Meet Hal, Our New Philippines Executive Director!

Meet Hal, Our New Philippines Executive Director!

Join us in welcoming Hal Atienza as our new Philippines Executive Director!

Hal has been a social development NGO practitioner for the past three decades building resilient sectors and communities through social accountability and participatory governance. He most recently was an Independent Development Consultant as an accompanier, resource-person, and facilitator-trainer for capacity-building activities, strategic planning workshops, and organizational development and management processes. 

Hal is based in Cebu City, and we are thrilled to have his expertise and leadership as we head into this next exciting stage of our growth and work in the Philippines. 

Welcome to the team Hal! 

Message from Sherry Manning, Founder and CEO welcoming Hal.

“We are thrilled to have attracted such an experienced and passionate newPhilippines Executive Director to guide us into our next chapter of work in the Philippines. Hal brings decades of experience in growing and building successful NGOs and community organizing networks. I know that under his leadership our continued growth and success will be transformational. A very warm welcome to Hal from the entire GSS Community!”

Message from Bea Crisostomo, Philippines Board Chair welcoming Hal. 

On behalf of the Philippines Board of Directors, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Hal as the new Philippines Executive Director. We are thrilled to have you on board and are confident that your experience and expertise will help us continue to grow and have a deeper impact. We are excited to see what we can accomplish together and are grateful to have you on board!”

Here is more about Hal:

What are you most excited about experiencing at GSS?

Seeds are the bearers of food. Saving our seeds is also saving our food culture. Seed saving is the core of regenerative farming and biodiversity. I have been working with farmers for many years. Community seed banking has always been the clamor of marginalized farmers. And I have found that excitement and reason to work with GSS. It espouses natural and organic seed saving, growing, and protection.

What is one strength you are excited to bring to GSS?

Running a country program demands a different set of skills and capacities. My experience and background in community organizing, organizational development, program management, governance, and leadership development encompass my abilities and desires to make GSS relevant and sustainable.


What is your favorite book?

I believe in the “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire. But my romantic side always loves watching the Clint Eastwood movie and reading the book by Robert James Waller, “Bridges of Madison County” including the photo collection book of its character, Robert Kincaid.


What is your passion?

Ever since college, I have been passionate about being with people, working with them, and for them, whom Khalil Gibran described as the deprived, oppressed, poor, and exploited (DOPE). My favorite nook is the kitchen because I love cooking and preparing food for my family. They love my signature penne pasta with tuna in a creamy sauce and the aromatic honey-glazed chicken. I also enjoy tending to my ornamental and herb plant collections.


What do you want to achieve in this role?

I hope to sustain what the founder has started in the Philippines’ seed-saving program and become the model for expansion work and mainstreaming worldwide. That way, we can make seed saving a global movement to address food security, food sufficiency, and food sovereignty.

Welcome to the GSS team, Hal!


Meet Anjanette, Our New Development Coordinator

Meet Anjanette, Our New Development Coordinator

You all will probably remember Anjanette Wilson as Graduate Fellow for Global Seed Savers. She joined us in that capacity last June 2021.

After completing her Masters in Environmental Management from the Western Colorado University in May 2022, she has now joined GSS as Development Coordinator! As Development Coordinator, Anjanette will work with the GSS Team, donors, and board members to provide logistical coordination and administrative support to implement Global Seed Savers’ donor engagement and fundraising strategies.

Welcome to the team Anjanette! 

Here is Anjanette’s introduction:

“I am THRILLED to share that I’m starting a new position as the Development Coordinator at Global SeedSavers (GSS)! I am feeling both excited and grateful to be able to continue working collaboratively alongside cutting edge nonprofits and community led organizations to address climate justice by supporting on-the-ground food and seed sovereignty operations.

I am also extremely excited to continue strengthening my relationship with the GSS team as I have been with GSS since the spring of 2021 as their Graduate Fellow. My fellowship, a position in joint collaboration between GSS and Western Colorado University’s Master in Environmental Management (MEM) Program, helped me develope my MEM project “Growing Communities, Saving Seeds: Nonprofit Operations and Storytelling of Seed Sovereignty Movements in the Philippines.” I focused on the operational and technical support for GSS as an international organization. A few highlights from my fellowship include the implementation of a donor CRM tool (for a better donor management system), environmental storytelling, and creating impact reports.


I’m truly looking forward to contributing to the global movement of seed saving as a practice for climate resiliency, securing Indigenous rights, and preserving our Filipino culture!

HUGE thanks to Sherry Manning for giving me the opportunity to grow and the courage to break into new roles that shape me into a better environmental activist and professional. And more HUGE thanks to the GSS team for fostering a work culture that cultivates a positive mindset, authentic relationships, and sustainable growth.

Here’s your friendly reminder that when leaders invest in you, your dreams become goals!”

Hello GSSP Community, I am Sarah

Hello everyone, I am Sarah Mae Sabado, and I am honored to become a part of Global Seed Savers Philippines (GSSP). I am behind most of the social media posts you have been receiving in the past few weeks and this newsletter! 

I write this post today to help you learn a little bit about me.

When I was young, I told myself that I would never work in an office, that I would always have control over my time, and that I would find work that served a greater good. I remember my mother saying that I would be so lucky if indeed, I find work like that.

Decades have passed since then, and I can say with confidence that I have achieved my childhood dream. Aside from a short stint as a coach at a call center, I have spent most of my life working in organizations dedicated to societal transformation. I am blessed to have found jobs that have helped expand my understanding of what it means to live and to be human. I am grateful to have met inspiring people who taught me that every single day we wake up is a new opportunity to make life better for future generations.

Today, I sound like an idealist, but I wasn’t always like this. There was a time when I was a pessimist when I thought everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. In recent years, I have considered myself a realist – things will happen as they will, and we simply have to deal with them. But I also learned that everything that happens, happens for a reason. I have learned that every challenge is a message, an opportunity to pay attention. And I have found that when I pay attention, I will always discover new things I never thought possible.

But these days, I think that how we deal with “stuff” is even more important than the outcome of our actions. “Am I doing this out of obligation? Or out of hope? Am I doing this because I believe that this makes a difference? Or because it simply needs to be completed? Can I make things better today?” These are questions I have to ask myself every day, to check where I am at and to align my daily intentions. Some days do not go well as planned, but I let it go. I have learned that the good and the bad days go hand-in-hand and that I derive great enjoyment from the good days because I had bad days to contrast it to.

I say this because it’s been a difficult year for everyone. And these days, when I work for GSSP, I always ask myself how the farmers are. Do they still have enough food on the table? Are they still able to provide for their basic needs? How are their children coping up with school? How can I use my platforms to speak for their plight? How can I make things better for them?

So yes, this is me, albeit just a small part. And these are the questions that I bring with me.