcomes

Build the RYE School

One of our main activities is to build the RYE School.  The RYE School will have four sixteen student capacity classrooms.  We have chosen to keep the classroom size small as we feel that quality is more important that quantity.

Each classroom will be equipped with chairs, desks, a blackboard and chalk.  Ideally, we would like a computer and projector in each classroom to help facilitate the learning process. 

The RYE School will either be powered by solar cells on the roof, or via a picohydro system.  The power outage will be in the range of one to five kilowatts.  About half-a-kilowatt will be used to power the school, and the rest will be used by the community in the form of rechargeable care batteries.  Locals who are off the grid will use the batteries to power household lights, fans and so on.

The RYE School will be built with a sloped roof.  This will serve two purposes:

  1. If the solar powered option is used, then the roof will be set at an optimal angle to collect the most sunshine.

  2. Rainwater will be collected via the guttering on the sloped roof and stored in a large plastic drum for use drinking water.

A large amount of paper will be used by the school for things like activity books, student books, activity sheets, in-classroom activities and so on.  All of this paper will be collected and converted into paper jewelry.  

Measurable Outcomes

  • The RYE school

  • Four sixteen student capacity classrooms equipped with chairs, blackboards etc

  • 1-5kw of power into the community

  • Recycled water
  • Recycled paper (for use in craft projects)

Educate the Local Community

The RYE School will provide a place for classes in both English and computer studies.

Our pilot summer programs have approximately fifty students.  We are using temporary facilities.

Our English programs use world class teaching resources that include many fun in-classroom activities.

We have already purchased four laptop computers for classroom use.

Sexual health and education are quite poor on the island of Tablas.  We plan to run a course called “My Changing Body” to many school aged children.  We feel that if the students know the facts, then they are less likely to get themselves into trouble.

We will also use the school to train local BHWs (Barangay [village] Health Workers) in the use of the SDM (Standard Days Method) as part of our Project Lifecycle initiative.

Measurable Outcomes

  • Approx. 64 English students

  • Approx. 64 Computer Studies students

  • Approx. 50 public health workers trained in the use of SDM

  • Children will have an increased awareness of their changing bodies

Train Ten Ladies in Craft Making

We will train tell ladies in craft making as part of our Meaningful Shop initiative.

We will initially train them in the art of making paper beads from recycled paper.  The paper will be the waste paper from the RYE School education initiative.  This is the same technique that Malcolm Trevena – head of Meaningful Volunteer – successfully introduced in Uganda.

The local crafts on Tablas are limited to baskets and woven mats, both of which are too bulky to sell via the Internet.  We will be visiting the local tourist island of Boracay to source as many lightweight craft items as we can find and reproduce them on the island.

One of the lessons learnt in Uganda with the Grassroots Uganda project is the dangers of starting with too many ladies.  Uganda started with one hundred ladies and it took a long time to get each lady a decent income.    With the Meaningful Shop initiative, we will start with ten ladies only.  Once each lady is earning 100 pesos a day (~ $US 2), we will introduce ten more ladies.  Once they are earning 100 pesos a day, we will add ten more, and so on.  This will enable us to manage our expansion and ensure each lady has a decent income .

Measurable Outcomes

  • Ten trained ladies

  • An income of 100 pesos (~ $US 2) a day per lady

  • Various craft items

Establish an Online Presence

All of our projects already have an on-line presence via the MeaningfulVolunteer.org  site.  The site is constantly updated with news stories about each project as well as containing detailed information about each student’s performance in the RYE School.  

The Meaningful Shop adds a new dimension buy allowing an on-line market for local crafts as well sponsorship opportunities for the kids. 

Every craft will be linked to a story about the lady who made it so as to add a personal twist.

Every child will be linked to the Meaningful Volunteer site so that:

  • Potential sponsors can see the student’s academic performance

  • Potential sponsors can learn about the student via biographical information.

  • Provide a motivational tool for the students
    “Look, little Johnny has good grades and he got sponsored.  Perhaps you should study harder?”

One of the problems the people face in the areas we are targeting is that they are part of an isolated community in an isolated province that is part of isolated group of islands in the Philippines, which is itself isolated from many markets due to high transport costs.

It is our hope that the Meaningful Shop will help to decrease this isolation.

To offset the already high transport costs, we plan to create customized crafts.  We could construct a wall hanging with your family name on it, or coasters with the company logo on it.  This will increase the cost of the item – as people are prepared to pay more for customized craft – and go some way to offsetting the high transport costs.

