Women at work.

KAPALONG, Davao del Norte (DSWD XI) – Beaming with confidence, 40 year-old Michelle Lagarto, along with her fellow women community volunteers, proudly shared how their lives changed through Kalahi-CIDSS.

Lagarto and her fellow women volunteers in Barangay Katipunan here successfully led the construction of a P 2,119,839.00-worth 1,300 Linear Meter Drainage Canal through Kalahi-CIDSS NCDDP modality.

Kalahi-CIDSS or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services is one of the core programs of 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, a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer for four years now.

“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 P. Jabagat.

Director Jabagat said, “Through Kalahi-CIDSS, we get to help these women gain more skills beyond what they can perform in their homes. In the end, they feel fulfilled that somehow they are also capable and substantially contributing.”

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, Director Jabagat added.

“Joining Kalahi-CIDSS has given us this confidence that we can learn about new things and make our lives better,” Lagarto said, adding that even though they are not paid, they get a lot of experience and learn so much from the experience.

“Nag-pile mi sa mga hollow blocks, nagbayanihan mi sa paghakot sa mga materyales sa site. Ang sub-proyekto, among gisabutan sa mga volunteers diri nga dapat mahuman gyud namo kini sa takdang oras (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).”

Through the volunteer system, four community clusters (puroks) have been able to benefit from the sub-project. These puroks used to be prone to flooding. Hopefully, never again would water overflow and flood homes when it rains hard in Katipunan.

Women count

Based on DSWD records, 55% of Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers in Region XI are women -8,645 volunteers and laborers in the construction of community sub-projects.

With this opportunity at their fingertips, women become more involved in Barangay Katipunan’s development.

“I am thankful to Kalahi-CIDSS for its support in creating this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and for other female community volunteers,” said Lagarto.

Women in Barangay Katipunan have overcome the barriers and happily emerged as empowered game changers. (DSWD)