The Gamot Cogon Institute (a non-stock, non-profit organization) is an Iloilo-based cultural institution working to transform society through human development approaches including education and training. GCI also prototypes or demonstrates alternative approaches to education, agriculture, health, and full human development.
The name Gamot Cogon could be literally translated as “Grass Roots.” We are based in a rural area where poverty and lack of opportunity are endemic. The name also reflects our steadfastness and commitment as a response to “Ningas Cogon” or the tendency to easily burn out. “Gamot” means root in Ilonggo and medicine in Filipino. Cogon is a type of grass known for its extensive root system, hardiness, ability to stabilize the soil and for its medicinal properties and our location is in the village of Libongcogon, Zarraga. Drawing on these threads, Gamot Cogon therefore conveys healing approaches to development that are deeply rooted in the human spirit and capable of sprouting numerous innovative and transformative initiatives for meaningful social change.
Our mission, to borrow a quote from Rudolf Steiner (the founder of Steiner Education) is: “to develop free human beings, who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.”
GCI established a school in 2005 — the Gamot Cogon Waldorf School. This school is envisioned as a prototype for a whole network of schools offering Steiner Waldorf education as a grassroots alternative to the more narrow and materialistic impulse of traditional schooling.
GCI also launched its teacher training program in 2005. It is the first live-in, intensive Steiner teacher training program in the country and is being offered every year to teachers from around the country. More than 100 teachers and numerous others have participated in both the main training program and the special courses and seminars that have been offered. Graduates from our past trainings are connected with beginning initiatives in places like Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Baguio, Laguna, Romblon, Cebu and Davao, which shows how the ideas are spreading. This is precisely our hope that the on-going teacher training activity will continue to seed the expansion and development of Steiner education in the country so that more children can benefit from this innovative educational approach.
Future plans include the further development of the school campus; the establishment of a biodynamic farm and the putting up of an in-house training center where GCI can continue to offer original training programs in education, agriculture, health, and full human development. GCI accepts donations from individuals and institutions who see value in its accomplishments and approach and wish to contribute in some way.