- MITCH M. LIPA
Empowering land beneficiaries is a dynamic process. It involves focused strategies that will ensure their safety while facilitating livelihood opportunities and motivating them to be self-reliant. Organizing the land beneficiaries into a cohesive network of empowered individuals requires diligence, perseverance and teamwork.
The Dama Farmworkers Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (DAFWARBA), in Sitio Dama, Barangay Cabacungan, La Castellana takes on the task to empower land beneficiaries and help them achieve a safer and brighter tomorrow.
As recipients of the agrarian reform program of the national government, the land beneficiaries, who organized under DAFWARBA, decided to maintain a Mother CLOA instead of having individual lots. This strategy, anchored on the Workers Owned Workers Managed Project, safeguards the farmers from leasing and selling their lots.
But while they are secured in their land and take pride in tilling their own farmlots to provide for the needs of their family, the community in Sitio Dama worries for their safety at night time. Several accidents were reported in the area due to the lack of streetlights along the national road. The community fears for their children, who are vulnerable to other adults, particularly, against gender-based violence.
Through the Focus Group Discussions and Diamond Ranking Sessions conducted by the Youth Inclusive Community Based Monitoring and Remediation (YICBMR), a pilot project in Sitio Dama of Network in International (FI), the risk posed by the lack of streetlights was identified.
To address the problem, DAFWARBA and YICBMR took the initiative to submit a proposal to the local government of La Castellana and Barangay Cabacungan requesting for the installation of streetlights along the national road.
With continuous effort and hard work, the proposal was approved and implemented in Sitio Dama.
On November 11, 2020, eight streetlights along the national road were installed in Sitio Dama. The “Lights On Ceremony” at DAFWARBA Multi-Purpose Center was a simple event that brought tremendous joy to the community. It literally lights up not only the road but the lives of the residents.
The event was attended by the Barangay Council of Brgy. Cabacungan, DAFWARBA officers, Board of Directors, CLOA holders and members.
DAFWARBA and YICBMR expressed their sincere gratitude to the local government of La Castellana and Barangay Cabacungan for responding to their call for help. The immediate action to implement the project affirmed the belief of the community to the local government.
Tatay Daniel Diamante, chairperson of DAFWARBA, expressed gratitude to the LGU during the “Lights On” ceremony. He thanked the officers and members of DAFWARBA for their continued struggle to help the community.
For the community, the achievement was not be possible without the support and effort of its international partners, Fairtrade International (FI) and Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP).
DAFWARBA remains committed to serve the community and sustain the gains achieve through the years. The mission of empowering the group of land beneficiaries and lead them to a brighter and safer future is deeply rooted in the hearts and the minds of its leaders and members. – MML