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Sustainable water through community-driven development

Malalag, Davao del Sur (DSWD XI) – Bathing, washing and drinking were major chores for the townsfolk in Barangay Caputian here. Every day, residents had to walk and brave the long strenuous hike to the nearest reservoir located in the mountain to haul potable water for their families.

But now, access to clean, potable and safe water has come into fruition through the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), which supported the community in the installation of a Level II water system.

The project provided a grant allocation worth Php2,689,784.00 with local counterpart contribution of Php127,626.00.

Residents have become more productive because they can now fetch water closer to their homes. This also lowers security risks, especially to women and girls, as they no longer have to collect water early morning and in the evening.

Struggles

“Before Kalahi-CIDSS entered our barangay, our sub-projects here would not usually last because the community did not agree on the operation and maintenance aspect,’ shared Celedelia T. Liston, 39, Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteer.

At the time the Kalahi-CIDSS project was drawn up, there was inadequate community participation for the construction of the new potable water system.

“When we initiated collecting money for the maintenance of the sub-project, some doubted our intention. They were wary that we will misuse the funds. I understood their doubts because of our previous experiences. These challenges motivated us to do better to gain the community’s trust,” Liston narrated.

She added, when Kalahi-CIDSS entered their barangay, they used their new knowledge and skills to avoid the problems they encountered before.    

Opportunities and new beginnings

After the turnover of the sub-project, community volunteers launched Caputian Water System Association (CAWASA). This was organized to support the operations and maintenance of the water system once Kalahi-CIDSS exits.

The association aims to ensure that the operations and maintenance of completed sub-projects under Kalahi-CIDSS are managed well so that they will last and can benefit generations in the future,” said Liliosa B. Caranas, CAWASA President.

Last October 2018, the community made their organization officially legal when they registered CAWASA with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).   

Through the association, they are now able to establish linkages with other stakeholders for resource mobilization and policy support. They can also be included at organizations and committees such as the Local Development Council.

“We learned the importance of transparency in Kalahi-CIDSS. Our responsibility doesn’t end once the sub-project is turned over to the barangay. We have the responsibility to take care of it. The process of the program also built trust among the residents here. People are also motivated to participate and take part in decision-making,” shared Lolita C. Gulay, CAWASA treasurer.

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the programs of DSWD that uses the community-driven development (CDD) approach to empower local communities to undertake their own development projects by actively and directly involving in local governance, such as identifying their community needs, as well as taking part in implementing projects that will address these needs.

“We have always been proud of the strengthened collaboration with ordinary citizens gathered for the united purpose of maintaining the sub-project and making a significant change in the lives of the people,” stressed DSWD Regional Director Mercedita P. Jabagat.

She added that the community did not only gain a sub-project but also intangible accomplishments attributable to community volunteers who relentlessly advocate participation, transparency, accountability, and empowerment in the local development process.

The potable water system through Kalahi-CIDSS will benefit 467 families.

Through their operations and maintenance group CAWASA, it can be assured that the sub-project in Barangay Caputian will be maintained and will last so that more lives will benefit. (DSWD)

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