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Tubig Guinoo Women sets Social Change through Collective Action

Through Kalahi-CIDSS’ CDD (Community-Driven Development) Approach, women are given equal opportunity to work and earn in the construction of their community projects

History tells that subordination of women remains to be the basis of their exclusion in the development sphere. But today, it is only an empowering sight to see women give their unparalleled power for the community’s growth through DSWD’s Kalahi-CIDSS program.

In Barangay Tubig Guinoo, Kawayan, Biliran, a group of women pioneered collective action in order to resolve their most pressing needs.


Women and Water in Tubig Guinoo

Barangay Tubig Guinoo is situated at the foot of Mount Panamaw, the source of bountiful water that gives supply to other barangays. It is named ‘Tubig Guinoo’ for the same reason. However due to its location, residents living within are always at a perilous situation. When bad weather hits, the water in the area overflows, leaving them with no option but to evacuate. Thus,the construction of flood control system was seen by the community as an intervention needed to be prioritized to address their long-time problem.


However, there was initial hesitation when Kalahi CIDSS started in the community. For years, Tubig Guinoo lost their trust on government agencies that promised them aid.

All residents were doubting the program and where hesitant to participate in the activities. Most of them were afraid that it might only be the same with other agencies which promised them change but with unfulfilled result.

Yet, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee Chairperson Corazon Pardenas, a woman whose passion is to serve her community, encouraged people to work with the program. Through her persuasive efforts and leadership, the community successfully completed the construction of a 55-linear meter flood control for Cycle 1 and 235 linear-meter Flood Control from its original Sub-Project of 155 linear-meter with a PhP 2.9 million Kalahi-CIDSS grant for Cycle 2 implementation. In addition to, only 90% of its total fund was utilized which was accomplished before the target date of completion.

BSPMC Pardenas even took the courage to present during the Barangay Assembly another sub-project using the excess materials from their previous Cycle 2 sub-project, to construct an Open Canal in Tubig Guinoo Elementary School. Even though there were no longer available funds for labor,  Pardenas presented that female community volunteers will pursue through Bayanihan in order to realize the proposed project. Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) officials witnessed their dedication; they offered free snacks for the volunteers during the working days. The 30-linear meter Open Canal was completed for only a week and this noteworthy initiative of Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers now protects families from the threat of soil erosion.


Women on Social Empowerment

On the process, the community most especially BSPMC Chairperson Corazon Pardenas came to love Kalahi-CIDSS’ Community-Driven Development (CDD) strategy. She said it is inclusive, participative and empowering most especially to women. For her, CDD gave women the equal opportunity to challenge their stereotyped reproductive roles, and experienced social and economic development.

BSPMC Pardenas asserted, “Kung unsay matrabaho sa lalaki, matrabahu sad diay sa babae. The process improved the confidence of women to do manly work because of the experience during project implementation; pag-masa, pag-ayag sa buhangin, mag finishing… During sa open canal implementation, kung unsaon pag put-up sa hollow blocks, mag socking sa baras, maghakot sa baras pag dayong dayong og uban pa. [Women can perform jobs that are expected to be performed by men. The process improved the confidence of women to do manly work because of the experience during project implementation; We can do masonry work. During sa open canal implementation we can carry sacks of sand so we can put up hollow blocks, and other tasks].” BSPMC Pardenas shared that all female community volunteers became more confident of themselves now that they can decide and implement sub-projects, far from when they usually do in their households.


Corazon Pardeñas also added that being a BSPMC enables herself to assume a leadership position and manage an organization. Through her involvement in Kalahi-CIDSS, she realized her potential and abilities in financial management, community procurement and project implementation. But above all, she now discovered that she has the capacity and passion to lead. Through Kalahi–CIDSS’ provision of skills training and other capacity building initiatives, Corazon and the women of Tubig Guinoo can now say that they can do greater things for their community with their collective action.


Women and the voice to Influence

Liramae Catalvas, a former Community Empowerment Facilitator of Kawayan, Biliran also expressed her appreciation and gratitude to the community volunteers of Barangay Tubig Guinoo especially for their commitment and active participation in the program.

