Sustainable agriculture and resilient agri-business development in Mercedes
The Municipality of Mercedes is an agricultural and coastal town located at the southernmost tip of the Province of Camarines Norte. Its economy thrives mainly from farming through large parcels of paddy rice lands to vegetable farm lots, and fishing from the San Miguel Bay leading to the Pacific Ocean. Given its geographical location,Mercedes is faced with various natural hazards such as Typhoon, Tsunami, Earthquake, Landslide and Storm Surge. And with a large population whose basic livelihood is agriculture, several vulnerabilities follow suit. But in the last few years, Mercedes has been a constant awardee of various local disaster response competitions. Its involvement of youth from the schools is also very commendable.
And in 2013-2014, after several trainings on Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management or CBDRRM, Mercedes, through a technical assistance and capacity-building project implemented by the Center for Disaster Preparedness, has accomplished the following:
- CBDRRM Orientation for all its 26 Barangays from the Barangay DRRMC level up to the Purok Level
- Municipal and Barangay DRRM Planning
- Early Warning Systems and Contingency Plans for the Municipality and the Barangays
- Policy - A Municipal DRRM Code being crafted by the Sangguniang Bayan of the Local Council
Mercedes is just one of the hundred many other municipalities that are vulnerable to various hazards. According to the World Disasters Report in 2014, the Philippines is the second most vulnerable country to disasters. The typhoons that hit the country the past years are also the strongest in its history due to a changing climate.
Wanton destruction of the environment has also made it worse. Illegal logging and illegal modes of fishing threaten the ecosystem. Armed conflict, demolitions, and so-called development projects displace families and communities, adding to the already dire poverty situation. The poverty situation also inhibits the people’s ability to cope and recover from these hazards unless we develop their capacities and to create disaster resilient communities.
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DRREAM BIG Project in Basud and Paracale, Camarines Norte
The municipalities of Basud and Paracale are located in the Province of Camarines Norte in the Bicol region. Mainly dedicated to the cultivation of disaster-resilient villages, the DRREAM BIG Project selected two focus barangays in each locality, namely San Felipe, Taba-Taba, Dalnac and Labnig. These vulnerable communities were specifically chosen due to their high exposure and susceptibility to both natural and human-induced hazards. Hence, the project saw an imperative need to foster a culture of safety and resilience, particularly for the children and youth.
Set up by the CDP and UNICEF as a joint project, the aspiration was to work towards the integration of child risk and vulnerability assessments in the chosen barangays’ planning processes with a particular emphasis on the engagement of the children and youth in risk management. Alongside this, local assistance was provided in the selected communities to adopt, promote and sustain behaviors and practices through resources, knowledge, skills and systems in place in order to improve their safety and resilience to stresses and shocks. The key of this project lies in inclusive, participatory, and Community-Based Child-Centered Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (CB CCDRRM) education. In promoting an atmosphere of safety and wellbeing for the children and youth, ample opportunities arise for the young community members to be involved in Community-Based DRRM as pioneers, leaders, and even champions ensuring a sustained representation.
During its two-year project span from 2014 to 2016 the DRREAM BIG project advanced above and beyond its targeted aims. While the project was initially designed to cover only the barangay-level, it dreamed bigger and paved the way to one of the project’s significant milestones: the systematization of CB CCDRRM beyond the barangays extending the project sphere to cover the municipalities and the province of Camarines Norte as a whole, shaping a vital partnership with the Provincial DRRM Office and encouraging them to share its own resources in CCDRRM.
Furthermore the following accomplishments of the project stand out in particular:
Effectively foster child-centered and risk informed DRRM and development plans and policies within the local government units;
Creation of two community-based child-centered DRRM (CB CCDRRM) modules for adults and children alike through the facilitation of CDP in a participatory write-shop with UNICEF partners;
Active participation and completion of more than originally anticipated target number in the planned project activities;
Exchange of knowledge and practices on the ground between barangays and schools led to streamlined evacuation center management and integration of teachers in trainings within the communities;
Organization and activation of DILG-mandated Youth Task Force in all four barangays, which encouraged young people to also spearhead DRRM activities;
Raising awareness and education on the importance of DRRM and how to prepare for, prevent, and mitigate the effects of the manifold hazards, risks and vulnerabilities in the community.
In essence, the DRREAM BIG project has laid the foundation for Camarines Norte’s culture of resilience and initiated a momentum to persistently engage in and advocate for CB CCDRRM. The chosen barangays San Felipe, Dalnac, Labnig, and Taba-Taba are now better prepared for hazards and risks they face and may experience in the future also taking a leading position in CB CCDRRM efforts towards the attainment of safer and more resilient communities.
With the children and youth now attaining a vanguard role on this journey, the project has not only highlighted the depth of DRRM strategies, but also addressed developmental issues on a greater level. DRREAM BIG has paved the road for all other communities in Camarines Norte opening up new and approachable possibilities for everyone involved.
After all, the vulnerable communities are set for a better future that supports a sustainable and resilient development plan for their children and generations to come.
You can help us reach out to more schools and communities and engage with more children and youth. Make an impact today!
PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY
The photos and videos in our gallery are a clear testament to the impact we have on the communities and individuals we work with. Take a look at the warm memories from our past engagements. Each moment serves to remind us of our goals for the transformation of the Philippines towards resilience, one community at a time.
"Sa iba po ang tingin nila sa bata ay 'yung batang talagang naglalaro, 'yun lang ang ginagagawa. Pero 'pag papahalagahan mo po sila ay malaki ang maitutulong nila sa lipunan.
Kimberly Mae Laviña
"Marami na po akong natutunan, tulad ng sa bantang panganib, sa mga kahinaan po ng aming barangay, kung may kailangan pa po kami o ano pa 'yung kailangan naming i-request sa barangay pa."