A Bucket of Hope in Penablanca

Water and sanitation are proven to have a major impact on public health. It gives people time, hope and joy. A chance for them to access equal opportunity to reach their full potential. However, the challenge remains evident in various far-flung communities in our country and in the region.

One of the affected areas related to this problem are sanitation and hygiene, water quality, appropriate technology and clear health indicators. It was really hard for everyone in the community to walk long distances just to get water. In addition, they are still unsure if it is clean enough for their consumption and to secure their safety.

As practiced, women usually have the responsibility of fetching water. This activity can be a dangerous, time-consuming and physically demanding task for them. The image of women and children carrying heavy containers of water from far distances is really unforgettable, much more so when heavy rains come, and the roads are slippery and dangerous to pass.

Moreover, women have specific hygiene needs. Specially on the access to sanitary products and disposal systems to manage their menstrual hygiene and pregnancy.

With this, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 02 through the program Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) geared towards establishing and improving the water management of these far-flung communities in Cagayan Valley.

The DOST-CEST program is a package of S&T interventions that aims to build empowered, progressive, and resilient communities. CEST is DOST’s response to the government’s whole of the nation approach in support of reaching the marginalized sectors like farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous people, women’s organizations, and of those residing in the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas or GIDAS.

One of the beneficiaries of CEST is Sitio Amilan in barangay Baliuag, Penablanca Cagayan. One of the reasons the area was chosen is because of their lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

Residents in this area outsource water from streams and springs accessible only through the pace of the mountain. Thus, the scarcity of water is experienced especially during summertime, and also a challenge during the wet season due to the slippery trek.

Through the CEST program, the community will be given access to clean and potable water. This is also one of the goals of the DOST to promote health and sanitation that will serve as an avenue of opportunities for safe water and other domestic uses of water in the Region.

DOST R02 in partnership Pentur Farmers Agriculture Cooperative funded a total of P445,000 for the provision of a water distribution system to the community.

On October 14, 2022, the turnover of the funds was led by the Assistant Regional Director for Field Operation Services Engr. Sylvia Lacambra together with Science Research Specialists Ms Rowena Guzman and Engr. Benjamin Nicdao and Project Assistant Mr. John Benedic De Asis.

This project will solve the sufficiency and easy access of water supply in the area most especially the women in connection with their specific hygiene needs and personal use.

Moreover, this will be a great benefit to lessen the risks of acquiring waterborne diseases that will improve the community’s educational and economic opportunities.

One of the goals of this project is also to explore the gender dynamics of the residents in the sustainability and functionality of their water supply systems, with the aim of addressing approaches to women’s empowerment in the water sector.

DOST02 will also be providing assistance on laboratory and consultancy services including the training and maintenance of the project. It is also necessary to involve all the users of the community in order to identify potential contaminating sources and misuse of land management that can contaminate water.

The bucket of hopes and dreams of the community is now finally coming to life. With the continuous assistance of DOST R02 the limitations and challenges of the community will be resolved.

DOST R02 is determined to improve, empower and bring hope to their lives, with its mandate to help marginalized communities, the agency will continue to integrate S&T solutions in every community in the region and bring science closer to their hearts. #OneDOST4U #DOSTintheNEWS #dostPH #ScienceForThePeople #DOSTRegion02