Nothing can keep a dedicated and passionate institution from delivering what it is committed to do.
That is what exactly the National Soil and Water Resources Research and Development Center for Hillyland Pedo-Ecological Zone (NSWRRDC HILLPEZ) have proven this 2021. In the middle of a global health problem brought about by COVID-19, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management’s Center for hillyland pedo-ecological zone continued its activity to capacitate the farming community of the marginal hillylands.
One of the several commitments of NSWRRDC HILLPEZ is the conduct of capacity building activity to promote and train the hillyland farming community with technologies and practices suited for the conservation and management of soil and water resources for agricultural use. Unfortunately, this commitment was challenged by the pandemic when people around the world started to bear the brunt of coping with it. The Philippine government find ways and important insights on how best to deliver pandemic response and recovery programs.
In 2020 when the pandemic started, the declaration of a community quarantine, face to face activities were prohibited – among them is the conduct of trainings and seminars. But the world easily adapted with the situation through the help of technology to ensure minimum human interaction. The conduct of trainings and seminars commenced through online world.
However, the Center couldn’t adapt to this strategy. Due to its location, the Center is deprived of telecommunication and internet signal. Hence, online capacity building activity is impossible for the Center to carry out.
A window of Opportunity
Fortunately, then came the decline in the Covid-19 cases followed by the ease in community quarantine guidelines. The Center had a brief opportunity to conduct capacity enhancement activities from the last semester of 2020.
With left and right lockdowns of various government agencies, the BSWM and its Center were not an exemption. In the beginning of 2021, the Center had its first case of COVID-19 and unfortunately most of the staff were close contact. A lockdown was declared and the Center’s major activities were halted. Then, COVID-19 cases increased again, hence strict guidelines were re-imposed. The Center couldn’t conduct capacity building activity again.
In the beginning of the 2nd semester of 2021, a favorable development occurred – COVID-19 cases declined again. The Center conducted in July its first capacity building activity for 2021; following the IATF guidelines, eleven (11) individuals were capacitated. This was then followed by two activities in October, and another two in November, all of which have at least fifteen (15) participants each. Despite the increase in number of capacity building conducted, the Center has yet to reach its target number of participants. Nevertheless, NSWRRDC HILLPEZ still reached the people for which the activity is intended.
Unfazed and Resilient
The NSWRRDC HILLPEZ as a Center of Bureau of Soils and Water Management will remain unfazed amidst any situation and be resilient in order to provide what it is expected to deliver.
BSWM-NSWRRDC HILLPEZ recognizes that the conduct of capacity enhancement activities is vital in order to transform marginal hillylands into productive and vibrant farming communities to ensure the primacy of soil and water conservation practices, promote agro-biodiversity, and respect natural diversity.
As long as the farming community continuously seeks knowledge in order to better their lives through agriculture, nothing can keep the National Soil and Water Resources Research and Development Center for Hillyland Pedo-Ecological Zone as a Center of Bureau of Soils and Water Management, a dedicated and passionate institution from delivering what it is committed to do.