MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/8 Oct) – To address poverty and lack of livelihood opportunities at the village level, the church has to do its role in social action. In Bukidnon, the Diocese of Malaybalay has changed tack.
Before organizing livelihood projects, they are now engaging the villages in a community leadership drive using “model villages.”
Fr. Danilo Paciente, social action center director, said that before any other intervention, they have to make sure the communities are ready to help themselves first.
He said there have been many projects initiated in the past which failed in their chosen communities because the recipients did not have the right mindset yet.
“They should not rely on dole-outs. They should know they have the resources, too,” Paciente added.
Beginning this year, the diocese’s SAC will pilot two low cost housing subdivision villages in a project dubbed as the “community leadership and sustainable farming project.”
The projects will be piloted in the Paglaum Village in Kisolon in the municipality of Sumilao and the Samahang Nayon in a purok in Poblacion in Impasug-ong town.
Paciente said they will enroll 25 households in each village to go through a community leadership program that seeks to convert a community into a “model village” at the end of three years.
He said the household heads will undergo an intensive training that employs the “transformative process” of leadership programs.
The opening leadership session begins on October 8 in Kisolon, he said.
Paciente said the process begins with self-mastery, then leadership in the family, in the community, and then the nation.
He said household heads in small communities must bear the right attitude, skills, and habits. He added that this is to improve their lives so they could also empower their families and contribute to the development of the community and development.
Paciente said among the key personal skills they want to share is the mastery of time management.
“Time is a resource that each individual possesses. One must be able to use it well,” he added.
The parish priest of the Christ the King Parish of Sumilao town said if people use this resource well, they are in the right mould to engage in bigger responsibilities in the community.
With time management, he said, they can plant vegetables and root crops for their family. “That frees many resources for other needs,” he added.
Paciente said at the end of three years they expect that the participating households and communities will have an improved quality of life as shown in indicators such as health, good governance, livelihood, and sustainable agriculture.
He said in five years they also want to expand the project from a model village to a model barangay.
They are starting it at a village level, he said, and admitted that the process won’t be easy especially to expand it to the municipal, city or provincial level. Paciente said they have initially involved the barangay government of the pilot areas and Gawad Kalinga in the project.
But he said it is what the communities needed so that they will pursue a “vision-based” as against the “term-based” community development.
Local government units and communities must know the collective vision of their stakeholders rather than the vision only of the officials.
“This runs counter to the top down leadership we get most often,” he said. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)