Measurable Outcomes

  • Locally made craft available on-line

  • Worldwide markets

Introduce the SDM Method

The family size on Tablas is just too large.  We plan to address this by supplementing the existing contraception norms with the SDM method.

We are launching our project across five barangays (villages): Sogud, Long Beach, Cabolutan, Poblacian and Cawayan.  The combined population of this barangays is about 8,000.  There are approximately 500 couples of reproductive age.  Similar projects around the world show an initial acceptance rate of between two and fourteen percent.  So, if we are successful in our efforts, we can expect to distribute up to seventy necklaces.

We have almost completed our sexual health survey on the island.  Approximately 500 people have been surveyed.  This information will allow us to better understand the population and how to best market the SDM method.

Measurable Outcomes

  • Seventy couples using the SDM method
  • A 500 person sexual health survey

Organization Summary


The Center for Education, Research and Volunteering Philippines (CERV-Philippines) is a Non-Government Organization.  It seeks to help Filipino communities better their quality of life by harnessing the goodwill of the peoples of the world through an international volunteer program.

CERV is based in Quezon City and has placement areas both in the marginalized communities of the capital Metro Manila and Romblon, one of the Philippines’ poorest provinces.

CERV promotes international volunteerism to those interested in working in the fields of health, education and environment.

Mission Statement
To work with communities and institutions to help empower them and to enhance the people’s quality of life.

Meaningful Volunteer

Meaningful Volunteer was founded in 2008 by Malcolm Trevena of Auckland, New Zealand. Malcolm graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1995 before embarking on a successful ten year successful career in information technology.
Malcolm became disillusioned with the corporate world, resigned from his job and began a life of activism.

Malcolm volunteered as a teacher both in the Philippines for seven months and on the Buduburum Refugee Camp in Ghana for two months. He spent six months in Uganda working together with various women groups to form GrassRootsUganda.com – an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) dedicated to the empowerment of impoverished African women.

Like the corporate world, Malcolm soon became disillusioned with volunteerism. While he had the time of his life in the Philippines as a teacher, he began to question whether he was truly having a meaningful impact.  All he did in the Philippines was replacing a teacher in the classroom.  Was this really helping?

This feeling began to grow at the Buduburum Refugee Camp where he saw well meaning volunteers engaged in meaningless activities.  A young American lady who was training to be a teacher merely observed classes and did the odd bit of marking.  Malcolm felt we could surely do better than this.

Things came to a head when Malcolm visited an isolated village in Uganda with a local NGO.  He spent a day teaching a group of lovely old ladies their A B Cs.  A day’s worth of teaching was a waste of everybody’s time.  He may as well have not been there.

It was during this time that Malcolm developed his ideas about what meaningful volunteerism actually was.  He came up with his Meaningful Test and finally did something meaningful with his time when he founded GrassRootsUganda.com

Malcolm wanted to share his vision about how a volunteer can have a meaningful impact on their community and not just be “volunteer tourists”.

He formed Meaningful Volunteer to give volunteers that chance. 

Mission Statement

Every project that Meaningful Volunteer undertakes must be meaningful.  What is “meaningful”?  It is anything that passes the Meaningful Test.

Accurate records must be kept to ensure that a project continues to be meaningful.

Meaningful Volunteer is first and foremost an organization that enables volunteers to have a meaningful impact on developing communities.  It is not a charity and will not be run as such.

Meaningful Volunteer will be run like a for-profit business.  However, any profits that Meaningful Volunteer does make will be reinvested back into the communities it is trying to help in the forms of educational supplies, medical supplies and so on.

Meaningful Volunteer is 100% non-profit.
Meaningful Volunteer finances will be 100% transparent.  All financial statements and a breakdown of volunteer fees will be available on-line.

Local Investment
Meaningful Volunteer believes that people in developing countries are an untapped goldmine of talent!  As a result, Meaningful Volunteer will only employ local staff and pay them 200% of market rate.

Local folk must also invest in some way to the projects they are participants in.  Nothing in Meaningful Volunteer is free!  An investment in a project means a project is much more likely to succeed.

Sustainable Solutions
Any income generating projects that Meaningful Volunteer engages in must be self-sustaining.  Meaningful Volunteer may provide some start-up capital, but the project must self-sustain without additional financial support.

