First Kalahi-CIDSS Construction Painting Workshop for Women in Masbate

Kalahi-CIDSS launched the first community-based training on construction painting with 75 women volunteers from prioritized barangays for its second year (Cycle 2) in Cawayan, Masbate to celebrate International Women’s Month.

The activity was designed to prepare women volunteers in their participation in the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) subproject implementation as construction painters of school buildings, health stations, and other community infrastructures.

The livelihood course also opened employment opportunities among the Cawayan women-volunteers as members of their communities. The event, which was conducted in collaboration with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) of Masbate, also generated awareness on women empowerment in the community level.

“Our barangay captain encouraged me to join this activity and I never hesitated because I know I can help in the completion of our high school building [one-unit school building with three classrooms],” Maricar Banico of Barangay Dalipe said.

TESDA Instructor Noel Condeza from Masbate City imparted his expertise in construction painting and tackled topics on its basic principles, procedures, strategies and precautionary measures in a two-day lecture and oneday hands-on training in painting.  He emphasized the observance of discipline and right attitude towards work as integral parts of their job.

“Aside from assimilating new skills in this training to help the community and the government, they need to maintain a good character and strong work ethics,” Condeza stressed.

The women volunteers were divided into to two separate sessions. The first batch was scheduled last March 5, 7, and 9 while the training for the second batch was conducted last March 6, 8, and 10. The actual painting workshop transpired in Bienvenido Mapa’s residence in Barangay Poblacion. The first-time painters did an impressive job in transforming Mapa’s bare walls into a verdant canvas.

“As I interacted with them, I recognized that they have the strong determination to help their families and communities. I know they are more than fit for this job,” Condeza said.

The successful participants were awarded certificates by TESDA in a ceremony conducted at the Cawayan Sports Complex last March 11.

Most of the participants were high school graduates and unemployed women who pledged their commitment to help in the development of their respective communities.


Transformation of Women in Cawayan

       Most of the women of Kalahi-CIDSS in Cawayan were plain housewives without any other source of income. Nonetheless, they believed they could go beyond the boundaries of housekeeping and child-rearing. The training and painting experience helped them learn the rudiments of the job and put them in the direction of establishing a career in the construction field. Their involvement in livelihood activities and their participation in the training program enabled them to show compassion to their families and their community as productive members of the barangay.

Bernardina Eyas, a volunteer from Barangay Tubog whose husband is also a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer, said that there’s a clear difference between housekeeping and painting.

“I used to do the laundry at home, cook meals for my family, and keep our house clean. When I got into the training, I realized that women can paint just like men,” Eyas said. She shared that she will educate her family about what she learned from the livelihood training and will encourage her neighbors to support and participate in Kalahi-CIDSS events.

Just like Bernardina, Maricar said that because of poverty, she was able to try this kind of task that her carpenter husband always did at home.


Youngest and Oldest Volunteers

As the trite adage goes, age does not matter. The oldest participant in the training is Adelfa Sopolmo, 50, of Taberna. Physical work such as painting was a new experience for her but she was able to take on the challenge.

       “I know I’m capable of doing this, especially now that I tried the actual painting. I just need more practice and I know I can do even better. I will also teach my neighbor and children so we can help each other in the construction of our barangay health center,” Sopolmo said.

The youngest volunteer was 18-year-old Rushday Bacolod from the island barangay of Naro. She travelled 45 minutes via boat to attend the three-day workshop in Poblacion, Cawayan. “My parents convinced me to join the training because they know I’m fond of painting and this will improve my skills. I’m graduating in high school this year and I sacrificed a few days out of school because I know that this training is important to our barangay,”

Rushday said that construction painting is a complex job and the formal lessons from TESDA expert is a great help especially for her.


Supportive Couple

       Maricar shared that fourth year high school students of Barangay Dalipe walk about three kilometers just to reach the barangay of Palobandera. From there, they ride the tricycle going to Del Carmen. This is the daily routine of graduating high school students from Dalipe.

       “My daughter is a first year high school student and I don’t want her to suffer through the same experience the moment she reaches her final year in high school. By then, [I hope] she will only take few steps going to school. That’s why my family committed to support Kalahi-CIDSS,” Maricar said.

       Joevil, her husband, showed ardent participation in completing the construction of the school building in their barangay by serving as the volunteer foreman. He also encouraged his wife to participate in the painting workshop of Kalahi-CIDSS through TESDA to ensure quality work.

       “I would like her to learn the fundamentals of painting so she can participate and help in the painting job once the school building has been built. I will guide her and check if she’s on the right track,” Joevil said.

       Currently, there are temporary rooms in the “Bayanihan Building” that accommodates first to third year students. The Kalahi-CIDSS school building, which is now under construction, will be allotted to fourth year students. It will be completed by the end of May, just in time for the next school year.

       “Once it is finished, parents will be able to save money and students will save time. They will no longer need to rent in Del Carmen. Eight nearby barangays will also benefit from the additional school building,” Joevil Banico said.

Prioritized Barangays in Cawayan, Masbate

Cycle 2 of Kalahi-CIDSS in Cawayan prioritized 15 out of 37 barangays this year. These were San Jose, Iraya, Dalipe, Palobandera, RM Magbalon, Taberina, Divisoria, Mahayahay, Tubog, Maihao, Tuburan, and Poblacion, and the three island barangays of Gilotongan, Naro, and Talisay.

The subprojects are ongoing thanks to the meaningful support and participation of the women volunteers in the barangays who have committed to share their skills as productive members of their communities.