“The community volunteers can conduct special sessions on their own. Their initiative to address community concerns immediately is what I appreciate most in this barangay”. She added that BSPMC Corazon volunteered to be a spokesperson of Kalahi CIDSS to other barangays of Kawayan wherein her primary task is to advocate and promote the gains and impact of CDD and encouraged all sectors, most especially women, to put forward their voice and ideas.

She asserted, “Ako sila gi-ingnan nga expected sa mga kababaihan ang naa lang sa balay pero natuo ko nga kada baji duna nay ikacontribute nga ilang skills dili unta sila mahadlok nga ishare kini og gamiton ilang kakayanan og boses para makatabang sila sa igkasi katawo. [I believe that although women are only expected to stay at home, they can contribute their skills. They should not be afraid to share their strength and voice in order to help other people. That is what I usually tell them]”.

Community volunteers’ direct management of sub-projects and their acquired knowledge on Kalahi-CIDSS process gave them the technical know-how in the planning, budgeting and construction of a 30-linear meter open canal on their own. Kalahi-CIDSS’ activities serve also as an avenue for women to participate through barangay assemblies and meetings where their presence and opinions matter.

It is undeniable that because of patriarchal structures, it hinders women to get involved in decision-making processes but this yet again was conquered by the women of Tubig Guinoo. Through Kalahi-CIDSS, women were able to present and speak their minds in a political discourse and able to “set agenda”.

BSPMC Pardenas took pride of the sub project, “women can now have the ability to be a leader [to lead and decide], ability to let our voice be heard.”

Women reliving the Bayanihan Spirit

It is very apparent that bayanihan was demonstrated by the women of Tubig Guinoo when they worked in unison for the construction of an Open Canal, without expecting anything in return.    But BSPMC Pardenas shared as well how the collective action of Community Volunteers, BLGU and community has been the key for successfully realizing their sub-project for Cycle 1 and Cycle 2, including the women-initiated Open Canal.

BSPMC Pardenas stated, “The community volunteers are actively participating in the whole Kalahi-CIDSS program implementation. Everyone is committed to their responsibility and to the whole program in general.”


She added that Community Volunteers maximized their resources to complete their deliverables in a timely manner. Part of the volunteers’ strategy is to work closely with barangay council members. Community Volunteers were even grouped according to the existing zones of Tubig Guinoo where they were assigned to each barangay councilor, specifically for information dissemination and CDD advocacy.


She also emphasized,  “Ipadayon ang kooperasyon, open nga komunikasyon ug aksyon para sa komunidad. Kung unsa ang nasugdan dapat po nga mapadayon.[We should continue our cooperation, open communication, and collective action for the community. We will sustain what we have started].”


Though Brgy. Tubig Guinoo was not prioritized during Cycle 3 resource allocation, their BSPMC office is still functional and BSPMC Pardenas still regularly attend and participate during barangay sessions. At present,  Community volunteers also helped the Brgy.  Committee on Infrastructure through the conduct of a monthly project inspection and clean-up drive when necessary. They also function as community spokespersons where they provide information and feedback to Barangay Council regarding sub-project status for Operation and Maintenance purposes.


Philippines is continuously improving its efforts towards addressing gender-based issues. Kalahi-CIDSS program, through its CDD strategy, is raising awareness and at the same time providing opportunities for inclusive empowerment especially to marginalized sectors of the community, including women. Kalahi-CIDSS program takes action for equal development while sustaining social change.

To date, there are 48, 578 female BSPMC Chairpersons in Eastern Visayas. The figure alone tells us that women can lead, decide and initiate for development. Through Kalahi-CIDSS, women are not only nurturing mothers but active workers for social change, not only for their families but for the community as well.

As part of its mandate to empower women, Kalahi-CIDSS ensures that 30% of the total workforce hired for the construction of a community infrastructure should be allocated to women through paid labor.