All projects must submit budgets and a business plan as a minimum.

Corruption is a large problem in developing communities.   Meaningful Volunteer has a policy of:

No corruption means no corruption no corruption.

We will not deal with any corrupt organization and any staff member found to be accepting bribes will be summarily dismissed.

Key Personnel

Malcolm Trevena – Project Lead
Malcolm is the founder of Meaningful Volunteer.

Malcolm’s role is to ensure that the project is run smoothly.  He produced this document and will provide project management support.

Malcolm worked for ten years in the I.T. field as a project manager, chief designer and coordinator for a medium sized I.T. firm.  He has since seen the light and devoted himself to volunteering.  He has spent seven months volunteering in the Philippines, two months in Ghana and six months in Uganda.  His proudest achievement during this time was the establishment of www.grassrootsuganda.com, which is a craft group in Uganda providing much needed funds for about one hundred Ugandan women.

Malcolm also volunteered with the “Comfort Women” movement during his time in South Korea.  He organized many activities and often led tours through the House of Sharing.

Raymund B. Villanueva – Co-Project Lead
Raymund is CERV’s co-founder and its operating and financial officer.  Previously, he was a national student and later national teacher leader.  He also worked in a human rights office. 

He is a broadcaster, writer, documentary film producer, and a published poet.  He was a fellow of the Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University, sponsored by the Konrad Adanauer Stiftung of Germany.
Eden C. Navia – Volunteer Coordinator
Eden has been working with CERV since its inception as volunteer placement officer. 

She was a student organizer and agrarian reform worker.  She is a loving mother to eight-year old Andrea Denise.
Eden will be working on the ground in Romblon ensuring that the right materials are in the right place at the right time.

Edna “Pom”Villanueva – Administration Support
Pom is CERV’s co-founder and Administrative and Finance Officer.  
She has worked previously as a university journalist, student organizer and for the Philippines’ biggest women’s organization. Pom is also a published short story writer
Pom will be providing general administrative support for the project.
Vincent Embile – Construction
Vincent is both CERV’s and Meaningful Volunteer’s administrative staff member from the province of Ilo Ilo.

He took on various jobs to support his parents, siblings and their families before becoming the organization’s first local volunteer. His zeal in assisting international volunteers led to his formalization as a staff member. Vince is excellent at Karaoke and looking after Andrea when Eden is away.
International Volunteers
CERV is in the fortunate position of being supplied with international volunteers through the GVN organization (www.volunteer.org.nz). 

These volunteers typically stay for one or two months.

Both our Environmental and School Building and Maintenance volunteers will be involved with this project.
Meaningful Volunteer also gathers many volunteers from around the globe to join these projects

Key Accomplishments


  • Enhanced, repaired and built school buildings in Iloilo, Romblon and Quezon City to help schoolchildren and teachers achieve a higher quality of education. In so doing, the volunteers contributed in creating a sense of pride in the community and ownership of the school
  • Built toilets in Managuit, Dumangas (Iloilo) and in Logbon Island, Romblon [2006]
  • Built 8 water pumps for Tabucan, Bolilao, Bantud Fabrica (2), Nanding Lopez, Maquina (2), Balud in Dumangas (Iloilo) to give residents clean and drinkable water [September 2005-April 2006]
  • Repaired a school roof at the Ermita Elementary School in Dumangas, Iloilo [2006]
  • Built 2 water tanks to catch rainwater and store drinking water in Cobrador Island, Romblon
  • Planted 10,000 mangroves on the coastal areas of Dumangas and help increase fish stocks
  • Built huts for the Managuit and Tabucan Day Care Centers in Dumangas
  • Donated a school bus to Sapao, Dumangas to transport children to and from school and encourage higher school attendance among students
  • Built play areas in schools and day care centers
  • Repaired a faculty room at Quirino High School in Quezon City to improve the teachers’ working atmosphere
  • Donated sums and medical supplies to different clinic and hospitals in Iloilo and Metro Manila and donated books and educational equipment in Quezon City, Iloilo and Romblon
  • We have donated hundreds of books to schools in Quezon City and Pasig City in Metropolitan Manila, in typhoon-ravaged Iriga City in Camarines Sur province, in Bislig City in Surigao del Sur Province, and in San Agustin, Romblon Province.
  • Donated hundreds of school supplies (crayons, school bags, pencils, paper, educational materials) to the same areas.
  • Donated medicines and medical supplies to San Agustin District Hospital and Municipal Health Centers
  • Conducted medical missions in Nasugbu, Batangas Province; Antipolo City in Rizal Province; City of Manila and Quezon City in Metropolitan Manila
  • Established its own mangrove nursery and planted thousands of mangrove seedlings in San Agustin, Romblon.
  • And spent hundreds of man hours teaching, dispensing health care and working on environmental projects.

