Livelihood Programs: Filipinos’ Breakthrough to Ease Poverty

Livelihood Programs to Reduce Poverty

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that it envisions achieving by 2030. This provided a blueprint for each member-nation of this organization to establish programs and standards which will aid in building a sustainable future, especially for the underprivileged. From this list, a long-term problem is yet to be solved till this present time, to end poverty. Hence, each nation and the United Nations (UN) created programs that would address national poverty. 

           Over the years of desire to end poverty, it was said that the recorded poverty rate in 1990, which is 36 percent, declined to 10 percent in 2015. This indicates that the long fight to eradicate such crisis is giving positive results. However, the pandemic happened. Every nation experienced a decline in its economy due to business operations being halted. Adding to this matter is the statistics recorded by UN that 8 percent of employed workers and their families experience poverty due to certain factors like low salary or wage rates. Therefore, it is undeniable that making jobs for people is not the major solution to poverty. There is a lot more to this problem which will only be resolved through granting overall social protection, especially to the underprivileged. In this regard, one of the best programs which would address national poverty was given proper attention and importance, to provide livelihood programs, especially to the marginalized sector.

           In the Philippines, government-led programs which would address the national poverty are implemented through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). In addition, the Philippine government, in cooperation with private sectors, strengthened the implementation of SDGs as it vowed to give the Filipinos a stable and comfortable lifestyle by setting clear goals listed through the program, AmBisyon Natin 2040. The goal of this program is to establish an image of the future life of Filipinos broadly anchored in three values which are matatag, maginhawa, and panatag na buhay. Among these values, maginhawa advocates that no one would be poor and hungry. Comfortable homes and quality education will be accessible to every Filipino household. Also, jobs provided is envisioned to bring sustainable income to answer the basic needs of a household. 

           With this, you may ask – does providing and giving jobs to each Filipino should be considered as one of the best solutions to poverty in the Philippines? Obviously, it provides an avenue to sustain life and afford the basic necessities of an individual, but it should be noted that it does not resolve the whole problem. This is evidenced by the previously stated statistics of UN regarding poverty experienced by employed individuals. However, it may still be regarded as a stimulant to provide better programs that would address the national poverty. In addition, poverty tackles the lack of access of people to basic necessities which resulted from lack of job or low-paying jobs are not enough to sustain a family’s daily living. Hence, one of the first strategy to make is to resolve employment problems. From this, a bigger picture must be seen and resolved through program amendments or even making new ones.  

           Furthermore, the ongoing pandemic showed how livelihood saved the lives of many and made them continue to afford their daily living necessities. Due to the current phenomena, many companies decided to stop its operations because of the losses it experiences. Many minimum wage workers lost opportunities and even those people with college degree were affected by the retrenchment or ceasing operations of various businesses. But for some, this unfortunate event made them resilient and explore doors which may help them continue affording their daily expenses. Some retrenched or jobless individuals gained opportunities through the initiated livelihood programs. Below are some of the success stories of Filipinos who benefited from the programs which would address the national poverty. 

ADB-Funded Programs’ Impact on Negros Occidental Families 

           Even before the pandemic, Asian Development Bank initiated a livelihood program in the agricultural province of Negros Occidental. During 2018, in cooperation of Department of Labor and Employment and BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative, it piloted livelihood projects in five municipalities of the said province. The project provided livelihood assets and trainings to promote social protection and empowerment leading the beneficiaries to start an enterprise. Furthermore, the project he project is not a one-time program as the coordinators made sure to track the progress of each participating household to further enhance the knowledge of the new entrepreneurs in terms of strategizing and resolving challenges brought by the risks of starting a business. 

           The program progressed over the years and made its beneficiaries acquire another source of income aside from being a laborer or employee. In fact, one of its beneficiaries, Maria Corazon Gaylon, was a canteen worker and a part-time laundry woman aside from being an entrepreneur. At first, like the other beneficiaries, she was given pigs and sacks of feed. From the livelihood assets and training given, after profiting from such program, it gave her a source of fund to start a different venture particularly a sari-sari store and a small poultry-raising activity. Her business venture skyrocketed during the pandemic. Knowing that trade and transportation were halted because of the pandemic protocols, the only option of the community is to maximize what is available around the area. This showed the importance small enterprises like agricultural activities, sari-sari stores, and flea markets. It does not only provide income to the entrepreneur but also answer the needs of the community without the need of hopping to another area thus providing mutual convenience as well. 

MOVE UP Mobile Market in Cotabato City

           Moving Urban Poor Communities Toward Resilience Project (MOVE UP) is a project funded by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations which is commenced in four cities across the Philippines – Cebu, Cotabato, Marikina, and Taguig. Currently, it is on its third phase of implementation. Unlike the program in Negros Occidental, this started amidst the pandemic. Since transportation and trade were disrupted, a lot cannot afford to hop to another city to buy their needs. Imagine having the money yet you cannot use it to acquire your necessities because of the lack of availability in your area. In the past, this was not a problem because transportation is working, and protocols were not strict enough enabling you to hop from city-to-city whenever you need. 

With this project, together with the innovative minds of Cotabato natives from community savings group and their local government, a mobile market was launched. The primary aim of the mobile market is to give alternative sources of livelihood. With this, those who have capital or savings to start a business can seize this opportunity. Not only it provides a source of income but also lets the community gain access to affordable and healthy foods.

The Real Essence of Livelihood – Survival and Opportunities

Like the adage says, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Obviously, not everyone will be wealthy and earn a luxurious life. Every person has a different capability with another. But each has the same goal, to survive and afford our basic needs. Livelihood is not considered the ultimate solution for poverty but implementing such programs teaches an individual the necessary knowledge and skills to think of ways to acquire a source of income and afford his or her daily expenses. Eventually, as an individual thrives in his business and through saving and seizing opportunities, the other needs can be met as well. 

           Poverty does not end by having enough money for food and other survival needs. It also entails the need for having a sustainable lifestyle. Hence, having a house is necessitated by the goal of obtaining a sustainable life. With this, Bria Homes understands that real estate ownership is hard especially for those with low income or whose funds are enough for daily survival only. With livelihood programs, it expands the alternatives each Filipino may explore to achieve their goal of carrying on their lives and providing their daily necessities. So, Bria is here to market affordable house and lot to Filipinos which can be availed through Pag-IBIG house loan. Not only its price is affordable, but its payment terms is also lenient as this is backed by government funding. 

           Surely, livelihood programs do not resolve poverty. Though, it must be noted that if utilized properly by its beneficiaries, chances are high that the person’s lifestyle will be elevated, and doors will open. Remember that livelihood programs teach a man to fish thus letting him feed himself for a lifetime through the knowledge and skills he acquired. Such programs ease poverty as it gives hope and power to the underprivileged for its never-ending quest for necessities and equitable opportunities.