Indigenous group in Guimaras to avail of livelihood assistance, improve their lives through science and technology

Far from barangay proper of Guimaras is a home of indigenous people whose main source of income is from making native products such as buon-buon or wallet, house decors, and souvenirs. Sitio Kati-Kati, one of the sitios of Barangay San Miguel in Jordan, Guimaras, has a total land area of 10 hectares that composes of 115 Aeta families with members of the Jordan Ati Community Association (JACA).
Despite the keenness in their livelihood, the members have recently decided to stop their production of native products due to lack of supply of raw materials, and most of the equipment that were given by the national agency are already old and damaged thus affected the quality of work.

Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region VI tapped the community to benefit the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program through interventions in Human Resource Development, Health and Nutrition, and most especially in the Economic Enterprise Development.

Improving their handicrafts making process, the program will upgrade and provide additional equipment to the association that includes a bench grinder for cutting, grinding, sharpening, and polishing metal discs, ceramic tiles, concrete, stone, and wood; and drill press that is used for drill or enlarges holes in the surface of the material.

Moreover, training on woodcraft and handicraft making will be conducted to improve the quality of work and widen their creativity in developing new products.

Aside from the intervention in their livelihood, the program also aims to combat malnutrition given that there are 25 children from 6-35 months old and 50 pre-school children who are at risk of malnutrition in the community.

Through the program’s Health and Nutrition component, the community will adopt the DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s complementary food technology on Rice-Mongo Sesame Blends and the Enhanced Nutribun (e-Nutribun).

The Rice-Mongo Sesame Blends is a powdered formulation that is a ready-to-cook baby food from a blend of rice, mungbean, and sesame seeds that contains about 13-kcal (energy) and 4.0 grams (protein) per 30 g of serving portions. On the other hand, the e-Nutribun is a ready-to-eat bread formulated with ingredients that contain micronutrients, particularly iron and vitamin A. These complementary food technologies will be distributed in the feeding programs of the community.

Banking on the youth’s future, the program’s Human Resource Development component will also provide the DOST’s Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly-Operated Kiosk Stations or dubbed as STAROOKS for the student’s opportunities in acquiring information in Science and Technology.

The stand-alone kiosk contains thousands of information on Science and Technology thus could spur a wave of S&T enthusiasts and entrepreneurs in the community and give them the opportunity to increase their chances of passing scholarships for college education.

Pursuing the project amounting to P356,950, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was recently signed between the DOST Region VI and the community of San Miguel with Hon. Ruperto Malcon II, barangay captain of Barangay San Miguel as the project head, Hon. Brgy. Kagawad Stephen G. Suarez, the project leader, and Mr. Allen Daryl F. Asuelo, the DOST-Guimaras Provincial Director. (JJMoleño/SSalazar/DOST VI-KMU)