Empowering poor communities through community-driven development

Under the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) was one of the projects selected for the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact. This is due to the President’s commitment to fight corruption and promote good governance.

In December 2014, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Board of Directors re-selected Philippines as eligible for additional funding for its development programs.

Kalahi-CIDSS aims to empower communities through participation in local governance and involvement in the implementation of poverty reduction activities. It employs the community-driven development (CDD) strategy, a development approach that seeks to combat poverty and improve local governance by strengthening the capacity of citizens to identify and implement local solutions to poverty issues. In essence, it puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for development.

Started in 2002, Kalahi-CIDSS 1 has reached a total of 4,583 barangays in 200 municipalities located in the 42 poorest provinces across 12 regions. Given the need to reach out to remaining poor municipalities, the project was expanded through a USD$120 Million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation and through a USD$59 Million loan from the World Bank.

The expansion covered a total of 8,435 communities in 364 municipalities.

As of March 2015, the program has funded 17,464 community sub-projects, of which 13,679 are already completed, 1,900 on-going, and 13,931 are yet to start, reaching 4.5 million households.

Examples of these community projects are roads, water systems, school buildings, daycare centers, and health stations, among others.

Mayor Benjie Y. Baguio of Kapatagan in Lanao del Norte showcases how this partnership has resulted to positive changes in his community.

“With the entry of the Kalahi-CIDSS in our municipality, we now have hope in the possibility of improving the lives of our constituents. Our municipality really benefited hugely after the first cycle, not only because of the sub-projects but also because of the trainings conducted to empower our communities. As our response, the LGU, including our barangay captains, are planning programs to ensure that what we received from the project will never be put to waste. Raising money for non-priority barangays is just one thing. Our barangay captains see the Kalahi-CIDSS as a blessing, and paying it forward by raising money for the other barangays to implement their sub-projects is just our way of thanking Kalahi-CIDSS for their trust in our municipality,” the Mayor shared.

In particular, Kalahi-CIDSS has achieved the following:

  • Improved travel time and cost to key services more for barangays with a higher travel time and travel cost to begin with and more for indigenous persons.
  • Increased the quantity and quality of participation in local governance around decision-making and implementation.
  • Improved knowledge and awareness of local governance.
  • Increased participation in community organizations.
  • Helped people better deal with financial hardship (as a result of Typhoon Yolanda or any other natural disaster).
  • Raised capacity of local government (there is an increase in the presence of development projects and plans, and increase in different funding components).

On January 18, 2013, President Aquino approved the expansion of Kalahi-CIDSS as the National Community-Driven Development Program. This is one of the administration’s legacies that will be implemented from 2014 until 2019, covering a total of 19,647 barangays in 847 municipalities located in 58 provinces and 14 regions to benefit approximately 5.3 million households.

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