Small but sustainable
Hats off to the women in Sitio Kamanggahan in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City who are among the growing number of citizens prioritizing ecological solid waste management (SWM) and small-scale and sustainable urban agriculture.
Relying on their own initiative and efforts, they are segregating wastes, cleaning up their community and tend to their ampalaya, spinach, pepper, malunggay, eggplant and cabbage garden in open spaces. They aim for no malnourished children in the neighborhood by 2016 and came up with a brilliant idea of feeding them with a concoction of malunggay, spinach (alugbati) and bananas with crushed ice as shake.
Their shared love for their family and community provides not just income for them, but has made them do the extra mile of teaching disaster resilience in their sitio. They know that ignorance and lack of preparedness can be fatal for any contingency.
The women leaders acknowledge the significant contribution of the exposure trip they made in San Francisco of the Camotes group of islands. This municipality has placed Cebu and the Philippines in the map due to its widely recognized purok system of governance and effective SWM and disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) program. It deserves the bragging right of having zero casualty when Supertyphoon Yolanda aka Haiyan unleashed its destructive might in several hard-hit provinces, including Cebu.
That remarkable visit opened their eyes to the possibility that in their own areas, they can effect reforms by being the change-makers themselves. Indeed, every journey starts with awareness of challenges coupled by a firm resolve to find solutions and effect concrete actions.
This beautiful community-led enterprise in Guadalupe is commendable. On a small albeit more manageable level, the programs tackle the issues of poverty, health, ecological sustainability and even gender equality and women empowerment. These are among the international development goals covered by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which are set to end by 2015.
The good news is, in its place, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been concurred in by 193-member countries of the United Nations last week for discussion. The SDGs will be the focus of campaigns and discussions at the international, regional and local arenas.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are:
— End poverty in all its forms everywhere;
— End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture;
— Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages;
— Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;
— Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls;
— Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all;
— Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all;
— Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all;
— Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation;
— Reduce inequality within and among countries;
— Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable;
— Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns;
— Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts;
— Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development;
— Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss;
— Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels;
— Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
It is good bye MDG, and Hello SDGs by the end of this year. Admittedly, our country has not fared well in the attainment of the MDGs. But the learning and empowering experience of the residents in San Francisco and Guadalupe in localizing MDGs should now propel more citizens and public authorities to learn from the failures of the MDGs and move forward in attaining a development that ensures the dignity of humans and restores the health of our ailing planet.
These dedicated leaders from sitio Kamanggahan are proving that each one of us has the capacity to make a difference. By starting small within our own spheres of influence, we can likewise inspire others to do the same and who knows, one day will be mainstreamed in the thousands of islands in our climate-challenged archipelago.
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