Sustaining Community Initiatives for Improving Water Supply and Sanitation by
Recarti Q. Galsim*, Ramonsito S. Adriano*, Bonifacio R.Tuiza*, Reynaldo E. Prado* and Paul Bayungan**
(*Sitio Silangan Water and Sanitation Association, **Philippine Center for Water and Sanitation-ITN Foundation)
The paper reports on sustainability trends resulting from a community-based project in Sitio Silangan, Barangay Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna where PCWS--with support from Baxter Healthcare Philippines--trained four people in early 2013 to build, operate, repair and maintain pilot demonstration units of biogas digester septic tank, rainwater harvesting tank, iron removal filter and biosand filter. The four trainees replicated the low-cost technologies in their community, such that after three months, there were already 3 biogas digester septic tanks, 2 rainwater harvesting tanks, 2 iron removal filters and 40 biosand filters. These low-cost technologies are now being used by community members who have the least financial resources; are most impacted by water scarcity and lack of access to potable water; and lack safe and adequate sanitation facilities. Using these technologies, more and more community residents are now meeting their daily needs for potable and non-potable water, a substantial improvement from just three months ago.
The paper also reports on the Sitio Silangan water and sanitation association (WSA), which was formed by the community to sustain initiatives that have been started. WSA members include all the beneficiaries of the low-cost water and sanitation technologies. The WSA‘s Action Plan includes raising awareness to the rest of the community residents about low-cost water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) technologies for human health, community empowerment and environmental protection. Beneficiaries of the low-cost technologies are raising awareness and sharing knowledge about WASH technologies to the poorest of the poor in their community. Biogas digesters, which serve as sanitation advocacy tools, are being promoted as a means for managing waste and having a steady supply of biofuel for cooking. Rainwater harvesting is being promoted as an alternative water source and a solution to the groundwater depletion, which is already happening in Canlubang and adjacent areas. Beneficiary households monitor the efficiency and performance of the low-cost technologies. In coordination with PCWS, the WSA does the water quality testing on each biosand filter on a regular basis. Learning sessions through innovations and up-scaling of the low-cost technologies are on-going. The WSA has started to receive visitors from other communities and engage in focus group discussions with them regarding improved access to water supply and sanitation. The Sitio Silangan WSA is bound to broaden its knowledge about sanitation systems, and learn more about designing, building and operating a low-cost wastewater treatment for households and communities.
PAUL L. BAYUNGAN is a Project Officer at the Philippine Center for Water and Sanitation - ITN Foundation (PCWS-ITNF). He used to work with the US Peace Corps as Technical Trainer and Language and Culture Facilitator. Paul also worked as Community Extension Officer at the World Vision Philippines; Community Organizer at the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement; and Community Organizer at the National Anti-Poverty Commission. He was previously employed as Rural Sanitary Inspector at the Banaue Municipal Local Government and later as Chief of Staff of the Governor’ s Office at the Ifugao Provincial Local Government. Paul also worked as Chief Administrative Support Staff at the Office of the Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Paul has training on environmental planning; participatory project development and management; language, technical and cultural integration and communication; primary health care, first aid and minor surgery; environmental awareness and education. He also has skills in inter-personal communication; counseling techniques; assessment process; cross-cultural sessions on American-Filipino diversity; and different teaching methodologies and approaches.