Millennium Development Goal – Family-Based Actions for Children and their Environs in the Slums
“It takes a village to raise a child”
Philippines being one of the 189 nationshaspledged to support the eight (8) Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that focuses to help alleviate people from extreme poverty and other deprivations and thus, the birth of the Millennium Development Goals: Family-Based Actions for Children and their Environs in the Slums (MDG-FACES). This program primarily focuses on improving the lives of the children and the informal settler families living in urban areas of the community most especially in the slums. The FACES program has identified the face of the urban poverty by identifying the children in the slums.
San Carlos City was chosen to implement the program starting CY2012 and is greatly supported by the Local Government Unit headed by the City Mayor, Hon. Gerardo P. Valmayor, Jr.; active involvement of the City Core Team, and the receptiveness of the family-beneficiaries that aims to significantly build a village to raise a child.
San Carlos City is a Second (2nd) Class component city in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. It is situated in the heart of the Visayan Island in the Central Philippines close to the main sea lanes. With a total population of about Eight (8) Million, it is close to the domestic and international trading and communication links to Cebu. San Carlos City is compose of 18 barangays, of which, 6 are urban and 12 rural. Among the slum communities, Barangay VI (San Juan Baybay, Zone 6) was selected and given priority to be the MDG-FACES project community. Located 1kilometer away from the city proper, 60 children and 60 families were selected for the project. The project aims to enhance the capacities of mother beneficiary to identify the issues and needs as well as set targets for their families especially their children and monitor their progress.
The identified two (2) livelihood projects for Brgy. VI were cooking/baking and sewing which started last September 4, 2013. There were twelve (12) beneficiaries for cooking and fifteen (15) for sewing and everyday they are required to report to the livelihood laboratory. The LGU provides tools and ingredients for baking/cooking “kakanin” (puto cheese, palitao&cuchinta) and sell it to friends, nearby offices and can also be made available by order basis. For sewing, an environment-friendly material was introduced. Beneficiaries are taught to recycle tarpaulins owned by the city into Eco Bags. Tools and materials were also provided for them to make bed sheets, pillows and curtains. The products are sold at a very affordable price.
Before the implementation of the MDG-FACES project in Brgy. VI, most of the family-beneficiaries encounter problems such as crowded residential areas, living in temporary/make-shift houses, poor sanitation problem, unemployment of most parents, no sustainable source of income and malnutrition for children.
In June 2012, San Carlos City created the City Core Team or the Project Management Team to lead the implementation of the MDG-FACES project through the Executive Order No. 50. It was composed of the key department heads of the city government together with the faith-based organizations. The CSWDO as the Focal Person served as the key player of the project in providing orientations, launching programs, workshop/planning, skills training cum livelihood, values formation classes, bible studies & other family-oriented activities. The team encountered difficulties to get the support of beneficiaries for they are hesitant at first to believe and trust the true essence of the project. But then, with the orientations conducted, they have opened their heart and minds and claim that eventually the project will provide them opportunities to improve their lives. Now, the city government takes pride for havingBrgy. Buluangan (SitioLawis) as a replicated barangay with 40 children beneficiaries and this year the 3rd expansion with additional beneficiaries at Brgy. Rizal with 36 beneficiaries as well as the additional funds allocated by the Mayor Gerardo P. Valmayorin order to create more villages to raise children and help alleviate the lives of family-beneficiaries.
Several health and social services were accessed by the families through the FACES project with the vast support of the City Government through allocation of additional funds and the beneficiaries were empowered to meet the needs of their families particularly the children.
Specifically, the impact is seen to the family-beneficiariesas follows: (1) decreased number of malnourished children through the milk feeding program, deworming, vitamin supplementation as well as dental services; (2) increased number of school children by monitoring the child through his teacher and the provision of free tuition fees, uniforms and school supplies; (3) additional income for beneficiaries through the Livelihood Laboratory such as Eco-bag and “kakanin” making; (4) provision of SEED capital through self employment (buy & sell of vegetables; swine fattening); and (5) environmental awareness through proper waste disposal, sanitation & hygiene and the provision of sanitary toilets.
KEY IMPLEMENTATION STEPS
1. Creation of the Project Core Team
Last June 2012, Hon. Mayor Gerardo P. Valmayor, Jr. issued an Executive Order No. 50, creating the City Core Team (CCT) or the Project Management Team for the implementation of the MDG-FACES Project. The CCT is composed of the following: SP Member, Chairman, Committee on Women, Family & Children; SP Member, Chairman, Committee on Health, Sanitation & Social Services; CSWDO (Focal Person); CHO; CPDO; Liga President; CLGOO; EO-CDRRMO; DepEd; San Carlos Integrated Housing Authority; Solid Waste Management Officer; and representatives from the Social Action Center.
2. Conduct of Meeting
The City Core Team conducted meetings to formulate the action plan on the implementation of the MDG-FACES project. A Technical Working Group (TWG) was institutionalized in order to monitor the status of the beneficiaries as well the livelihood projects. The CCT spearheads the orientations, community assemblies and launching programs. The Local Government Academy has given an amount of P60, 000. 00 upon signing of the MOA. As of this year, the LGU has funded the project in the amount of P934, 000.00 and the LCE has promised P 1M counterpart to fund more barangay replications next year.
