Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Effective community worker must have dedication, patience -- and a bag of must-have items (Feature)
By Jesseshan B. Marbella

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 19 (PNA) -- To most development workers like Rudynen “Rudz” L. Elaurza, their line of work is challenging yet rewarding.

“It requires much patience, and dealing with people from different walks of life is simply about respect,” Rudz, as she is fondly called by her co-workers, confessed, adding “You cannot please everyone around you but you need to maintain an objective approach in dealing with them.”

Such is the life of the field workers of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the core poverty-alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Kalahi-CIDSS seeks to actively engage people by empowering them so they can become active participants in identifying and solving the key problems affecting their communities.

Rudz is one of the field workers or community facilitators (CFs) of Kalahi-CIDSS who are directly responsible for achieving this.

They do this to ensure that all stakeholders, from the communities to the local government units to even third-party groups -- such as civil society organizations -- are involved throughout the process through their active participation.

The CFs are tasked with mobilizing residents to participate in Kalahi-CIDSS and facilitating their participation in the project’s processes and activities, such as barangay assemblies.

Each community facilitator handles five barangays within a Kalahi-CIDSS municipality.

Optimistic

From San Pascual, Libon, Albay, Rudz joined DSWD in 2012 and is now assigned to Gubat, Sorsogon, where she handles and monitors five barangays in the municipality -- Cabiguhan, Carriedo, Casili, Manapao and Payawin.

She learned that it is not easy to be a CF but is optimistic about her work.

“Rudz loves her work,” Joel Esperanzate, one of the residents of Manapao and a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer said, “and I can attest to this, having seen her dedication to her job.”

“We can easily call on her, and she is always willing to help us. She personally comes to us anytime we need her assistance. She teaches us what to do, particularly with paperwork,” Esperanzate said.

Rudz said field workers should love their work and should be dedicated enough to surpass the hardships and demands of the job.

“Since community organizing is the primary duty of a CF, we need to cross boundaries to help the poor people in need,” she said.

For her dedication to work, Rudz was awarded as Bicol’s Best Kalahi-CIDSS Community Facilitator for 2012.

“Dedication to work, however, is not only the instrument of a community facilitator that he or she must in doing his or her job but also must-have items,” she claimed.

Due to the nature of their tasks, Rudz said, it is imperative that CFs are always prepared in their line of work.

Most of community facilitators of Kalahi-CIDSS use backpacks when going out to the areas they are handling.

Rudz, however, prefers her pink shoulder bag, having been used to carrying shoulder bags since she was in high school.

Bag items

The things inside her bag are a silent testament to how dedicated Rudz is in performing her duties.

Kikay Kit. Rudz wants to be presentable and tidy when facing the people in the community so she never forgets to bring her “kikay (vanity) kit.” Aside from the expected comb, face moisturizer, makeup, perfume, powder and lipstick, she also has alcohol, facial tissues and wet wipes, for sanitary purposes. She also has her ointment rub handy for insect bites and body pains. These essentials keep Rudz fresh and neat during her regular field work.

Office Supplies. Rudz’s bag is like a mobile office with all the necessary supplies she needs for community work. Since Kalahi-CIDSS involves a lot of paperwork, she makes sure that she has available office items in her bag. She has a plentiful collection of ballpens for meetings and community assemblies. On top of that, she ensures that she has scissors, stapler, scotch tape, glue stick, correction tape, pencils, markers and sticky notes. Her steno pad keeps a record of her activities and also serves as a journal. She tracks her daily schedule and notes important issues and concerns from the community. This, in return, becomes the basis for her plans of actions.

File Envelope Bag. Forms are important in a CF’s life. Rudz always carries her file envelope bag to ensure that she submits completed documents by the community to the office. Basically, these forms and documents are intended to capture the whole process of empowerment wherein trained residents prepare the said documents needed by the project.

Umbrella. Rudz simply says getting ill is prohibited for field workers like her. Aside from sun protection, the umbrella gives her refuge when the erratic weather shifts into a downpour, especially when she’s out in the field for monitoring.

Digital Camera. Documentation of community activities is required from CFs. Rudz takes her personal point-and-shoot camera to document all activities such as the conduct of community consultations, assemblies and other events related to the implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS. Her camera comes with rechargeable AA batteries and charger.

Office ID. Basically, Rudz always brings her ID to be formally recognized by those unfamiliar with her in the locality.

Pouch. Her violet pouch contains keys, receipts and her ATM card. Her religious side is reflected in her Novena booklet and her rosary. Her money is also in her pouch. She spends about P200 a day on her food, transportation and other expenses.

Cellular Phone. According to Rudz, she can live without most of the other things inside her bag – except for her cellphone. Communication is a vital part of her job, especially since she monitors five different barangays. She maintains a consistent link to those people in the barangay by receiving updates and queries sent through her cellphone. This also keeps her close to her co-workers, family, relatives and friends.

Yes, indeed! To be an effective community facilitator, one must have plenty of dedication to work and patience – and enough must-have items. Take it from Rudz. (PNA) FPV/FGS/DSWD/CBD