Regions: Africa   Asia   Latin America

Name of Organization: Quidan-Kaisahan of Negros Occidental, Inc. (QK)

Country: Philippines

Project Title: "Promoting Community-Drive Initiatives in Combating Child Labor in Sipalay City through Education"

Project Timeframe: 12 months

Location of Project: Negros Occidental

Budget Amount: $60,000

NGO contact and website:
Imelda Varela-Villacin
Deputy Director

NGO phone/fax numbers: (6334)4338195 fax: (6334)4340122
Street address: 2383 CL Montelibano Drive, Barangay Villamonte
City: Bacolod City
Postal code: 6100

Project's Primary Objective: Long-term sustainability of educational child labor prevention initiatives in Sipalay City ensured

Description of Organization: Quidan-Kaisahan or the "Solidarity of the Nameless Ones" was formed to help strengthen community capabilities towards the development of just, free and peaceful societies where there is equal access to opportunities; cultural identity and citizens’ honor upheld; and respect for all creations promoted. In solidarity with the poor communities, QK helps build empowered communities that are able to respond to their economic, political and cultural needs and concerns. QK also helps develop a critical mass that actively pursues the people’s rights and responsibilities for genuine and sustainable development.

For the last 9 years, QK has to date worked within 140 local barangays in rural areas of Negros Occidental, concentrating in 10 municipalities. It has also worked with 14 municipalities outside Negros Occidental. We would like to believe that as an organization, QK, in promoting community interaction, enables citizens to take greater responsibility and control over processes affecting their lives – be it political and/or socio-economic. The impact assessment we did, using the participatory monitoring and evaluation system we installed in the barangays, seems to point to this realization. The Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) which QK has conducted together with the barangays in December 2005 revealed the positive effects of the process in the people’s quality of life. Incomes were increased, access to basic social services was improved and people’s participation was strengthened.

The initial success of QK in promoting participation has already caught the attention of higher elected officials such as the Congressmen of 3rd and 5th Districts of Negros. Institutions such as the Asian Institute of Management and the CIDA-funded Local Government Support Program have tapped QK as their local partner in implementing their projects. The Department of Social Welfare and Development also incorporated QK’s development approaches in designing the institutional and community development framework of their Kalahi-CIDSS Program. QK had also been invited to present its approaches and experiences in various forums on participatory development and local governance. Among these is the National Conference on Participatory Governance sponsored by the CODE-NGO, Participatory Development Forum and CIDA- sponsored conference held in Canada, the Ford- sponsored Forum in Sussex, and the ESCAP-hosted Forum in China.

Description of Project funded by CIRCLE: By focusing in 10 barangays in Sipalay City, the project intends to establish education-based mechanisms that will ensure the sustainability of child labor reduction and/or prevention initiatives. By the end of the project, incidence of child labor in the city shall have been reduced by at least 30%. At present, two in every 10 families in the City have working children aged 5-17 and about 80% of them work in sugarcane plantations.

This project will not "re-invent the wheel". It will optimize the use of existing strategies developed by other organizations to address the problem. Specifically, the project will adopt the Alternative Learning System developed by the Department of Education. Since this is a community-based and home-based education system, this is seen to be more appropriate for the working children who may not be able to immediately withdraw from their work. The ALS will provide the basic literacy equivalent to high school.

What will probably make this project unique, however, is the use of a localized/community-driven development approach where community interaction and cooperation are promoted in addressing the problem. The project will employ strategies to mobilize and challenge communities to solve their own problems at the local level and drive their own development. This way, development efforts can become more demand responsive, more inclusive, more sustainable and more cost effective than the traditional centrally-led programs. The project will also promote an alternative government-people partnership which engages the government to provide the necessary legislative, structural and financial support while the community members consolidate their efforts and own resources for their counterpart.

The project will also include components that will address concerns that may be specific to Negros Occidental. It will include as a major intervention the provision of assistance for livelihood development. As in the rest of the province, child labor in Sipalay is set in the context of poverty. Children are forced to leave school and seek employment to help put food in the family’s table. As such, to reduce the pressure on the children to work, the project will provide economic opportunities to the parents of child workers to enable them to develop alternative livelihood which could augment their household incomes and replace any income that may be foregone due to their children’s participation in the ALS or their withdrawal from work. The education program for the children will also include livelihood and/or employable skills.

Project Targets (Common Indicators):
Enrollment: 1000 children will be enrolled in an Alternative Learning System
Completion: 100%