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50 brgys qualify for P47M Kalahi-CIDSS Livelihood and Enterprise Grant

A total of fifty (50) barangays from Eastern Visayas, currently covered by Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Kalahi-CIDSS program, qualified for the additional grant for Livelihood and Enterprise (L&E) amounting to PhP 47,000,000.00 under the NCDDP (National Community-Driven Development Program) Livelihood and Enterprise Project.

Said grant is through the partnersihp of DSWD and Asian Development Bank to implement additional financing to restore the lives of Typhoon Yolanda victims across the country.

Although Kalahi-CIDSS has already accomplished 5, 309 sub-projects in the region as of October 19, 2017, more communities are still proposing to engage in livelihood–related projects.

A large percentage of these Kalahi-CIDSS completed sub-projects are geared towards post-typhoon rehabilitation of community infrastructure, delivery of basic social services, and environmental protection  and disaster mitigation. However, these do not directly answer their call for direct income generation.

Kalahi-CIDSS also partnered with DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and various government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), among others. These entities have advanced experience on L&E that aim to economically empower the poor, the disadvantaged and marginalized.

All 50 barangays, from 33 municipalities in Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar, Leyte and Biliran province, passed the ranking and project proposal prioritization during the Regional Inter-municipal Forum (RIMF) held in September 2017 in Tacloban City.

All project proposals were reviewed and validated prior to its approval, based on the the following criteria: vulnerability of the proponent; existing association, operation and maintenance (O & M) group;  marketability and availability of materials; acquired technical capability of proponent, active LGU and other agencies giving technical assistance and can generate employment outside organization or association.

Moreover, the Production of Coco-based Products proposed project of Brgy. Look, Anahawan, Southern Leyte ranked first during the prioritization with a total grant of more than 1 million pesos.  Most of the proposed L & E sub-projects were on food production, skills training, hog raising, mushroom and flower plantation, and acquisition of equipment and facilities for increased food production. (R. Maray-Lim/SMU)


Regional Financial Analyst Sheryl Salvatierra explains the financial aspect of Kalahi-CIDSS’ Livelihood and Enterprise Project during the Project Development Workshop for Community Volunteers (Photo from Myrlina Pascual)


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DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS supports ‘ZOD campaign’ with WASH project

Tagnao resident proudly shows her family’s new sanitary toilet facility as a result of a community-led project implemented through DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS in order to achieve Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) and fight diseases.

Brgy. Tagnao is one of the 34 barangays in Gandara, Samar infected with Schistosomiasis. Said disease is caused by parasitic worms due to exposure to infested water.

According to the Local Government Unit of Gandara, Schistosomiasis is prevalent in the municipality due to  poor sanitation and lack of basic toilet facilities.

Matagal na naming problema ang diarrhea at schisto dito sa Gandara. Noong una, marami ang namamatay dito dahil walang palikuran ang mga kabahayan [Diarrhea and Schistosomiasis are two of the leading health problems here in Gandara. Many people died here because of poor sanitation and lack of comfort rooms]“, Tagnao Brgy. Chairperson Virgilio Oliva disclosed.

With Kalahi-CIDSS’ Community-Driven Development approach, residents of Tagnao proposed  the implementation of their WASH (Wash, Sanitation and Hygiene) project in order to achieve Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) and eventually eradicate local cases of diarrhea and Schistosomiasis in their community.

“The absence of basic sanitation facilities is a threat to people’s health. The residents proposed the construction of latrines to be provided to households with no toilets in order to prevent the contamination of human waste to their food and water thereby fighting these deadly diseases”, Juliet Abarratigue, Kalahi-CIDSS Gandara Area Coordinator, explained.

The 1.8 million community-led project with the LGU counterpart of 124,000 pesos enabled each of the 138 households to have its own sanitary toilet.

Through DSWD’s convergence strategy, other core programs such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Sustainable Livelihood Program collaborated with Kalahi-CIDSS through family development sessions and barangay assemblies in order to raise awareness and provide proper education on improved sanitation and ZOD.

Responsibilidad namin na alagaan ang aming CR at panatilihin naming malinis ang kapaligiran [The operations and maintenance of these latrines is our main responsibility. We will ensure the cleanliness in our barangay], said  Sanny Casalhay, Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer.

