Cebu City – Over 300 community volunteers across the Philippines gathered for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Kalahi-CIDSS 2nd National Community Volunteers’ Congress and 4th National BayanI Ka Awards last October 2-5 at Golden Peak Hotel here.

Dubbed as Pagsaulog (celebration)community volunteers from all regions convened to share their experiences and help enrich the Community Driven Development (CDD) strategy as applied in Philippines setting.

It is a venue to recognize the efforts and initiatives of community volunteers, partner Local Government Units (LGUs), and other stakeholders in implementing Kalahi-CIDSS.

“The Kalahi-CIDSS program is intensifying its effort to provide opportunities for community volunteers to freely share and exchange stories, initiatives, and unique practices that helped actualize CDD in their respective municipalities,” said Maria Lourdes T. Jarabe, DSWD Undersecretary and Deputy National Program Director designate for Kalahi-CIDSS.

To maximize their learning opportunity, volunteers visited the municipalities of Moalboal, Dalaguete, Argao, and Pinamungajan.

Volunteers also discussed their learnings and experiences in Kalahi-CIDSS through various collaborative activities and focus group discussions (FGDs).

On the third day, the 4th National BayanI Ka Awardees were recognized. Community volunteers, in their cultural attires, were lauded.

The BayanI Ka! Awards is the annual and highest recognition given by Kalahi-CIDSS to its exemplary community volunteers and partners implementing and promoting the Community-Driven Development.

Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers all over the country vied in nine categories namely Indigenous Peoples’ Welfare, Environment Protection, Improved Local Governance, Gender and Development, Promotion of Just Peace, Persons with Disability, Elderly, Youth, and Sustained Community Volunteers’ Group.

Region XI volunteers were overwhelmed as they bagged nine awards.

Winners from Region XI are 1) Barangay Sub-project Management Committee (BSPMC) Andap, New Bataan; 2) BSPMC Cabayangan, Braulio E. Dujali; 3) BSPMC New Casay, Braulio E. Dujali; 4) BSMPC Dujali, Braulio Dujali; 5) BSPMC Tagugpo, Pantukan; 6) BSPMC Sua-on, Kapalong; 7) Council of Women,  Kapalong; 8) BSPMC Taytayan, Cateel; and 9) BSPMC Cogon Bacaca, Kiblawan.

During the congress, a national network of CDD champions and advocates was established called Kalahi-CIDSS Volunteers Association of the Philippines, composed of one community volunteer representative per region.

“Isa ka pribilehiyo ang mapili nga representante sa tanan community volunteers sa Rehiyon Onse. Ang bag-ong asosayon nga gihimo usa ka pamaagi nga mapalig-on ang CDD ug mapadayon ang hiniusang disisyon sa komunidad sa pag sulbad sa mga problema (It is a privilege to be chosen to represent the community volunteers in Region 11. This new association is one way of strengthening CDD and pursuing the collective decision in solving community problems),” said Royeca Palbe, Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteer of Saranggani, Davao Occidental.

Kalahi-CIDSS or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services is one of the programs of DSWD that uses the CDD approach to empower local communities to undertake their own development projects by actively and directly partaking in local governance in identifying their community needs as well as taking part in implementing projects that will address these needs. (DSWD)