Nassreena Sampaco-Baddiri: A champion of Moro development

    Nassreena Sampaco-Baddiri, co-founder and chair, Khadija Center for Muslim Women Studies. Photo by: Devex

    Nassreena Sampaco-Baddiri has been hard at work for the women of Muslim Mindanao. Through her organization, Khadija Center for Muslim Women Studies, she aims to reach out to policymakers to bring more awareness on the plight of these women.

    Sampaco-Baddiri, a former regional secretary of the Department of Tourism in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is one the most influential development leaders aged 40 and under in Manila.

    Devex is recognizing 40 of these young trailblazers in international development. They are social entrepreneurs, government leaders, development consultants, business innovators, advocates, development researchers, nonprofit executives and journalists.

    We spoke with Sampaco-Baddiri about her work and cause.

    What was the biggest challenge you faced in implementing a sustainable community-based tourism development road map for Muslim Mindanao, and how did you tackle this challenge?

    One of the biggest challenges we faced was the lack of participatory governance in tourism development planning. Meaningful tourism development must be sustainable culturally, environmentally, and financially and that can only be possible through an inclusive process by which local communities have “ownership” of development planning, programming and implementation.

    We addressed this challenge by creating participatory mechanisms such as community consultations, council meetings as well as stakeholder dialogues in various locales. The response was overwhelming and our efforts at community engagement brought forth a regionwide strategic planning workshop where together, we built a sustainable tourism roadmap for Muslim Mindanao.

    You have published on geopolitics, socio-economic development, Moro women and the peace process in Mindanao. Have any of them shaped public policy and made a development impact?

    It would be hard to assess, as I have written on these issues more as an academic rather than a policymaker.

    That said, at the Khadija Center for Muslim Women Studies, we continue to reach out to our policymakers in order to raise greater awareness on the plight of Muslim women in the Philippines. We continue to engage various sectors such as the government, civil society and the media, to ensure that the voices of Muslim Filipino women are heard specifically in vital issues such as the peace process in Mindanao, socio-economic development in Muslim Communities and peace building in the Philippines.

    The peace process has encouraged donors and international aid agencies to start or increase their engagement in Mindanao. What is your vision for donor and international engagement with the Muslim community not just in Mindanao but worldwide?

    Essentially, there is a need to consolidate long-term partnerships between aid agencies and local communities through collaborative governance arrangements and by investing in social capital. It is my opinion that nurturing social capital is key to significant development impact in Muslim communities where broader civic engagement allows greater people’s empowerment and participation in all aspects of delivering development goals. I look forward to the success of international engagement with a strong investment strategy in social capital in order to address development objectives in Mindanao and beyond.

    Read more about the Devex 40 Under 40 International Development Leaders in Manila.

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