Municipal data shows 26 out of 69 barangays in Gandara were already provided with 2, 400 units of latrines through DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS in cooperation with the LGU of Gandara.

As of today, 4, 273 units of sanitary toilets or latrines were already constructed and turned-over to 22 municipalities across the region under the Kalahi-CIDSS NCDDP (National Community-Driven Development) funding.

A total of 4, 273 units of sanitary toilets or latrines were already constructed and turned-over to 22 municipalities across the region under the Kalahi-CIDSS NCDDP (National Community-Driven Development) funding.

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World Bank commends DSWD’s Kalahi-CIDSS Region8

Through the bayanihan system of the community volunteers and Barangay Council members of Pio del Pilar in the island municipality of Biri, Northern Samar, the Kalahi-CIDSS 194-linear meter Pathwalk with Grouted Riprap is already serving 1, 003 individuals

“DSWD’s leadership brings success to this project but it is more successful because of the people’s support”, said Mara Warwick, World Bank Country Director during her visit in Eastern Visayas.

The 3-day Implementation Support Mission and Mid-Term Review in Northen Samar province was conducted to assess the progress of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan–Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program implementation under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), specifically with its various project components and program targets in the region.

The DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS lead by Usec. Malou Turalde-Jarabe, together with World Bank team headed by Warwick, visited Pambujan and the island municipality of Biri in Northern Samar on February 1-2, 2017.

Part of the activities were project site visit, interaction among community volunteers, and focus group discussion with the members of the Municipal and Barangay Local Government Units,  and Municipal Inter-Agency Committee members.

In Pambujan, a total of 54 projects were funded wherein 40 were already completed under the program’s first cycle of implementation.

One project which was already turned over to the residents of Brgy. Poblacion1 is a Community Evacuation Center, with a  Kalahi-CIDSS grant of 1.29 million pesos and a local counterpart contribution of 11, 250.00 from the Local Government Unit.

“Because of this Kalahi-CIDSS project, people of Pambujan became aware of disaster risk mitigation and environmental conservation and protection”, Mayor Felipe Sosing shared.

Meanwhile in Biri, 14 small-scale infrastructure projects worth 13.4 million pesos were already accomplished. Eleven of these projects were school buildings constructed and implemented by community volunteers who are also parents of the pupil-beneficiaries.

“In the past two years, our 2-classroom school building here in Palhugan Elementary School served as an evacuation center during the onslaught  of Typhoons Nona in 2015, and Nina in 2016 for almost 200 individuals. Today these rooms are utilized as a computer room and instruction room for Grade-4 students”, Marivic Estavillo, the school principal disclosed.

Based from the World Bank’s assessment, Kalahi-CIDSS in the region was successful in scaling up the Empowerment Program across 134 municipalities through the National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP).

Said expansion of the program was operationalized within the Disaster Response framework as part of the Post-Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation initiative of the government.

As of January 2017, a total of 5, 095 community projects (combined Cycle 1 and 2) were completed by DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS under the NCDDP funding. These projects are already serving 738, 548 households from 3, 654 barangays in Eastern Visayas

The Mid-Term review team also noted the strong support from the LGUs, Barangay Council and the empowered community members in the program implementation which have helped in the effective and efficient accomplishment of quality infrastructure that are proven to be disaster-resilient.

 “The story of Kalahi-CIDSS is the story of the people. The community is the strength of Kalahi-CIDSS”, Usec. Malou Turalde-Jarabe pointed out during her visit.

Kalahi-CIDSS is the Empowerment Program implemented by DSWD which uses the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach that promotes and practice inclusive decision-making process, transparency, and improved local governance.

The community evacuation center of Brgy. Poblacion1 in Pambujan, Northern Samar was achieved through the participatory process in the barangay. Today, the Brgy. Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee, with the help of Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers, has already been organized as the primary group in charge of the the Community DRRM Plan.

Posted in 2017 Articles, newsComments (0)

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