Spotlight on Quidan Kaisahan:
Communities Create Action Plans
July 2006. Quidan Kaisahan (QK), a CIRCLE partner working in 10 barangays1 in Sipalay, Negros Occidental, Philippines, aims to empower marginalized communities to respond to their own needs. QK establishes community-led mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of child labor reduction/prevention initiatives for at-risk children, and those already engaged in hazardous labor in sugar farms.

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The residents of Brgy. Cayhagan as they share their stories and status of the Alternative Learning System Program
One example of an empowerment project started in Barangay Cayhagan, a farming and fishing community that recently reported an increased incidence of school drop-outs. Initial data on 65 drop-out child laborers revealed children’s engagement in hazardous farm work, manufacturing, street work, and domestic labor. QK believes this was due to: families’ inability to support the costs of education, children being pushed to seek early employment as a survival mechanism, geographic barriers to schooling, and lack of support facilities for quality education.

Quidan Kaisahan organized a two-day child welfare planning meeting, where they invited children, community-based organizations, day care workers, public school teachers, the Parent Teacher Community Association (PTCA), health workers, Barangay Council, and community educators and leaders. The workshop was designed to educate others about the situation of children in the community, particularly their education and work conditions. QK also wanted to formulate a community plan of action and forge an agreement to work toward a child-friendly barangay that promote child rights.

The meeting identified the following key needs of the barangay: This event was a great success. The community developed a greater sense of ownership of the project and the Barangay Council pledged to adopt and support the alternative learning system and child labor reduction program. A teacher said: "I will make it a point to integrate education values in all my classes to develop a greater sense of community among my pupils…" The President of the PTCA remarked: "I take responsibility to provide encouragement to the parents to take better care of their children. Parents should strive hard to send their children to school."

1 Barangay is the smallest local government unit and is the native Filipino term for a village. Cities are composed of groups of barangays.