Solo parents are trained in candle-making through DSWD's Sustainable Llivelihood Program.

Solo parents are trained in candle-making through DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program.

Concepcion, Iloilo – Some 25 solo parents from this town can now provide for their families’ needs as they benefit from the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), one of the anti-poverty programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The beneficiaries are now entrepreneurs producing candles and supplying their products to the Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church in the same town.

Under the DSWD’s livelihood program, the women were trained on candle-making as well as in business management, sales, and marketing.

After the training, the women formed the Candle Maker’s Association of Concepcion (CMAC) and started their business with a funding of P268,000 from the DSWD.

The DSWD also tapped the Provincial Social Welfare Development Office (PSWDO) to provide the training on candle making, sales and marketing, while the St. Nicolas Training Institute Incorporated conducted skills enhancement training.

“Solo parent-headed families are oftentimes the most in need of our assistance, especially in their livelihood.  We must assist them to enable them to support their loved ones,” DSWD Sec. Judy M. Taguiwalo said.

One of the beneficiaries, 42-year old Rosa Abebenir,  shared that business is doing good.

“We have regular buyers now,” she shared happily.

Currently, the women have a production center in the municipality.  Aside from supplying the candles to the parish church, they also display their products at the Concepcion Kabuhayan Enterprise, as well as sell them in nearby towns during fiestas and special occasions.

Increasing economic opportunities

“As a community-based capacity building program, the  SLP seeks to increase the economic opportunities of Filipinos through the Community-Driven Enterprise Development Approach.  We want the SLP to equip poor Filipinos so they can actively contribute to production and labor markets by looking at available resources and accessible markets,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.

The SLP offers two tracks for Filipinos in the program: 1) micro-enterprise development which supports micro enterprises to become organizationally and economically viable; and 2) Employment facilitation which assists Filipinos to access appropriate employment opportunities.

As of 2016, the Department has provided livelihood assistance to 1,556,509 families from 2011 to 2016, with 1,219,725 assisted through microenterprise development while 336,784 through employment facilitation.

The SLP has four key modalities:

Technical-vocational skills training: the SLP provides capacity-building to equip its partner-participants with the appropriate skills for increased employability or for better management of their micro-enterprises.

Pre-Employment Assistance Fund: The SLP assists participants in accessing employment opportunities with guaranteed employers by providing financial assistance for the prompt acquirement of the necessary job application requirements.

Cash for Building Livelihood Assets: The SLP provides short-term employment to partner-participants for the development, rebuilding, and/or protection of physical and natural assets which may be used by the participants and their community for profitable and sustainable livelihood projects.

Seed Capital Fund: The SLP provides a capacity-building grant for the micro-enterprise development of its partner-participants so they can  set up a credit and savings facility and/or manage an individual or group enterprise.

The Secretary added that although millions have already benefited from SLP, the Department acknowledged that there are still many more poor families needing assistance.

“The Department is doing its best to respond to provide the appropriate services  to the poor. Providing the needy with means to earn and eventually enabling them stand on their own two feet is a priority of the DSWD.  This is the kind of genuine public service that we want to provide,” Sec. Taguiwalo ended.  #