In San Agustin, Romblon, our current placement area, we have the following achievements in the local schools:

  • Long Beach Elementary School
    Constructed fences, repaired and painted roofs of three buildings, rehabilitated one classroom, enhanced the principal's office, and painted school cabinets.
  • Long Beach National High School
    Built a math center building, repaired chairs and tables.
  • Long Beach Day Care Center
    Painted a classroom and educational materials
  • Carmen Elementary School
    Made tables and chairs and painted a fence.
  • Carmen Day Care Center
    Repaired the roof painted classrooms and other education materials.
  • Cawayan Elementary School
    Repaired school roof and painted the school building.
  • Cabolutan Elementary School
    Repaired fence, painted roof

Contact Details

Center for Volunteerism in the Philippines (CERV)

83 Adrian Street, North Fairview Park Subdivision
Fairview, 1121 Quezon City
mobile: +63 291 8938 7030
telefax: +63 2796 3787

Meaningful Volunteer

83 Adrian Street, North Fairview Park Subdivision
Fairview, 1121 Quezon City
mobile: +63 090 8726 7992
telefax: +63 2796 3787


Powering the RYE School

We are looking to be as environmentally friendly as we possibly can with our RYE School.  We will turn the waste paper into paper jewelry products and collect all the rainwater for use as drinking water, for example.  We see using environmentally friendly power as an essential part of our environmental initiatives.  At this stage, we are looking at two different sources of green power: picohydro and solar.

Both of these systems have the following benefits:

  • Almost no environmental impact
  • Provide consistent power through the numerous power outages on the island
  • Provide emergency power (in the form of rechargeable car batteries) to the hospital in times of crisis
  • Provide locals not on the power grid with a facility to recharge car batteries that can power household lights and other simple appliances
  • Attract future volunteers.
    An essential part of our business model is attracting fee-paying volunteers.  We think that a solar/hydro powered school where students pay their fees in the form of garbage is just cool and is likely to attract future volunteers
  • Raise awareness of green energy in the local community

Solar Power

A solar powered school has the advantage of being completely self-contained.  No other infrastructure is required other than on the school itself.  The location of the school is not ideal as

  • For maximum operation, the school needs to face in a southerly direction.  The school approximately faces a southerly direction, but is far from optimal.
  • A large mountain is directly behind the school. 
    About one hour in the morning and two hours of sunlight in the evening are lost due to the mountains.

The quotes we have received for the solar paneling and infrastructure have been quite high – some up to $10,000!  We are hoping that by scaling down the system we can bring this down to $5,000.

We hope to save in the area of days of redundancy. Days of redundancy are the number of days a solar system can function without power.  Days of redundancy are increased by added more batteries to the system.

As a cost cutting measure, we want to minimize these days.  If we are without power for one day, it will be annoying, but not the end of the world. 


A Picohydro system takes water from a stream and places in a storage pen.  The water from the pen is then fed into a pipe which runs directly down a mountain into a generator.  Once the water has powered the generator, it is fed back into the stream.  Up to 5kw can be generated using this method.

The picohydro method has the advantage of always being on. Once setup, it continues to output 5kw of water, twenty-four hours a day.  It has the disadvantage of requiring a large infrastructure to get the power from the stream to where you need it.

Due to its mountainous areas, there are several streams around the Romblon area that would be suitable for a picohydro system.  We will conduct some survey work to determine the best location.

We still need to fix the budget, but we estimate that it will cost about $US5,000.

Proposed Site

The cost of the site is 55,000 pesos (~$US 1,145).  The site is 160 m2.  At present, the site is being used to grow a local vegetable crop.

The site is great for growing vegetables due to its sunken and damp nature.  It is not so good for building a school on.  Some work needs to be done to stabilize the foundation.  We have budgeted 10,000 pesos (~$US 208) for this. 
10% of the land value is payable as tax. 

This brings the total cost of the site to 70,500 pesos (~$US 1469).