Davao City (DSWD XI) – Over 100 community volunteers from Davao Region convened for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Kalahi-CIDSS Community Volunteers’ Camp 2 at World Palace Hotel.

The Kalahi-CIDSS Community Volunteers’ Camp 2 was a three-day Social Marketing initiative where community volunteers gathered in one venue to share experiences. They also engaged in capacity building activities to develop their skills to become champion advocates of the program.

“The Kalahi-CIDSS Community Volunteers’ Camp 2 is an event where volunteers engage with each as co-learners to critically reflect on the issues and needs in their community and then take action to change and materialize them,” said DSWD Regional Director Mercedita P. Jabagat.

She added that the activity provided opportunities for community volunteers to freely share and exchange stories, initiatives, and unique practices that showcase community-driven development (CDD) in their respective municipalities and express it in a form of art.

Community volunteers were divided into three classes: creative writing, visual arts, and theater to maximize their learning opportunity. After the workshops, the volunteers showcased their output during the cultural night

During the camp, a regional network of CDD champions and advocates was established named Davao Region Kalahi-CIDSS Community Volunteers’ Association, composed of one community volunteer representative per municipality.

“The formation of the group is another milestone in the program because the community volunteers will not only help build sub-projects but also help promote the process of Kalahi-CIDSS’ community empowerment and improved local governance,” said Merlinda A. Paragamac, DSWD Promotive Services Division Chief.

She added that the group, composed of 17 members, will lead in promoting the CDD process. The group will also serve as venue for partnership and collaboration which will help ensure participation of residents in local decision-making process and strengthen the link between citizens and Local Government Units (LGU).  

Royeca Palbe, the first community volunteer elected as one of the members of Kalahi-CIDSS Community Volunteers’ Association, shared her experiences in the recent national activity.

 “Ang akong nakat-unan kauban ang mga volunteers sa lain laing rehiyon, naa diay tay oportunidad nga mu duso ug mu impluwensya sa mga naa sa gobyerno nga maoy nagadisisyon ug nagahimo og mga balaod (I’ve learned with my fellow community volunteers from different regions that we have the opportunity to lobby and influence government key decision-makers and policy makers).”

She said she encouraged other community volunteers to appeal  for  the continuation of CDD.

Kalahi-CIDSS 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. Citizens identify their community needs and take part in implementing projects that will address these needs. (DSWD)