May 19, 2024

Amid the intensifying effects of the El Niño phenomenon, the Department of Social Welfare and Development is ramping up efforts to implement its Project Local Adaptation to Water Access (LAWA) and Breaking Insufficiency through Nutritious Harvest for the Impoverished (Binhi) nationwide this year.

“The DSWD aims to roll out Project LAWA at Binhi in 310 municipalities, including urban centers, and in 61 provinces across 16 regions to mitigate the impact of El Niño on the most vulnerable sectors of society,” DSWD Asec. for Disaster Response Management Group and co-spokesperson Irene Dumlao said in a release.

“Through Project LAWA at Binhi, the DSWD seeks to address the multifaceted challenges posed by water scarcity and food insecurity,” she said.

For this scale-up, more than 140,906 families, or an estimated 704,530 individuals, are expected to benefit from at least 1,319 target water harvesting facilities that will cover some 6,630 hectares of agricultural land, Dumlao said.

“DSWD is committed to proactively address the challenges posed by climate change and ensure the welfare of the most vulnerable communities amid dry spells. As El Niño strengthens, we are scaling up our efforts to enhance communities’ resilience and safeguard their well-being,” she added.

Under Project LAWA, the DSWD focuses on enhancing water access and management in communities prone to drought and water shortages by constructing small farm reservoirs, repairing or rehabilitating water harvesting facilities, and diversifying water supplies, among others.

Project Binhi aims to promote food security and nutrition among communities by facilitating the adoption of climate-resilient and sustainable agricultural practices, such as communal and urban gardening; vermicomposting; and planting of disaster-resilient crops, fruit-bearing trees, and mangroves, among other practices.

Dumlao said the DSWD initially implemented Project LAWA in nine local government units in Ifugao, Antique, and Davao de Oro provinces, establishing 90 small farm reservoirs, which benefited some 4,590 families in 2023.

She said projects LAWA at Binhi jointly aim to strengthen the adaptive capabilities of poor and vulnerable families during periods of severe drought, ultimately mitigating the impact of food insecurity and water scarcity brought about by climate change.

The two projects are implemented under the DSWD’s Risk Resiliency Program through cash-for-training and work. – PNA