Gardening is a primary livelihood in Kabayan, Benguet. Besides being a mere task, community gardening plays a role in  strengthening community ties, improving physical and mental well being, providing access to fresh and healthy food, environmental stewardship, and increasing educational opportunities.  Experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic have proven how gardening has brought a whole community working towards a common and sustainable goal through the Risk Resiliency Program for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (RRP-CCAM-DRR).

During the pandemic, agricultural activities faced interruptions as movement restrictions affected the transportation of goods, access to markets, and the availability of labor. Similarly, educational institutions had to adapt to new modes of learning, with in-person classes being replaced by remote and online platforms. Social gatherings were restricted or prohibited altogether, impacting the traditional ways people connect and interact. These disruptions underscored the need for innovative solutions and resilience in adapting to the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Aiming to increase the adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities to disasters, the  Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) introduced RRP-CCAM-DRR.

The school community and Barangay and Municipal LGU took the opportunity to propose the establishment of Gulayan sa Paaralan particularly in Ballay Integrated School to strengthen the community health and nutrition and ensure food sufficiency in Ballay, Kabayan during the pandemic.

The Department has provided funds and technical assistance for the CCAM Project through the Cash for Training and Work modality.  Beneficiaries worked for 10 days and they received cash incentives equivalent to the prevailing labor rate per day.  Around ₱48,000.00 was disbursed to 20 beneficiaries.

During the implementation of the Project there were also challenges encountered such as the lack of materials. However,  the community volunteerism spirit prevailed.“Tinulong” has been always observed and practiced from start to end of the implementation which increased the sense of ownership  of the beneficiaries to the project. The Barangay Council, school staff, and community people worked together to  mitigate and adapt to the effect of climate change  as well as achieve their desired development.

With the unity and hard work of the beneficiaries who are also parents of the school children, the “Gulayan sa Paaralan”  was successfully  established.  “We are also grateful of the cash assistance provided through (Cash for Work) which will help use in our day to day needs  Ms.    Deborah Bugnay,”  one of CCAM CFW beneficiaries, shared.

To expand the benefits of the project, the produce from the gulayan were sold to the local market. The income generated amounting to ₱13,500.00 was used to buy musical instruments needed by the learners and materials used for the improvement of classroom of Alternative Learning System (ALS) learners in Ballay Integrated Community Learning Center. Part of the income generated was also allocated for the purchase of materials that are not included in the budget of the school.

Ms.   Edilberta  Butangen, ALS Teacher, expressed her gratitude for the Program saying, “We are grateful to the Risk Resiliency Program of DSWD for  establishing this gulayan  as it helped us generate income for the school improvement  and support other school activities outside the municipality.”

Moreover, the project helps the community and the school in producing nutritious food for consumption. With these benefits, the whole community and the school were encouraged to be part of the project’s maintenance and operation.

To date the Gulayan sa Paaralan  supplies adequate vegetables for school children and community addressing the reduction of food supply as effect of climate change. # DSWD FIELD OFFICE CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, IO II MYLYN M. BONGSIAN with PDO II PRECY P. CAYAT and PDO I BENITA A. MALIG-ING


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