8 months ago


Empowered Citizens

Empowered Citizens Josel’s chronicle of service with a heart Jasmin P. Kiaso “With my community in high spirits. I witnessed how bayanihan helped strengthen and developed our community,” Gender, age, and education is no barrier in serving your community. Joselito Rodriguez, 24, a member of LGBT in Villaviciosa, Abra proved this. KALAHISerye 2016|| 29 “Josel” as he is fondly called became the youngest Barangay Sub-project Management Committee (BSPMC) Chairperson of DSWD Kalahi- CIDSS in the region when he responded to the call of service to his community. His story echoes a journey of learning while serving in his community. As a high school

graduate, his willingness to serve pushed him to enhance his knowledge and skills in community work. JOSEL’S FIRST STEPS AS A LEADER When Kalahi-CIDSS was first introduced in Villaviciosa, Abra in 2014, Josel admitted that he was reluctant in joining the committee of volunteers. But through the encouragement of his community and after much reflection, he decided to take the challenge. He joined as a participatory situational analysis volunteer and was eventually chosen as the BSPMC Chairperson at the age of 22. Since then he diligently learned the processes and purposes of Kalahi-CIDSS. Learning about it was “tough and was a real challenge,” he said. “There were a lot of things to learn and there were times that I thought I could not do it,” he narrated in vernacular. But the kind words and encouragement from his people gave him strength to push himself to the maximum and learn. “It was a gradual process before I learned what Kalahi-CIDSS is trying to achieve,” he continued. Josel started to understand the purpose of Kalahi- CIDSS after attending capacity building activities organized by the DSWD with the local government of Villaviciosa. As a volunteer of Kalahi-CIDSS, Josel had seen and heard people complaining on the slow and long processes of the program. “At first, we were impatient on how things are being done but as we continued, I understood that the meetings or consultations is important in making our decisions,” he added. “Explaining to our fellow residents became our nonstop job as a volunteer,” he continued. Young as he is, he acknowledges that learning and understanding community-driven development would take a long time to accept and practice by heart. Many from the community still fail to understand the need to have volunteers. “During the second cycle, nobody wants to volunteer anymore because it seemed like all of us were caught up in our daily life trying to work for our families,” he explained. Josel said that they experienced birth pains during the first cycle of the program as gathering at least 80% of household population became the real challenge. “However, when we were prioritized during the second cycle, we were relieved and reenergized,” he said with delight. “With my community in high spirits. I witnessed how bayanihan helped strengthen and developed our community,” he added. KALAHISerye 2016|| 30

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