by Imee Aguillon
The pandemic has devastated a lot of people, with some families not knowing where to get their next meal. People lost their jobs and sources of income and, under the new situation, everyone is wondering how to survive on a daily basis.
For the women of Sitio Cablao, they feel fortunate to be living in a place surrounded by abundant natural resources. They continue farming, ensuring their families have enough to eat daily. During this difficult time, they draw strength from their organization, Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina (KALIPI), an all-women organization that promotes women empowerment through livelihood activities, saving mechanisms, and social responsibilities in their community.
Sitio Cablao is a very remote community of Barangay Pagsangahan, General Nakar that takes two hours to travel by foot from the town of Daraitan, Rizal.
Last October 28, 2020, during the Perception Survey of Haribon Foundation under the Enhancing the Role of Women in Protected Area Governance for Social Change Project, the women of Sitio Cablao shared how they are helping their community in these difficult times.
Having suspended their monthly meetings because of the threat of COVID-19, the leaders of the KALIPI were determined to take action to help their community cope with the pandemic. They conducted consultations to check the situation of members, assisted in contact tracing, and coordination with local leaders to control and monitor people that are going in and out of the Sitio.
KALIPI is recognized by their barangay local government unit (BLGU) as an active group that supports programs by giving the right information to other members and volunteers about the pandemic. They also support the effort of the BLGU and women organizations taking steps from pandemic mitigation and response. These women are not afraid to volunteer as backliners in the fight against COVID-19.
The KALIPI-Cablao women organization fully expressed their support and interest in participating in the Women Go project and mobilized their members to take part in the project activities, starting with the Perception Survey. They believed that the project would uplift women participation in conservation actions, and provide them with the capacity to care for the environment while partaking in decision-making to ensure that their natural resources are well managed for future generations. “We as women can achieve something that is valuable to our community and for the future of our children,” Leizel Sarmiento, KALIPI Cablao President added.