A Dialogue with Mr. Arthur Tuason, Volunteer Assistant Project Manager of One Earth-One Ocean

The Philippines is rich in marine resources, with nearly 36,300 km of coastline in the archipelago of more than 7,600 islands. However, it is also one of the world’s biggest marine plastic polluters. A staggering 2.7 million tons of plastic waste are generated in the Philippines each year, 20 percent of which is estimated to end up in the ocean. Policies that aim to regulate solid waste in the country are generally viewed as inadequate and inefficient. As a result, communities struggle to address the pollution crisis and its impacts.

As a part of SIEMENS Gamesa‘s social commitment and in line with their mission as the country’s leading renewable company, they launched their first ever ocean conservation program in the Philippines together with One Earth-One Ocean (OEOO). The program serves as an avenue to raise awareness on the risks of marine pollution and encourage everyone to support the reduction of wastes in the ocean. OEOO, along with SIEMENS Gamesa, gathered local fishermen and their families to join a coastal cleanup drive. This inspired them and the members of their community to take part in preserving and protecting their coastal resources.

ASSIST Creativelab reached out to One Earth-One Ocean’s Volunteer Assistant Project Manager, Arthur Tuason, to delve into the project and his own professional experiences in the field.

  1. What is your role in the Project? 

    I help the Project Manager (PM) in handling the issues, whether big or small, that he can no longer devote his time to. My work keeps the organization running so the PM can make the bigger, more important decisions and work.
  1. What motivated you to consider your role and intervention in this project? 

    I always wanted to be part of an operation like this, and I thought it would be difficult for a young person without any experience or money to bring to the table. Thanks to OEOO, however, I was given an opportunity to apply myself to what I believed in straight out of college. I am often told that this chance is not to be taken lightly, as it is very difficult to find a possibility where you can be satisfied knowing the outcome will always be in service to your beliefs.
  1. What challenges did you encounter while you were working or worked on the project?

    There was so much learning in this project and taking care of sudden problems that I had not encountered before as I worked to keep every event as smooth as possible and satisfy not just my boss but also the partners who decided to put their trust in us. One example is the recent cleanup action in which I took charge of the organization for the first time and was dropped into the deep end of event planning for the first time. Now I feel that I am much more capable and, despite some setbacks, have delivered a satisfactory event.
  1. What would you call the biggest achievement of this project?

    The focus should always be on the connection we fostered with the Fishermen of Bulungan and the wider world. Bringing the support of Siemens Gamesa to Paranaque provided experiences for both groups as the Fishermen needed to know that there are people out there who will help them maintain their environment without looking to profit off of them. For Siemens, it helps their employees and company to reconnect with the people they serve in a different way than they are used to and refocus on their company goals which are to help people attain sustainability.
  1. What were the interventions planned to achieve the outcomes / goals and how did they go?

    There were several actions that were required to set up this event, including the approval of multiple government offices. In the end, the initial plan went through, and we did not need to use our backup plans. Thanks to this, we were able to work well with the Fishermen of Bulungan and accomplish a stunning 33.6 tons of garbage collected over the 7-day period.
  1. If you were to give any advice to people working within the same domain / sector what would that be? 

    Even when it gets really difficult or stressful and it seems like the world just wants to get in your way when doing the right thing, keep at it. You will be surprised how much you can achieve doing this kind of work and the different connections you make that help you carry out the mission further down the line.

Dressed for Success

The Beauty for a Better Life (BFBL) project in partnership with L’Oréal Vietnam continues to empower
underprivileged rural women through skills training on beauty services and basic finance, as well as small-scale business management. Notwithstanding the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, the project was able to produce qualified hairdressers to address gender inequality in the Vietnamese workforce.

To date, Dien Bien Province has graduated its second batch of 24, and Batch 3 commences with 50 new participants. In Thanh Hoa Province, another successful batch of 21 graduated, and 14 more still are ready to become certified beauticians over in Ha Giang Province (Bac Quang District).

Thanks to the success of the BFBL project and the great work done by both the organizers and the aspiring beauticians, L’Oréal Vietnam has invited ASSIST to run a new project on training e-commerce skills that is aimed at improving the lives of 7,000 vulnerable young people in Vietnam.

Read more about the impact of the BFBL project through these testimonials shared by our beneficiaries.

“I had a chance to attend a very meaningful training program. I did not expect that it could be so methodical and effective. I feel very lucky for this opportunity as after 5 months of training, I am now confident enough to open my own hair salon.” – Ms. Duong Hanh, Training Center at Thanh Hoa Province

“I want to learn hairdressing so I registered for this training program right after finishing my high school. In my local area, there are only a few hair salons and they are all opened by people from different provinces. Through this program, I want to return to my area and open my own small hair salon to provide beauty services for my local people.” – Ms. Thung Thi Hang, Training Center at Dien Bien Province

This article is published in the October-December 2021 issue of the ASSIST Now Newsletter.