A woman’s four years of experience in volunteerism creates impact in the community
According to John Legend, an American singer-songwriter, “Experience is a great teacher.” This is true because through experience, we learn new knowledge and skills.
For Verde Jalimao, she takes pride of her four (4) years of experience as a community volunteer of 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 that helps communities in poor municipalities to identify challenges on poverty and implement developmental projects using the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach.
Using her profound knowledge in implementing sub-projects she earned when she joined in 2017, Verde’s heart of service continues as she spearheads the implementation of two (2) sub-projects in Barangay Sto. Domingo, Vinzons, Camarines Norte: Cash-for-Work (CFW) for Clearing and Grubbing along Barangay Roadside with provision of Hand Tools and Concreting of Barangay Road.
Both sub-projects amounting to PHP 1,970,371.00 were funded under DSWD KALAHI CIDSS Additional Financing and counterpart contribution of the Local Government Unit.
The sub-projects were identified by the community based on the results of their Rapid Disaster Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA).
Aside from the two sub-projects under Additional Financing, the program also funded five (5) sub-projects amounting to PHP 6,011,963.88 from 2015 until 2020: (1) Construction of Alternative Learning System (ALS) facility; (2) Improvement of Barangay Road; (3) Provision of Sanitary Kits for 450 poor and marginalized families; (4) CFW for 70 community volunteers or residents for the Clearing of Canals; and (5) Retrofitting and Refurbishment of Existing Multi-Purpose Covered Court as Temporary Quarantine Facility with Provision of Amenities and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
In 2020, Barangay Santo Domingo faced difficulties due to COVID-19 pandemic. Samson Balce, 54, chairperson of Barangay Local Government Unit specified unemployment as one of the issues of their village since most of their inhabitants lost their jobs or income opportunities. Another is the lack of COVID-19 facilities for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs).
The community selected Cash-for-Work and Temporary Quarantine Facility as their sub-projects in response to COVID-19.
“Malaking bagay po yung COVID-19 facility sapagkat kung walang naka-install sa barangay na facility…siguro po lalong lalaganap ang COVID-19,” Balce said.
(The COVID-19 facility is a great help to our community. Because if we don’t have an installed facility in the barangay, the virus would have spread.)
Implementing community projects is very challenging. Verde mentioned that they cannot avoid that some community members think that their team and barangay council stole the excess materials and embezzled the extra funds from the sub-projects.
The volunteer shared that they conducted meetings to clarify issues and concerns and resolve the problems encountered.
“Mag-attend kayo ng pagpulong kasi meron kami every month kung saan inuulat namin kung ano na ang estado ng aming pinansyal at ganoon din yung progreso ng implementasyon namin sa pisikal,” she told community members.
(You attend meetings being conducted every month because we discuss the physical and financial accomplishments on the implementation of sub-projects.)
CHANGE IN THE COMMUNITY
The village of Santo Domingo is one of the 19 barangays of Vinzons, Camarines Norte with a population of 5,021. Most of the inhabitants rely on agriculture particularly rice and coconut farming.
Through collective action and strong participation of the community members, the village had positive changes.
One of the changes is the 954-meter farm-to-market road the village constructed.
According to Verde, the sub-project provided easier access in the transport of farm goods and convenience for motorists and commuters particularly the students.
“Yung aming mga motorista, medyo nabawasan ang kanilang expenses sa pagpapaayos ng mga gulong ng kanilang sasakyan (For motorists, the expenses incurred from having their tires fixed were lessened),” she further explained.
Being a volunteer, Verde also developed capabilities as a person who can confidently interact with people.
“Natuto po akong makihalubilo sa kapwa ko dati kasi nahihiya ako i-express yung sarili ko,” she explained.
(I learned to socialize with fellow community members because before I was too shy to express myself.)
Aside from the confidence she earned, the volunteer also shared her inputs and learnings to volunteers from other barangays during KALAHI-CIDSS’ trainings.
“Nagagalak ako na makilala bilang isang responsableng tagapamahala at may tiwala sa akin ang mga tao,” she said.
(I am elated that people see me as a responsible implementer and they have trust in me.)
Verde’s four years of experience as a community volunteer made footprints in her life and in her community.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
To hasten approval of community projects and implementation during pandemic, DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS uses the Disaster Response Operations Modality (DROM), a simplified Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) that still follows the principles of CDD.
Last year, the program expanded its scope to 76 municipalities in Bicol Region under Additional Financing.
In Camarines Norte, DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS is implementing Additional Financing in six (6) municipalities with a grant amounting to Php 90,180,000.00.
DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS Additional Financing allocated Vinzons with Php 20,000,000.00 and local counterpart contribution of Php 5,000,000.00. For more details about DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS, follow this link: https://kalahi.dswd.gov.ph/about/community-driven development