FEATURE | Reaping fruits of volunteerism through livelihood

“Give people fishes and you feed them for a day. Teach people to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.”

This famous proverb has been the direction of Barangay Caawigan in Talisay, Camarines Norte as they had decided to resolve their unemployment crisis in the community.

According to Caawigan Barangay Captain Filomeno Villagracia Jr., the three (3) main problems in their barangay are malnutrition, unemployment and out of school youth.

He added that over 89 individuals do not receive proper employment opportunities.

Seeing this as one of the issues to settle, the community members decided to construct a one-unit community productivity center through the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS).

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS is a poverty alleviation program of the national government that aims to increase community engagement in local planning, budgeting and project implementation.

Villagracia also said that the process is systematic through Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) of the program because they used the data acquired during the Participatory Situational Analysis (PSA) as a basis in identifying community development problems and priorities in planning for appropriate interventions.

The PSA is part of Social Preparation and Community Consultation Stage of the CEAC. It aims to establish a common understanding of the current situation of the barangay. It extensively analyzes and describes the expectations, current socio-economic and political situation as well as the other needs or problems of the community.

“Parang natuto pa nga ako kasi kung magre-request kami sa ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan, i-aapply ko yung sistema ng Kalahi na may documentation at hindi lang basta ka lang magsusubmit ng request na walang nakikitang justifiable reason (I’ve learned a lot in requesting for projects from different government agencies. I have applied the Kalahi-CIDSS’ system with proper documentation and we don’t submit proposals without justifiable reasons),” he explained.

Balancing family and volunteer work

For Gina Cledoro, 40, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairperson, she must juggle her time as a mother and a volunteer.

The Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee takes care of the overall management of the community center. Under the guidance of Barangay Development Council, it formulates policies and makes decisions for the project. It also oversees the sub-project implementation, monitoring, maintenance and sustainability after project completion.

She would often bring her child when attending seminars of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS.

Cledoro shared that some volunteers would not attend meetings or seminars since they must work to earn a living.

“Ayaw nila kasi iniisip nila paano na ang pamilya nila. Siyempre, ang pagseseminar ilang araw din iyon kaya ano na ang kakainin ng iba (Some members refuse to attend thinking about their families. Knowing a seminar runs for days, some prefer to work just to have food to eat),” she said.

Cledoro recounted that her husband would often say that she wouldn’t get anything from being a volunteer and it will only waste her time.

“Ako po bilang volunteer kahit nagagalit sa akin ang asawa ko, gusto ko kasi tumulong sa mga tao sa barangay kasi hindi lang naman ito sa sarili at pamilya ko ang pagtulong (Even though my husband would get mad at me, I as a volunteer, still want to help my barangay because helping is not just for myself and my family),” she explained.

Cledoro also believes that knowledge is something to be shared.

“Kahit ano man ang nalalaman ko, dapat malaman din nila (Anything I know should be shared to them),” Cledoro continued.

Just like Cledoro, the barangay captain also shared other values he learned along the implementation of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS.

“Hindi lang yung pondo ang nakuha namin. Marami kaming values na natutunan katulad ng organization, systematic na paglalatag ng programa. Nakita namin na nabuhay yung volunteerism (Aside from the grant we have received, we’ve learned the organization and systematic execution of the program. We have also seen the reliving of volunteerism),” he stated.

Volunteerism has been the special part in implementing the project because without the hard work of the community volunteers, they would not finish constructing the planned productivity center.

“Nag-vovolunteer sila na walang bayad pero nagtiyaga sila, kaya ito [productivity center] yung reward. At iyong reward na iyan, sila rin magtatatrabaho sabusiness (The community volunteers provided their service without pay yet, they’ve shown determination; thus, receiving their reward. With the center, they are also the workers for their livelihood business),” Villagracia imparted.

The community productivity center will be used to cater to their livelihood programs like coconut production.

According to Capt. Villagracia, the barangay has allocated Php68,000.00 as a fund for the community’s livelihood program.

Through volunteerism, the community has built a productivity center that will serve as another source of livelihood of many families.

About DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

Camarines Norte has implemented DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS in 12 municipalities with a total implementation grant of Php 497,514,530.00 and local counterpart contribution of Php 11,345,768.27 from barangay and municipal local government units (LGUs) to fund community-managed sub-projects.

DSWD had allocated Talisay with Php 28,684,800.00 and local counterpart contribution of Php 833,597.81.

The construction of the one-unit community productivity center was completed last October 31, 2018 with a total project cost of Php 2,329,270.00 that will benefit 334 households.