Pope Francis Village adopts ‘participatory approach’

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Fr. Alcris Badana (second from left) revealed that Caritas Palo is endeavoring to be self-sufficient and no longer dependent on Caritas International in the same way tries to make the people-driven model community Pope Francis Village sustainable. (Photo: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros)

TACLOBAN City, Aug. 16, 2015 – 550 units of permanent housing for typhoon Yolanda will soon rise in Brgy. Diit in this city, a project by the church-backed consortium “FRANCESCO”, which employs a more participatory, pro-beneficiary, bottom-up approach for rehabilitation work.

“It is not enough that they will be provided houses,” said Fr. Ed Gariguez, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) executive director.

According to him, this model community demonstrates how the beneficiaries collectively decide and participate in decision-making not just about the construction of their houses but about the creation of a holistic environment survivors need, including livelihood.

The priest also explained that having all other basic needs of the community within the beneficiaries’ reach makes the resettlement project a model community.

‘Bottom-up approach’

Fr. Alcris Badana, director of Caritas-Palo, identified the Pope Francis Village as a prototype of the participatory, bottom-up approach for building entire villages for people displaced by the super typhoon in 2013.

According to Badana, the locals were consulted even on the design of the Pope Francis Village houses to be built as well as on site development.

Badana said the model community is only one of those where the local Caritas is currently extending help to Yolanda survivors.

“While reaching out to those needing help, Caritas Palo is enhancing the capabilities of its manpower and also of the beneficiaries to ensure sustainability,” Badana disclosed.

FRANCESCO consortium

For now, talks are underway with companies that will supply the necessary utilities. The whole project might take more than one year due to become fully functional.

The consortium of organizations called FRANCESCO is composed of the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), Canadian Catholic for Development and Peace (CCDP), CBCP-NASSA, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and the Archdiocese of Palo through Caritas-Palo (RCAP Relief and Rehabilitation Unit).

It aims to establish a permanent in-city relocation site acceptable to the affected communities where they could build better, more resilient houses, restore their sources of livelihood, and continue to strengthen their organizations so that they can fully participate in community governance as well as to effectively engage with the local government, according to a FRANCESCO source. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)

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