As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread, municipalities in the province of Camarines Sur, Philippines heightened preventive measures in response to the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) declared by President Duterte.
The municipality of Garchitorena is enforcing a lockdown on top of the community quarantine to ensure the safety of its villages. The lockdown has forced community members to stay in their homes, suspended all social gatherings, restricted outsiders from entering the municipality, and halted livelihood activities such as fishing and farming.
Despite the constraints brought by the lockdown, the island village of Dangla in Garchitorena continues to have access to food and casual livelihood.
“No one is hungry in our barangay”, said Sally Barcelon, Village Captain of Dangla and the leader of one of the EMBRACE project’s Mother and Child Health Groups (MCHG).
“We no longer buy vegetables and eggs, we have our own for consumption, and we even sell extra harvest to other villages and the market in the mainland. In fact, the municipal local government unit is buying our eggs for distribution to other villages, and a municipality nearby is buying from us pairs of 35-day old chicks so they can start their own egg production too. The kitchen gardening and chickens from the EMBRACE project was a tremendous help to all of us here, especially in these trying times.”
Sally is encouraging EMBRACE participants to share their extra eggs with other community members who are not part of the project so they can start raising their own chickens and produce their own eggs. With almost all households in the village now growing their own kitchen gardens and owning chickens for egg production, access to food and income continues despite the circumstances. The income from their kitchen gardens and eggs is being used to buy rice and meat to supplement their diets.
The barangay captain said that they are blessed to have access to sustainable foods especially during crisis and are less dependent on the government’s relief.
ADRA is grateful that the lessons learned though the EMBRACE project are enabling these communities to cope with the straitened circumstances caused by COVID-19.