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Friday, June 19, 2015

Information caravans for poor towns in ZamPen in July

By Jocelyn P. Alvarez

ZAMBOANGA CITY - People in the community are our region’s utmost resource. A healthy, educated and energized population raises the region’s chance for sustainable development and prosperity!

To deliver basic services of the national government directly to the poorest of the poor, the Mindanao Communicators’ Network  (MCN) supported by Regional Development Council’s (RDC) Regional Communication and  Advocacy Plan – Technical Working Group (RCAP-TWG)  will conduct an information caravan on July 21 and 23 in Talusan Zamboanga Sibugay and La Libertad, Zamboanga del Norte, respectively.

The Information Caravan not only intends to deliver immediate assistance but also seeks to inspire the poor living in the community to uplift their living condition by helping themselves first and then equip them with skills and livelihood training which they could apply in their day-to-day life.

Information Caravan is designed to give hope and to address poverty, enabling the poor to help them transform their lives through government interventions.

Convergence of agencies

Various national government agencies are expected to converge for the infocar not only to deliver basic services but also to fulfill the commitment of the Aquino Administration to fight poverty, empower the poor and the marginalized segments of the society. This means the participating agencies bring along with them programs and projects readily available for the poor that will serve as “life vest” to those currently drowning in extreme poverty.
The “Infocar” team will bring services like skills and livelihood trainings, equipment, livelihood assistance, and other activities and projects that are design to have a direct, immediate and substantial impact in empowering the poor, after all, fighting poverty means investing in people’s capacity to participate meaningfully in the economy, access gainful livelihood and improve the quality of their lives.

Response to the need of the poor

The Primary concern of the Information caravan is to respond or address the concerns of the poor community. This activity is both a feed-in and a feed-forward mechanism. The activity, initially, involves the conduct of a community needs analysis. Then based on the needs analysis, concerned agencies are mobilized by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) for a caravan to the said community where information exchange and delivery of services are undertaken.

In the world of the poor, people don't enjoy food security, don't own many assets, are stunted and wasted, don't live long, can't read or write, don't have access to easy credit, are unable to save much, aren't empowered, can't ensure themselves well against crop failure or household calamity, live in unhealthy surroundings, suffer from “inadequacies.” Through the conduct of Infocar, these concerns are processed and addressed, it not immediately, at least with a specified time frame.

Government agencies like the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Food Authority (NFA), Dept. of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and other national government agencies including LGUs come together as one in the infocar to address the concerns of the poor, to address the challenges of poverty to effect changes or improvement in the community.

The Information Caravan is an annual project of the Mindanao Communicators Network (MCN)-Region 9 Chapter spearheaded by PIA9. In 2014, infocar was conducted in the town of Sominot, Zamboanga Del Sur.

Infocar activity also includes the conduct of free medical, dental services and circumcision in close partnership with the medical/dental team of the Philippine Army and the Municipal Health Office in the area. Supplemental feeding is also conducted for pre-school children.