SAN ISIDRO, Davao Oriental (DSWD) - Two years ago, 20 women beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program from San Isidro, Davao Oriental organized the Cambaleon Hog Raisers Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) Association with an initial P200,000 capital assistance from the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Since then until to this day, the association has become the official pork meat supplier for the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) for day care children in the town. Being a regular supplier meant a steady source of income for the members who had no regular jobs and were plain housewives prior to the implementation of their livelihood project.
SFP is the provision of food to day care children as part of the DSWD’s contribution to the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Program of the government. The Department downloads the funding requirements to the local government units which directly implements the program.
According to Provincial SLP Coordinator Julius Duterte, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman designated the Cambaleon Hog Raisers SEA-K Association as the SLP-SFP Commodity Cluster Model (CCM) in the locality.
CCM links SLP to other DSWD programs such as SFP. Using this model, local government units (LGUs) or communities source their food supply and needs from SLP participants.
“The Department is cognizant of the potentials of women in the rural communities, thus, we are tapping them in the implementation of DSWD’s other programs. This would also enable them to have a sure market for their products,” Sec. Soliman stated.
SLP is a community-based capacity building program that seeks to improve the program participants’ socio-economic status through micro-enterprise development and employment facilitation, in partnership with LGUs, other government agencies, and private corporations.
SLP’s partner-private firms provide technical skills training and market access to the beneficiaries.
For the Cambaleon Association, the Department partnered with Pigrolac which provided the technical training on proper hog raising, as well as free vitamins and vaccines for the hogs acquired by the group.
According to Renefe Quilisadio, President of the association, the members undertook skills training on simple business management and marketing to prepare them to be competent entrepreneurs.
Renefe stated that their hog raising project is another blessing and opportunity to uplift the members’ economic status.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa tiwalang ipinagkaloob sa aming samahan at magpupursige kami upang mapalago ang negosyong ito (We are grateful for the trust given to us, and we are determined to make this business flourish),” Renefe underscored.
She promised to take good care of the fund entrusted to them and committed to deliver the roll back payment on a quarterly basis.
Renefe made sure that group members also actively attend their weekly meetings while enjoying a 100% collection on their savings mobilization.
Prior to becoming Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, Renefe and the members of the association are ordinary housewives focused on doing their daily household chores.
Although their husbands have sources of income, these are not enough to sustain the needs of their respective families. Hence, when the opportunity came to avail of the livelihood program, the women immediately organized themselves.
Renefe and the other beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya stated that the program, aside from providing them cash grants to help them meet the educational and health needs of their children, has also given them new perspectives in life.
“Ngayon ay nakikilahok na kami sa mga aktibidad ng barangay, hindi katulad dati na kontento na kami sa mga gawaing-bahay at pag-aalaga sa aming mga anak (We now join in barangay activities, unlike before when we were just contented with performing household chores and looking after our children),” narrated Renefe.
“Nag-uusap-usap din kami kung paano kami makakatulong sa aming mga pamilya at sa aming komunidad (We also discuss how we can help our families and communities),” she added.
San Isidro Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) Elna Arenal is optimistic on the success of the livelihood projects implemented by SLP such as the hog raising of the Cambaleon Association.
“I am very positive that our women will succeed given their enthusiasm and the technical inputs continuously provided by DSWD Project Development Officers and partners,” she said.
Elna is thankful that aside from the SLP, Pantawid Pamilya, and SFP, San Isidro is also a beneficiary of other DSWD programs such as the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) and the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens. These programs complement each other in addressing the needs of the vulnerable sectors in the community.
San Isidro is a fourth class municipality comprising of seven barangays. Majority of the residents are poor and have no access to basic services and small scale infrastructures, hence, they are grateful to the national government through DSWD for implementing social protection programs to help uplift the people’s standard of living.
For instance, under Kalahi-CIDSS, community projects such as potable water system, day care center, grade school classrooms, hanging bridge, road concreting have been constructed in the town. Soon, a barangay health station will also be implemented in the area.
“These are welcome development for poor village folks like us who have long yearned for access to government basic services. The convergence of DSWD services here in our town has assured us of the holistic development of the townsfolk,” Elna expounded.
Kalahi-CIDSS is a community-driven development program which mobilizes local residents to participate in local governance using strategies that reduce existing gaps in social inclusion, transparency, accountability, and people’s participation in priority-setting, designing, planning, implementing, operating, and maintaining community development projects and activities.
The 20 women- entrepreneurs of San Isidro demonstrate that they are able to contribute to progress and development in their remote village through hard work and determination, and with the help of government. (DSWD)