A smile as bright as the sun lit up the faces of barangay officials and community volunteers of Antao, Carmen, Surigao del Sur as they gleefully show their newly-installed 28 units solar powered street lights. The sub-project amounting to Php933,750 was completed through the concerted efforts of the community and funded through the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD’s) Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program.

For several years, residents of Barangay Antao relied on gas lamps and regular light bulbs not just to light up their homes but also their streets at night. Although they had existing street lights, these were only installed in Purok 5 which is one of the most interior parts of the barangay. Since the barangay had a limited budget or Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share, there would not be enough resources to fund installation of street lights to all 6 Puroks. As night falls, roads and other pathways in the barangay become less visible and accessible thereby increasing risk for accidents and crimes. In fact, robbery after dark was not uncommon in the village as offenders take opportunity of the lightless streets, thus, their barangay officials decided to enforce a curfew. However, this was not still enough to ensure the safety of the residents. They thought improving their street lighting would help them address this. When the Kalahi-CIDSS program came into their municipality, the community lobbied the street lights project as the program uses the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach.

Kalahi-CIDSS’ CDD approach helps strengthen community participation by providing opportunities for communities to partake in community development activities. With this approach, communities are made to determine their needs, recommend a solution to answer these and implement the sub-projects themselves. Barangay Antao was one of the barangays chosen for prioritization with their proposed sub-project. Now, with their improved street lighting about 236 households in barangay are expected to benefit from safer streets and prevent accidents during the night.

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