Davao City (DSWD XI) – Over 800 community volunteers from 27 implementing municipalities participated in the recent Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Kalahi-CIDSS Community Volunteers’ Congress at Grand Menseng Hotel.

Divided into five batches, the congress spanned from November through December.

Volunteers come from the municipalities of Kiblawan, Sta. Maria, Malalag (Davao Del Sur); Braulio E. Dujali, Kapalong, San Isidro, New Corella (Davao del Norte); Montevista, Compostela, Pantukan (Compostela Valley); Baganga, Lupon, Governor Generoso, San Isidro (Davao Oriental); and Jose Abad Santos, Don Marcelino, Saranggani (Davao Occidental).

The annual congress serves as an avenue of rich exchange of learnings and experiences of community volunteers that led to the successful program implementation of Community Driven Development (CDD).

Kalahi-CIDSS, one of the core programs of DSWD, is a community-driven development initiative of the Philippine Government aiming to empower people through sustainable development, enhanced participation in local governance, and management of poverty alleviation projects.

“This Kalahi-CIDSS Community Volunteers Congress, which pioneered here in Region XI, is essential because this is where our volunteers formally gather and learn from each other. They will be given the opportunity to pesent their inspiring stories and be recognized of their hard work and selfless dedication in implementing the program in their respective localities,” said DSWD XI Regional Director Mercedita P. Jabagat.

Select volunteers provided testimonies and best practices such as how Kalahi-CIDSS strengthened women’s participation, the sustainability mechanisms they installed in the barangay, stories of massive volunteerism, and their struggles and triumphs in community mobilization.

We have installed a volunteers’ gallery to showcase their achievements and milestones in the municipalities, Director Jabagat shared.

Volunteers also pledged their support in sustaining program gains, she added.

Director Jabagat believes the congress series is a big help in eliciting community volunteers’ recommendations in crafting mechanisms to ensure CDD institutionalization, as it has become a substantial learning session on how these volunteers will carry on the lessons of CDD together with the Barangay Local Government Unit. (DSWD)