By: Dave Andonaque
Editorial Assistant, The Astrals


     As part of continuing efforts for sustainable livelihood development, Dr. Bobby Gerardo, University President, introduced the Shell Craft Making as part of the three-day Solid Waste Management and Livelihood Program through Knowledge Sharing for the island barangays of Carles, Iloilo held at Brgy. Granada, Gigantes Norte, July 21-23.

     The event was funded by the Office of Extension Services, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and Philippine KOICA Fellows Association, Inc. (PHILKOFA) with the rationale centered on realizing community initiatives to address the long-term effects of various typhoons (Super Typhoon Yolanda, Odette, and Ursula) which severely hit the livelihood of the beneficiary barangays of Gabi and Granada, including the schools of Granada National High School—Ballesteros Campus and Piagao Integrated School through sustainable livelihood programs, workshop training on waste management, and handicraft development out of waste products.

     "Through Solid Waste Management, out of waste, you can create a product which can be your livelihood and earn money. We can make use of our waste, specifically the shells and scallops, as shell crafts, "said Dr. Gerardo.

     Dr. Gerardo tackled the pros and cons of shell waste and shared an important message on how to earn money out of shell waste. He encouraged the participants to be more creative and resourceful when dealing with shell waste as it can be used for crafts, artwork, home and office decorations, and souvenir items. He also presented handmade shell craft samples for reference.

     "We assure you that NISU will help you to market these shell crafts for you to also earn, and we will provide training for you to hone your skills," he added.

     Meanwhile, it was also echoed by Dr. Roger Sulayao, Principal of the NISU Junior High Laboratory Development, on the next day of his training course on Shell Craft Production for Women's Development (Phase 1), which aims to give a new perspective to women by engaging them in the training that will serve as their means of livelihood using improved and marketable products made out of seashells.

     "The event is really important so that we can help the community in terms of extra income for jobless women and address solid waste management. It is also a way of providing proper knowledge in shell craft and its opportunities," Dr. Sulayao explained.

     A hands-on workshop was conducted to integrate their learning into the actual making of shell crafts using locally found materials and shells. NISU provided some materials and equipment to encourage them to be more creative and let their talents and skills be exposed to a wider audience. It was then showcased for critiquing and giving suggestions to improve their output in terms of designs, color, use of shells, and to make it more profitable and marketable.

     In an interview, he expressed that there is already great potential for their shell craft outputs. The activity that they had was just a prelude to a more meaningful experience for the island women as they embraced their talents and skills in the field of shell craft. He also assured that NISU would extend help by giving them assistance, equipment, and materials for mass production.