Empowering Communities and Strengthening Partnerships: October 2023 Highlights of SEA Project’s Sustainable Development Initiatives

1. Strengthening Partnerships: SEA Project Team Collaborates with LGUs for Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) project, led by the SEA team, has taken significant strides in aligning its goals with the initiatives of the Municipal Local Government Unit (LGU). In a recent meeting with the Municipal Mayor, Hon. Liecel Seville, the SEA project team discussed strategies to seamlessly integrate the IPAT-SIAD program into the broader framework of LGU development. The Mayor expressed her support and designated Mr. Kenneth Sobremisana as the focal person to spearhead these efforts. This collaboration aims to ensure the sustainability and successful implementation of the program.

2. Empowering Communities: One-Barangay One-Product Concept for Skills and Livelihood Training

To enhance skills and livelihood opportunities, the SEA project proposed a One-Barangay One-Product concept during discussions with the Municipal Mayor. The idea is to establish a more focused product per barangay or association, providing a targeted approach to community development. The Mayor has pledged support, offering facilities in Brgy. Guinobatan for associations requiring production space. Additionally, a budget for specific livelihood projects is set to be available upon submission of a project proposal with a clear sustainability plan, ensuring that local initiatives thrive.

3. Citizen Participation in Local Governance: CSOs Shape 2024 Budget Allocation

Members of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), part of the Collective IPAT-SIAD Team (CIT), actively participated in the Municipal Development Council (MDC) meeting. Their involvement in the deliberation of the 20% LGU share on National Tax for 2024 emphasized priority projects in infrastructure, economic development, and environmental management. The budget allocation also includes specific provisions for barangay infrastructure projects, such as the construction of Farm to Market Roads, showcasing a commitment to community-centric development.

4. Capacity Building and Knowledge Transfer: CIT Meeting Focuses on SIAD Framework

In a recent CIT meeting, the SEA project team engaged in a substantial discussion about the SIAD Framework. This gathering served as an educational platform for CIT members and project staff, providing insights into the SIAD process, its evolution, significance, and integration into development planning. Such knowledge-sharing initiatives contribute to building capacity and fostering a shared understanding of the project’s goals.

5. Community Empowerment: Organizational Assessment and Livelihood Planning in Pilot Barangays

As part of the phase-out plan for the 5 pilot barangays, an Organizational Assessment was conducted in two associations in Barangay Cabilauan and Bilidan. The assessment revealed the need for amendments to the CBL, the creation of an organizational structure defining roles and functions, and the establishment of a process for reports to be submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The Bilidan Farmers Association, facing document retrieval challenges, was recommended to open a bank account, with financial reporting suggested to be done by the treasurer on a monthly or quarterly basis. Both associations identified potential projects: Cabilauan aims to pursue a Pakbet Gardening proposal submitted to the LifeBank Foundation, while Bilidan proposed becoming the sole producer of Malagkit Rice not only in New Lucena but also in the 2nd District area. The Cabilauan Farmers Association requested a bookkeeping training to enhance their person in charge’s skills in accounting. Assessments in other barangays are scheduled for November after the election period.

6. Expansion and Partnerships: MOA Signing Marks Success in Barangay Expansion

A significant milestone was achieved on October 13, 2023, as a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was successfully signed between the SEA and six expansion barangays. The ceremony, witnessed by CSOs, showcased the commitment of the Barangay LGU heads to the IPAT-SIAD program. Municipal Mayor Hon. Liecel M. Seville acknowledged the program’s transformative impact on community values and governance, emphasizing the pivotal role of partnerships in achieving sustainable development.

7. Addressing Concerns Through Dialogue: Inter-Agency Dialogue on Community Concerns

Building on the outcomes of sectoral workshops, an Inter-Agency Dialogue was facilitated on October 20, 2023. This dialogue provided a platform for CSOs, LGUs, and government agencies to address concerns raised during workshops. The LGU and the Regional Office of DSWD responded to specific issues affecting senior citizens, solo parents, and PWDs, demonstrating a commitment to inclusive development through coordinated efforts.

8. Women’s Empowerment Through Livelihood Training: Non-Bake Food Training Initiatives

Responding to the needs raised during CSO workshops, SEA facilitated a Non-Bake Food Training in Brgy. Jelicuon Este on October 27, 2023. This initiative aimed at empowering women in the community with income-generating skills. The positive response from participants and their commitment to forming an organization underscore the potential for sustainable livelihood projects, providing an alternative source of income for the community.

9. Legal Identity for Community Organizations: Successful DATODA Registration

After fulfilling all requirements for registration, the application for registration to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) by DATODA was successfully submitted. This achievement not only provides legal identity to the organization but also opens avenues for future collaboration and support. The community members eagerly await notification from DOLE regarding the status of their application.

10. Fostering Collaboration: Expansion Plans Discussed with Sta. Barbara Mayor

In a courtesy visit to Sta. Barbara, Iloilo on October 26, 2023, the SEA project team, along with Ma’am Charie Perlas, met with Hon. Mayor Dennis Superficial, MD. The team discussed the proposed expansion of the IPAT-SIAD program in the municipality. The Mayor’s positive response and the designation of a focal person, Mr. Vincent Lusaya, reflect the potential for collaboration. Preliminary activities, including data gathering and MOA signing, are on the horizon, signaling a promising partnership between the project team and the LGU.

These developments collectively underscore the commitment of the SEA project to community-driven development, fostering partnerships, and empowering citizens for sustainable change.

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