KAPALONG, Davao del Norte: Brimming with confidence, 40-year-old Michelle Lagarto, along with her fellow women community volunteers, shared how their lives changed after completing a drainage project here.
Lagarto and other women volunteers in Barangay Katipunan led the construction of the P2,119,839 worth 1,300 Linear Meter Drainage Canal through Kalahi-CIDSS NCDDP
Kalahi-CIDSS or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services is one of the core programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that aims to empower communities through enhanced participation in local governance and management of poverty alleviation projects.
The program also promotes inclusion of women in paid physical labor, planning, and decision making for social development issues at the community level.
Initially, the Kalahi-CIDSS program was a challenge to the women in Katipunan.
“In the beginning, many women were hesitant to join since it is the first time that they would balance their tasks between the community and the home,” admitted Lagarto.
“For the longest time, most women have stayed in the four corners of their home taking care of their children and husband, resolutely doing never-ending domestic chores,” said DSWD XI Regional Director Mercedita Jabagat.
Jabagat said that through Kalahi-CIDSS, they helped these women gain more skills.
The program also provides opportunities for a leadership position to most women. This way, they get to hone their strengths, and improve their self-esteem, Jabagat added.
Lagarto said that while they receive no compensation for doing the project, they learned so much from the experience.
“We piled hollow blocks, we hauled construction materials to the site. We agreed among volunteers here that we should complete the sub-project on time,” Lagarto said in Visayan dialect.
Through the volunteer system, four flood-prone community clusters (purok) benefited from the sub-project.
Based on DSWD records, 55 percent of 8,645 Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers in Region XI are women.