Thursday, May 26, 2016

DSWD empowers Bicol poor with more livelihood training programs
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, May 25 (PNA) – The regional office for Bicol of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is not relenting on its task of building the capacity of the poor towards sustainable living.

Recently, 170 beneficiaries completed various training courses held in this city on skills enhancement that provided them the knowledge and capabilities either for future employment or microenterprise development under the agency’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

After the completion of the week-long training program themed “Strengthening People to End Poverty and Promote Progress”, the beneficiaries, who are considered within Albay’s poorest-of-the-poor sector, were awarded certificates of completion which they could use in applying for work.

DSWD Bicol Regional Director Arnel Garcia on Wednesday said the latest graduates have advanced one step ahead to improve their living realized as the rally to work towards mutually inclusive sustainable growth continues under strategic partnerships between businesses and underprivileged communities in promoting mutually inclusive growth through the SLP.

As among the poorest, beneficiaries of this program are also recipients of the Conditional Cash Transfer government subsidy under the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Also under the SLP, the DSWD, together with collaborating agencies -- both government and private, help the beneficiaries find jobs through referrals to different partner industries and available markets in the Bicol region, Garcia said.

Other graduates, he said, are also encouraged to venture into self–employment where they can start a small enterprise or use the starter kits provided to them as part of their completion.

With proper monitoring and assistance, these graduates may also be grouped into an association or have their own spa, rehabilitation clinics or business in the future being graduates of courses in beauty care services and wellness massage provided by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

One of the graduates, Marylyn Bien of Tabaco City who completed the beauty care services, said it feels good that the hardships encountered during the training have gained positive results,given that she was able to improve her talent which she can use anywhere she goes while making use of it as a life time treasure.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) is a community-based capacity-building program of the government that seeks to improve the socio-economic capacity of the poor to enhance access to basic social services and improve their standard of living.

SLP began in 2011 and it designs its projects to mainly increase the communities’ sense of dignity, yield long-term results for all actively participating stakeholders, and maintain consistence with both communities and partner establishments.

The program prioritizes participants who are underprivileged, which are legitimately identified by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

According to Garcia, the main objectives of SLP are providing sufficient and sustainable source of income, giving equal opportunity to gain resources for their needs and skills, and to help people recognize and understand the “new normal.”

Given that DSWD’s pledge at large is geared towards providing capabilities-building and developing strategic and sustainable partnerships, the agency recognizes the need to educate people on how times have changed nowadays, he said.

Because of its commitment to seeding sustainable prosperity, SLP trains the communities to contribute to production and labor markets by utilizing available resources and accessible market.

Through the Community-Driven Enterprise Development (CDED) approach, they are given the option to take either a Micro-Enterprise Development Track or an Employment Facilitation Track.

Both programs also provide social preparedness, furthered skills training, and ultimately, sustainable sources of income.

It also makes sure that the communities are independent enough and the corporate social integration programs are holistic and impactful, Garcia said, adding that SLP would not be holistic without partnering with different institutions.

“Seeding economic prosperity is a major facet in all these efforts. But given a closer look, what SLP really does is it hones individuals to be independent, proud of what they do, and it believes their actions benefit the community at large,” Garcia said.

SLP, according to DSWD records, is only among the Aquino administration’s poverty alleviation programs implemented in Bicol where an amount of at least PHP5.6 billion has been spent for social and anti-poverty projects for poor families in the region, resulting in some notable improvements in living conditions.

These programs include the 4Ps and the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).

The 4Ps program spent PHP4.4 billion for 374,459 families; SLP, PHP380 million for livelihood and micro enterprise development projects of 42,530 beneficiaries; and Kalahi-CIDSS, PHP789 million for a total of 532 community development projects in 26 poor Bicol towns.

Through these, the DSWD said at least one out of 10 poor families in Bicol have improved their well-being and are now out of the poverty threshold. (PNA) BNB/FGS/DOC/CBD