A New Home for ELF

November 10th, 2009

Last September 26, typhoon Ondoy caused unprecedented flooding in MetroManila. The raging flood waters entered the ground floor of ELF’s administrative office, and drowned not just our paper files, but even those in the desktops and laptops that were submerged for hours. The same fate was suffered by E-Net Philippines, with whom we have shared the office for over a year.

It was Saturday, and no one was at the office. We took comfort that no life was in danger.

But after the flood receded, we decided that it is time to move elsewhere, to higher ground. Although many factors caused the destructive flood, the message of climate change was forcefully delivered, and like other residents in MetroManila, we had to integrate risk reduction in our post-typhoon reconstruction plans.

Fortunately, within a few weeks, one of ELF’s senior partner, May Cinco, saw a newly posted sign “For Rent” as she was walking down Marunong Street in Quezon City. After a series of negotiations we arrived at a rental agreement, initially for a year, with possibility of renewing our lease.

The two-story apartment is too big for ELF’s current needs, so we invited partner organizations to share the place with us. One is ECAP, the Electric Consumers Advocacy of the Philippines, whose national president is also ELF’s president. The other is La Liga Policy Institute, a co-convenor of ELF in Go Organic! Philippines.

As we discussed the sharing of space and house rules, we some up with the idea of going beyond a shared office to building the place as a resource center for our focus issues – Education, Energy, and Ecology.

Just this afternoon, while we took a break from arranging our files and books, painting furniture, and clearing the backyard, ELF staff brainstormed about climate change and renewable energy, and how we will develop learning modules for the grassroots community leaders who are our strategic partners. The idea of a resource center expanded to include our plans to set up vermicompost beds and developing our backyard into an organic garden and an outdoor meeting place.

Next Friday, we will host a small gathering to mark the global launch of the “Charter for Compassion” which grew from the TED wish of Karen Armstrong. Our initial translation into Filipino is “Kartilya ng Pagmamalasakit.”

We look forward to a housewarming and inauguration of our resource center in December. Visit us at 25 Marunong Street, Central District, Quezon City.

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