3. Identification of Beneficiaries
Out of 18 barangays, Barangay San Juan Baybay was chosen to pilot the FACES project through actual survey of the most number of depressed families living in the area. The Community Organizers (COs) made recommendations on who will qualify as potential family-beneficiaries of the project. The indicators include: (1) No. of years residing in the slum; (b) source of income; (c) number of children; (d) type of materials houses as made. Solo parents were also given priority by the COs.
There were 60 families and 60 children identified beneficiaries in Brgy. San Juan Baybay in the first year of implementation. They have undergone series of activities such as orientations and social preparation in order to thoroughly understand the purpose of the project. At SitioLawis, Barangay Buluangan, there were 40 children-beneficiaries identified, 20 girls and 20 boys thus, the birth of Project LAWIS (Lessening poverty Attributes to Wealthy & productive Individuals through Skills development). The 3rd expansion of the project was identified at Barangay Rizal with 36 family-beneficiaries. It was launched last August 6, 2014 headed by Mayor Gerardo P. Valmayor, Jr. and the City Core Team.
4. Social Preparation
The CSWDO as the Focal Person for this project conducted site inspection to validate the data given by COs team leader in order to finalize the list of beneficiaries.
The TWG made an action plan that will serve as a guide in order to accomplish the steps in social preparation up to the actual implementation. An MDG-FACES orientation was attended by the family-beneficiaries for them to understand the real essence of the project. The project core team conducted a community assembly and orientation of program component followed by the Launching Program of which all the beneficiaries were present together with Mayor Valmayor and the CCT. In this activity, the CCT presented the PPAs for the beneficiaries. Pledge of Commitment by the CCT and COs was led by Mayor Valmayor. This will seal the commitment of the working force to make the FACES project successful and build a better life for the beneficiaries. Several workshops were conducted in order to know the issues and concerns of the beneficiaries. This will serve as a guide to make necessary coordination to make solutions to stated problems.
In Barangay Buluangan, a replicated barangay, 40 beneficiaries were identified and oriented on the project. There was a launching of the project where beneficiaries will commit and pledge their support and claim the principle of the project which is to make lives better. A community workshop was also attended by the beneficiaries followed by the profiling activities. It is also important for the families to go through the MDG indicators to get the real issues and concerns.
The project was launched in June 2012 of which the CCT together with the COs spearheaded the launching program. Values Formation was conducted in order for the beneficiaries to deepen and commit themselves to put dedication to the project that will eventually improve their lives.
The parent-beneficiaries, with the supervision of the CCT has identified 2 demonstration projects at the Livelihood Laboratory, the Eco-bag Sewing and the “kakanin” baking of which these livelihood projects will help sustain their daily needs. They have undergone trainings and seminars in order to be fully equipped with the technique and procedures. The materials and ingredients were all provided by the project for the parent-beneficiaries. Products were sold at very reasonable price and the marketing was being supported by the employees of the LGU as well as school partners of the project. With the assistance of the LGU, an MDG-FACES Livelihood Laboratory was established as a venue for production.
The provision of SEED capital through self-employment and investing in buy & sell of vegetables and swine fattening has given the parent-beneficiaries to be responsible and committed to take initiative to make these income-generating projects worthwhile.
C. Monitoring and Evaluation
Regular meetings are being conducted by the CCT and the family-beneficiaries in order to discuss and make necessary solutions to issues and concerns, and to ensure that problems are being addressed as well as hear feedbacks and updates regarding the sustainability of the project.
As to marketing of products, there are partnership forged with the different organizations, business sectors, academes and the LGU. This will ensure the marketability of the products and eventually produce more to participate in community trade fairs.
As for the children and students concern, the COs has been very active to monitor grades school performance and behaviors. Teachers and principals are aware of the project thus, making it easier for the COs to monitor and follow-up the status of the children.
The CCT together with the Secretariat monitor and update the status of every beneficiaries, livelihood projects implemented, on-going programs and values and behavioral concerns of all the beneficiaries who has committed to support the project. Evaluation of the performance will be presented to the members and will be given consideration and solutions in cases where it is needed. In other LGU programs, the beneficiaries are prioritized in order to help their quality of life. Thus, they are assured of the full support of the LGU especially of the LCE.
D. Lessons Learned
It is a big opportunity for a family to be given a chance to improve their quality of life through the MDG-FACES project. This has become a battlecry for the families living in the slums. Take the risk and grab the opportunity to be guided with the people who believe that each one has to face the realities of life. The LGU and the beneficiaries should work hand in hand in order to achieve goals of the project. The project has brought lessons and realizations in the lives of the beneficiaries. These will serve as inspiration to move forward to achieve something in life.
Social preparation is one of the significant aspects of the project of which LGUs, CCTs and COs experienced difficulties. Meetings and consultations with the beneficiaries is at first difficult to conduct cause of hesitation and not believing with the project itself. Family members has other immediate concerns that time is precious in making ways to find money for the family. But with the dedication and inspiration from the CCTs, beneficiaries have attended the orientation and consultation meetings and were given ideas as to the primary objectives of the project.
The CCT exerted time and effort to motivate the beneficiaries on the importance of the project and trust the LGU in working hard to combat poverty in the community and prioritize the welfare of the people. Through cooperation, commitment & support of both parties, the project was successfully implemented and slowly taking steps to improve the lives of the beneficiaries. Thus, MDG-FACES can now build villages to raise children who will become leaders of the future.