Empowering Communities Against Drought
In a groundbreaking initiative, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has unveiled the pioneering Project LAWA (Local Adaptation to Water Access) in the Philippines.
The program, launched on Thursday, marks a significant step towards alleviating the challenges faced by communities grappling with drought conditions, particularly during the El Niño weather phenomenon.
Sustainable Solutions for Water Scarcity
Director Vanessa Goc-ong of DSWD 11, overseeing the Davao Region, elaborated on the project’s mission during a presentation. The heart of Project LAWA lies in aiding drought-affected communities to adapt through strategic interventions that enhance water access.
Goc-ong emphasized the project’s goal to cultivate sustainable solutions and implement interventions that effectively mitigate the hardships endured by these communities during severe droughts.
Focused Expansion and Community Assets
Notably, the project’s initial pilot phase is set to unfold in Monkayo, a municipality at the forefront of this innovative endeavor. Beyond Monkayo, the towns of Laak and Compostela are also slated to benefit from the project’s approach.
The central objective is to construct community physical assets, most notably water ponds, that play a crucial role in bolstering economic activities, even in challenging times.
Striving for Timely Completion
Goc-ong highlighted the significance of this pioneering initiative, underlining that Monkayo’s involvement in Project LAWA serves as a groundbreaking first for the Philippines. The aspiration is to finalize the project by September 15 of the current year, with dedicated efforts to ensure its timely completion.
By harnessing the expertise and commitment of various stakeholders, DSWD aims to set a precedent for water access adaptation strategies.
Inclusivity at the Core
To be eligible for the benefits of Project LAWA, beneficiaries are required to be part of DSWD’s Listahanan program, physically capable, and members of a farmer association.
Director Goc-ong further emphasized that participation is open to individuals enrolled in DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program and Risk Resiliency Program, in addition to other vulnerable sectors. The project envisions a comprehensive approach that provides valuable resources to diverse beneficiaries.
Empowering Through Economic Support
An essential component of Project LAWA is the cash-for-training and -work scheme, designed to empower beneficiaries economically. Edmund Lawian, a 68-year-old beneficiary of this initiative, expressed gratitude for the project’s potential impact.
Lawian acknowledged the positive influence it could have on his family’s financial stability, particularly in supporting his college-bound child.
A Government Response to El Niño Challenges
In a message conveyed by Diana Rose Cajipe, the Undersecretary for the Disaster Response Management Group, DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian highlighted the project’s significance. Gatchalian underscored that Project LAWA stands as a government response to confront the adversities posed by El Niño.
By extending direct aid to affected farmers and communities, the initiative serves as a proactive measure to combat the potentially prolonged impacts of drought conditions.
As the DSWD spearheads this pioneering effort, Project LAWA sets the stage for enhanced water access, economic empowerment, and resilient communities in the face of challenging climatic conditions.