ILOILO – Throughout a person’s life, they are faced with various types of obstacles and challenges, either personally and professionally.
In six years of professional service, Jasel Dojoles, a Municipal Link assigned in Calinog, Iloilo, learned to overcome these obstacles and challenges. Her patience is being tested once again during COVID-19 pandemic.
Handling 11 barangays with two geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, with 538 caseloads in Regular Conditional Cash Transfer (RCCT) plus 43 households in Modified CCT is not easy.
Aside from the pandemic that we are facing nowadays, it has been a big challenge for her to travel especially during the rainy season going to the upland areas since most of the roads are inaccessible. It takes an hour before she can reach the area and during the rainy season, it takes a lot of courage to ride on a motorcycle traversing on the mountainous slippery road.
One of her unforgettable experiences was when the motorcycle she was riding with, suddenly lost the brakes, but thanks to God no one got hurt or harmed. On a positive note, the Municipality of Calinog took actions to lessen this burden and for the welfare and accessibility of the upland residents, some roads were already concreted since 2019. Despite the challenge and struggle, she pushes herself to be stronger because she shows dedication to her work.
Prior to her present position, Dojoles served as a Social Welfare Assistant (SWA) for two years. During her stint as SWA, she experienced a lot of work pressures such as conducting Family Development Sessions, conducting orientation in different schools that tackle gender-based violence, good parenting, etc. which was also a big help to her.
Her good background as SWA was her edge when she applied as a Municipal Link. One of her targets and strategies was to focus on data clean-up in Beneficiary Data Management (BDM). During the FDS, she always carries CVForm1 to validate the correct facility and names of the monitored children.
All needed forms for updating are always on her backpack, to immediately provide those who need it. She also gathers, prepares transmittal, and submits the said documents to the BDM focal for updating. She too, ensures the regular checking of the status of the monitored child after approval in the system. And she always asks for technical assistance from the systems focal person assigned especially for updating to clarify gray issues and to avoid data discrepancies.
In some cases, wherein beneficiaries transferred to unidentified areas, she ensures Parent Leaders utilized social media such as Facebook and Messenger in updating BDM concerns and to be able to have an intervention.
Since pandemic, grantees were required to attend FDS by the use of social media such as eFDS or virtual FDS and FDS on Air through a radio program. Another alternative mode is the Pasa Basa and small group discussion.
Certification signed by the Municipal Link was required as proof that the said beneficiary has attended the FDS was required in order to support their attendance and presented during the Fiduciary meeting every period.
When Dojoles was selected as a team leader in Grievance Redress System (GRS), aside from other grievances, one of her priorities was to focus on Manual Retro payment, checking the Compliance Verification Form 2 for education after the retrieval of SWA, there are cases that a monitored child was tag as not enrolled even enrolled in the same facility. Some of her findings why children tag as not enrolled was due to discrepancies of entry of names enrolled in other facilities or either discrepancy on their grade level.
One of her strategies to minimize this grievance is to validate after conducting the Family Development Session. She required the grantee to visit the adviser of their children every two months and check the status of the child. Also, she personally conducted Facility visits on each school by the end of every period, to validate and gather queries of each School Heads. This is also her way of exchanging ideas, strategies, and engagement with them to ensure the welfare of these children under our program.
As a Social Worker, one of her most difficult challenges is how to become an effective Case Manager in the life of my beneficiaries, wherein every household has diverse stories but most of that problem is about their children. Concerns like teenage pregnancy, early marriage, loss of interest in school, child labor, are always prevalent during validation and are among the many reasons for not attending to their children. Parents are always complaining about the attitude of their children towards education. It is not easy to handle this kind of situation, especially in difficult areas. But then, it is an immense challenge for Dojoles on how to handle this kind of situation.
With the help of her partners in education, they had able to come up with strategies like conducting Symposium and Orientation for High School and Senior High students in the upland and low land areas, focusing on related topics that children can relate to with themselves. Some schools also invited her to become a guest speaker on the topic of Gender Base Violence and Good Parenting. In addition, she conducts Case Conference for both parents and their child, and if needed, she coordinated and/or refer the child to the Alternative Learning Center to require them to enroll in the said mobile school. Monthly monitoring was also conducted to follow up on the status of every monitored child.
In addition, Youth Development Session (YDS) was conducted every year for the months of April and May through virtual and small group discussion.
Dolores initiated to conduct the YDS during the school vacation of students for them to attend the activity. She facilitated the various activities and acted as a resource speaker on diverse topics. With the help of the Parent Leaders and other staff, they were able to make the activity successful.
The students are excited and hoping for another YDS, however, the pandemic immersed. This activity resulted in lower Not Attending School (NAS) target of Dojoles and a higher compliance rate of not enrolled monitored students.
A literacy program for those identified as indigenous beneficiaries in the upland area is also one of her initiatives since most of them are illiterates or have little to no skills in reading and writing. She acted as a teacher after the conduct of FDS in the Barangay. Her advocacy is to help them to know how to write their names and other pertinent data.
Also, she provided the needed materials like paper and pencil. As a result, there were some Indigenous beneficiaries started to sign in the attendance sheet rather than using a thumb mark.
In 2017, she was designated as Pantawid Team Leader in her assigned area. It was her task to ensure the early submission of reports and deliverables to the POO.
She did the facilitation and reminded her teammates, even did the deliverables of her co-worker when on leave with coordination. She was also designated as Focal in Grievance Redress System in 2016 and 2017.
Thus, her Municipality received an Excellence award as “Excellent Performance on the Implementation of Grievance Redress System” in two years. It was also in her term that the No Facility (NOFA) was reduced to 20% and was maintained up to this year.//