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DSWD contributes to government’s zero hunger campaign

With the goal to help address hunger issues in the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reached out to almost 7,000 beneficiaries as it intensified its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) during the pandemic.

Knowing that many had difficulties with livelihood opportunities during the pandemic, the Department continued providing assistance through its SLP to help them cope economically.

SLP is a capacity building program which provides opportunities to the vulnerable, marginalized, and disadvantaged individuals, families, and communities to enhance their livelihood assets and capacity to utilize their resources more productively.

From 2020 to September 2021, the program has served 400,926 households.

Refocused SLP for pandemic recovery

With the pandemic causing massive disruption in the livelihood of many families, the Department developed another scheme under the SLP which focused on their recovery and rehabilitation. The Livelihood Assistance Grants (LAG) scheme of the SLP provides financial support to eligible families whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic and the implementation of community quarantines.

LAG helps in the recovery of families and enable them to resume their respective micro-enterprises or small businesses that were affected by community quarantines.

As of September 2021, the Department has served 256,950 families through LAG which started in 2020.

Lockdowns and new beginnings

Felomina Abejoro of Batangas province, was one of those who availed of the LAG, as her family struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic.

A mother of four, Felomina helps her husband earn a living by sewing and selling small rags. However, the pandemic has greatly affected her small source of income. Felomina faced difficulties in buying materials for her rags. Worse, there was no income as there were no customers for her products.

With her husband earning a meager pay as sugarcane plantation worker, buying adequate food to feed a family of six was indeed hard.

In December 2020, the DSWD implemented the LAG, and Felomina immediately expressed her interest to avail of the livelihood assistance. Upon assessment of her business capacity, the livelihood assistance for her sewing business was approved and she received a Php10,000.00 grant.

“Noong natanggap ko po ‘yong Php10,000 na assistance, bumili po ako ng dagdag na materyales para sa ibang produkto gaya ng bed sheets, kurtina, sofa covers para makapagsimula na muli ang aking tahian” (When I received the P10,000 assistance, I bought additional materials for bed sheets, curtains, sofa covers), Felomina shared.

With the added materials and sewing supplies, Felomina was able to get more customers as she also began accepting different sewing jobs.

Two months after getting the livelihood assistance, Felomina and her family were able to recover financially through their small business. They already had cash to pay up their loans and buy food. At times, they also had some savings.

“Maraming salamat po talaga sa tulong na ibinigay sa amin para makasimula muli ang aking patahian. Ayaw na po naming magipit ulit tulad ng nangyari sa amin noong lockdown, kaya po pagsisikapan po talaga naming pamilya ang kumita at mag-ipon sa abot ng aming makakaya” (Thank you to the assistance given to us to start again with my sewing business. We no longer want to experience what we went through during the lockdown, so we will strive hard to sustain our livelihood and save money for future use), Felomina said.

Whole-of-nation approach

Aside from LAG, the Department is also exploring other schemes in order to assist the most needy as they continue to face the effects of the pandemic. The Department will also be implementing cash for work program as part of its risk resiliency program.

With these programs in place, and with the whole of nation approach in responding to this nationwide disaster brought by the coronavirus, it is with utmost hope that the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized sectors will be adequately assisted to achieve zero hunger and to continue the country’s development goals.

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