Overcoming difficulties

Story by Reine Kathryn Rala/CRS; Christopher Quiza/CCFI; Ian Fruto Ebrada/CCFI

Photo by Reine Kathryn Rala/CRS

For Ryan Rosco’s family, the months from October to December are difficult period in Brgy. Magtaon, Mapanas to sufficiently feed his family.

“It was very difficult before (the project) to find a living during the rainy season. Since our sources of living are not regular, it has been difficult to keep resources (food or money) to be used during difficult times, particularly the rainy season. My family had lesser alternatives to earn and survive,” Ryan said.

For Ryan Rosco’s family, the months from October to December are difficult period in Brgy. Magtaon, Mapanas to sufficiently feed his family. Brgy. Magtaon is a coastal community in Northern Samar, facing the Pacific Ocean. Waves are fierce making it difficult for fishers to catch and tough for farmers to grow crops.

“It was very difficult before (the project) to find a living during the rainy season. Since our sources of living are not regular, it has been difficult to keep resources (food or money) to be used during difficult times, particularly the rainy season. My family had lesser alternatives to earn and survive,” Ryan said.

Since June 2016, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in partnership with Caritas Catarman Foundation Inc. (CCFI) and with support from the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Development Assistance (USAID/OFDA), aim to increase the capability of vulnerable communities in Northern Samar to prepare for and recover from frequent typhoons through the Adaptive Community Transformation (ACT) Project.

The project has already reached at least 1,900 households within 12 months of project implementation. The project intends to target 14,100 direct beneficiaries (2,820 households); 16,950 indirect beneficiaries (100% of an estimated population of 30 targeted barangays) from the 122,710 people (estimated total population of 5 targeted municipalities) affected by TY Nona on December 2016. Ryan’s family is directly benefitting from the project.

Providing livelihoods intervention

On occasional basis, Ryan accepts jobs as mason in community construction projects. As his earnings is irregular and inadequate to support his 6-member household, he was selected as one of the beneficiaries of ACT Project. The project is providing intervention thru activities that enables households to adopt to resilient livelihoods strategies, build asset bases for crises and support them to effectively prepare and respond to natural disaster, particularly typhoon. Ryan’s family survived the devastation of Typhoon Nona in December 2015.

On an occasional basis, Ryan accepts job as a mason in community construction projects. As his earnings are irregular and inadequate to support his 6-member household, he was selected as one of the beneficiaries of ACT Project. The project is providing intervention thru activities that enable households to adopt two resilient livelihood strategies, build asset bases for crises and support them to effectively prepare and respond to natural disasters, particularly typhoon. Ryan’s family survived the devastation of Typhoon Nona in December 2015.

Before beneficiaries received cash grants, Ryan participated in a training on typhoon-resilient practices specific to swine fattening. Participation in this activity is a pre-requisite to receiving their first cash tranche.

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“I installed a nipple drinker for the swine to easily drink water. The training taught us how to guide the swine to drink water from the nipple drinker. I also made sure that the pig pen is properly constructed and cleaned at all times. I used appropriate materials as required by the project,” Ryan shared his learning from the training.

“The bigger and heavier the swine, the more earning I gain from swine fattening. I will use the proceeds to buy another one to fatten again,” he excitedly shared. He plans to sell his swine in August so the swine grows enough and heavier in time for their barangay fiesta. At times, he would also fish but for consumption only.

The project has completed registration of 2,550 livelihoods beneficiaries across all livelihoods options: aquaculture, livestock and crops. At least 75% of the registered beneficiaries who were trained specifically to their livelihood option have received their first cash tranche to initiate support in buying materials and stocks stipulated in the production plan. Within a year of implementation, a total of US$ 157,460.00 (PHP 7,873,000) has been distributed to at least 1,533 livelihoods beneficiaries across 3 livelihoods options.

Saving for the rainy season

Ruth, Ryan’s wife is taking care full time of their four children. “Before (the project) we do not know how to save. We do not have savings. We have none to save. When times are difficult, during rainy season, we have nothing to turn to,” Ryan laments. “Nowadays, I find time to participate in SILC meetings and save some”, Ruth gladly said.

Aside from providing intervention specific to livelihoods beneficiaries have chosen, a member of a household is encouraged to participate in the Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) Groups and save for a duration of at least 9 months. On a weekly basis, each member of SILC Groups saves at least PhP50.00 that can be accessed to support their chosen livelihood options. While waiting for share-out, members can apply for loan to further support their livelihoods activities.

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To date, A total of 90 SILC groups has been formed from 30 barangays. At least 1,946 out of the 2,025 enlisted SILC beneficiaries (1,724 females and 222 males) are actively saving. The total savings for the 90 groups is US$27, 949.38 (PHP 1,397,469.00) at US$ 14.36 (PHP 718.12) average savings per active SILC member.

Participating in risk assessments

The project has also facilitated a community risk assessment in Brgy. Magtaon. Members of the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (BDRRMC), purok[1] leaders, women representatives, farmers/fishermen, youth, differently-abled persons, and senior citizen participated in the CRA workshops. Community members in the barangay are guided in using risk assessment tools which included hazard history, hazard assessment table, community risk map, seasonal calendar, capacities and vulnerability assessment, alternative livelihoods, social Venn diagram, and identifying elements at-risk. The results of the CRA activity has been validated through a barangay general assembly. The results of the activity will form part of the community’s early warning system (EWS), evacuation procedure, as well as M/BDRRM contingency plans.

In the following months, Ryan’s family will continue to receive support from the project. He will receive another set of training on swine fattening as well as receive mentoring through monitoring activities of livelihoods staffs. Ruth will continue to participate in SILC Group meetings until she receives her full savings plus interest income after their group saving cycle. The family will be invited to participate as well in livelihoods and preparedness planning as well as in a community drill at the barangay level to be conducted before the project ends.

 

[1] Purok also known as a zone, is a political subdivision of a barangay. It is the smallest unit of governance in the Philippines.

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