The preliminary findings of the CHARM2 Project evaluation study and results and impact management study that was conducted by the Orient Integrated Development Consultants Incorporated (OIDCI), shows that the Project had once again succeeded in improving the life, economic status, food security and provide sustainable livelihood activities of the rural poor communities in the whole of Cordillera Region.
The study was conducted in the six provinces of the Cordilleras, selecting two barangays per province as respondents. The OIDCI that was tapped to conduct the study is a Philippine-based consulting firm with a proven track record in integrated area and rural development, environment and natural resource management, governance, and institutional development.
Results of the study show that beneficiaries of the Project highly appreciate the Project’s support in their communities. They also feel positive of the long term impact of all CHARMP interventions. Majority of the beneficiaries felt capable of sustaining their projects however, many still requests for a continuation of CHARMP support.
Beneficiaries of the different CHARM Projects and partner LGUs, specifically, the Benguet LGUs and NCIP recognize that CHARMP had contributed much to alleviate poverty and living conditions of its target beneficiaries. In addition, beneficiaries also acknowledge the sincerity of the Project to help, empower and shape lives especially those of indigenous peoples.
Accordingly, the CHARM Project, despite working in remote areas, was able to reach its goals and objectives because it employs a development approach based on self-reliance and people empowerment. In addition, one strategy employed that greatly helped the Project in achieving its goals and objectives is by building the peoples capabilities to let them decide and plan and stand firm in their decisions. This was achieved because throughout the consultation, planning process up to the implementation of the sub-projects, target beneficiaries are involved. The bottom up approach of the project is identified as one of the contributing factor to the successful implementation of the different sub-project.
Livelihood assistance, land tenure, food security, farm to market roads and forest resource and watershed management related needs of the beneficiaries were addressed via the assistance that the Project provides through the various components of CHARMP.
The component 1 of the Project is on Social Mobilization and Participatory Investment Planning (SMPIP). Its aim is to empower communities through strengthening the management capacity of IP organizations or indigenous cultural communities and promote active participation of communities in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects. Results of the study showed that the aim of the component was achieved. Further, the beneficiaries also stated that improved camaraderie, closer cooperation, greater unity, and high esprit de corps among project beneficiaries were established.
Component 2 of the Project is on Community watershed conservation, forest management and agroforestry (CWCFMA). Findings show that basing from the self-assessment of organizations, reforestation related activities is the most sustainable and easy to manage. Further, refo and agro covered communities has started to feel the effects of their refo and agro activities. Clean and potable safe water are now accessible and cool surroundings as a result of planting trees to their barren mountains. In addition, a major change reported was the increased awareness on environmental issues, the need to preserve trees and manage natural resources by the beneficiaries.
The agriculture, agribusiness, and income generating activities (AAIGA) of the Project under component 3 helped provide alternative livelihoods for the livelihood interest group (LIGs) members. As shown by the results, income generated by many of the livelihood projects was still moderate in amount. However, these were highly appreciated by the project beneficiaries as the earnings allowed them to contribute in meeting food and other basic family needs. The livelihood assistance funds and the economic activities connected to it have the pump priming effect of stimulating more economic activities, more employment of extra manpower and time and household income.
The rural infrastructure development (RID) activities under component 4 also shows a lot of positive impact and is receiving positive remarks from the beneficiaries. Some of the highlights as shown by the result of the study says that generally, there is a decrease in travel time and expenses, transportation cost of farm products from farm to market is lower, farming income increased, and access to and from the barangays to the city is faster.
//Mary Joy G. Maguide-CHARMP2 IKMU