Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteers in Northern Mindanao gathered in a Community-driven development (CDD) Congress held in Cagayan de Oro City, May 15-17, 2024.

To intensify the promotion of CDD, the strategy used by the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) in addressing community needs, the Congress gathered its stakeholders to impart essential CDD principles and document their valuable experiences and insights gained from their involvement in the program.

Participants revisited the definition of CDD, a globally recognized strategy for addressing poverty. CDD helps poor communities identify challenges and make informed decisions on locally identified development options.

CDD is based on the principles of barangay development planning, as outlined in Republic Act 7160, also known as the Local Government Code of 1991.  Kalahi-CIDSS urges its volunteers to become active members of their Barangay Development Councils to sustain community-driven development in their locality.

“Ang empowerment wala siya’y timeline; mahimo siyang realidad kung puy-an sa community ang culture sa CDD,” (There is no timeline in empowerment; it will only become a reality if CDD culture is embedded in the community), said Rogelio Alabado, Social Development Unit Head.

By engaging ordinary citizens in inclusive planning, budgeting, and implementation of development projects, communities can achieve greater access to basic services.

Since 2015, Kalahi-CIDSS Northern Mindanao has delivered 4,392 subprojects, improving basic development infrastructures such as clean water, farm-to-market roads, electrification, among others. More than 1.8 million households in Northern Mindanao have benefited from these projects, and a total of 4.7 billion worth of grants have been allocated from various fund sources.

Thousands of communities across the country enlisted as “partners” of the program continue to undergo empowerment activities where poor people are engaged as subjects rather than objects of development. More than 62,566 community volunteers have been involved in the planning, purchasing, and managing of community-chosen projects. Volunteers have been challenged to expedite the remaining 76 subprojects out of 1,688 implemented this year in 25 municipalities within Region X.

The CDD Congress also recognized exemplary volunteers through the Bayani Ka! Awards, who wholeheartedly accepted CDD practices, principles, and systems as their way of life in the community. The Congress hosted a Diorama contest, in which Baungon, Bukidnon, won first place with a cash prize of Php10,000.

Kalahi-CIDSS is preparing for a new project called Panahon ng Pagkilos, which will focus on grassroots involvement in addressing climate change.