“While ERMFPI recognizes the importance of sustainability in all its projects, the organization is also conscious of the fact that there are immediate needs that must be addressed in order to pave the way for long-term solutions— hence, the need for the DSF initiative”
– Josefa Pizon, ERM-Cebu Program Leader
The root cause of children being out of school was seen to be Family Poverty through lack of Livelihood. Lack of means of family income can lead to the family living off light snacks and when food is available. Having sufficient food for one nutritious meal a day can be a challenge. This results in the child going to school hungry and lacking motivation to learn. Following the school lunch break, the hungry child finds it difficult to face the afternoon lessons and may not return to class. Instances of whole-day absenteeism follow and this inevitably leads to dropping out of schooling altogether. The regular feeding activity is considered “developmental” in that it involves the local community in preparing the meals and relies on the in-kind contributions of local partners- government, private individuals, parish churches and religious congregations. The feeding is “supplementary” in the sense that the activity does not take away the primary responsibility of parents for the daily feeding of their children.
As of today, 200 children from focal communities are regularly being fed once a day with nutritious meals. These children were organized into Kiddie Health Patrol where regular sessions on health and hygiene, waste segregation were provided to them on weekends. These children were also regularly monitored on their BMIs by the Barangay Nurses.
In partnership with the Barangay Nutrition Councils of Brgy. Carreta and Tinago, with ERMFPI as a member, alternating lists of nutritious meal menus are prepared and given to families in charge of the feeding activity. The Capucchin Sisters of the Holy Family and Servant Sisters of the Holy Spirit have also joined the collective action to fight hunger and have been one of the major supporters of the DSF initiative.