Empowering communities through sustainable development

Service to others is the heart of the core value of Rotary International.  Rotary’s service to others is channeled through five avenues namely club service, vocational service, community service, international service and youth service.  “Community service encourages every Rotarian to find ways to improve the quality of life for people in their communities and to serve the public interest.”

To concretize community service, Rotary Club of Iloilo R.I. District 3850 and Rotary District 1150 of Wales, UK came up with a project to help the fisher folks of Sta. Rita, Anilao, Iloilo through a Php 4.9 million Rotary Global Grant 1640289.  The project was conceptualized during the incumbency of Rotary PP Lemuel Fernandez and implemented during the incumbency of PP Roberto “Bobby” Pison.  It is finally completed under the leadership of present president Lydio Pedregosa.

The project is not a dole out activity but intends to uplift the socio-economic status of the beneficiaries through a sustainable livelihood.  Empowering communities through sustainable development is the current thrust of Rotary International.  Fifty-five fisher folks from Sta. Rita, Anilao who were victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Internationally known Haiyan) and never received any assistance were selected as beneficiaries of the project.  Fishing boats with fishing gears were given to the beneficiaries and the project is managed by the local fisher folks association.  Rotary PP Jigger Latoza is the over-all project chair.

To prepare the beneficiaries to receive the livelihood assistance, the Rotary Club of Iloilo R.I. District 3850 engaged the services of the University of San Agustin (USA) through the Social Advocacy and Community Engagement Office (SACEO).  USA Team is tasked to get ready the beneficiaries by means of community organizing, capacity building trainings and other activities aimed at strengthening their local fisher folks association.  The USA Team is headed by SACEO Director Maria Cristy Daguay with Engr. Artchil Fernandez and Mr. Rodolfo Betito as members.

Phase I of the project began with the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the beneficiaries, local government unit of Anilao, University of San Agustin (USA) and Rotary Club of Iloilo.   USA Team gathered base line data on the beneficiaries and strengthened the local fisher folk association through the review and revision of its Constitution and By-Laws.

Phase II involves the conduct of a series of activities aimed at preparing the beneficiaries to receive the livelihood project and ended with the distribution of the fishing boats complete with fishing gears.   The activities included lectures, workshops and trainings on financial literacy, book keeping, business plan writing and entrepreneurship for women, boat maintenance and local coastal resource management.

Blessing of the fishing boats was held on November 28, 2018 and the turn-over of the fishing boats and fishing gears was done last December 13, 2018. (Photo credit:  USA Publications and Bobbiejo Healey)

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