DSWD Combats El Niño Through Projects LAWA and BINHI

When it comes to preparing for — or responding to — the effects of calamities or natural disasters the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is always ready to step up and help. Just recently, in order to help mitigate the effects of El Niño, the department introduced a couple of projects: LAWA and BINHI.

What exactly are Projects LAWA and BINHI all about? Who are the people behind them, and who are the target beneficiaries? What are the projects and activities involved? These are the questions that we’ll be answering in this article about DSWD’s latest projects.

DSWD Combats El Niño Through Projects LAWA and BINHI

Projects LAWA and BINHI

Last February 22, 2024, the DSWD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with national government agencies an local government units (LGUs) in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan, a press release reported. The MOU officially launches Projects “Local Adaptation to Water Access” (LAWA) and Breaking Insufficiency through Nutritious Harvest for the Impoverished (BINHI).

The projects aim to boost the adaptive capabilities of poor and vulnerable families in facing challenges brought about by severe weather conditions. Today, the projects are focused on mitigating the effects of El Niño, such as water scarcity and food insecurity.

Projects LAWA and BUNI shall be implemented in 300 cities and municipalities, in 58 provinces around the country. In each locality, a total of 10 LAWA and BINHI projects will be done, with 50 partner beneficiaries joining cash-for-training and cash-for-work activities, under the Risk Resiliency Program (RRP) of the DSWD.

Moreover, the projects shall provide Learning and Development Sessions (LDS) about Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM – DRR).

Who are Involved?

Aside from DSWD, other agencies that are involved in the implementation and monitoring of Projects LAWA and BINHI are: Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and United Nations World Food Program (UN-WFP).

Target Beneficiaries

The target beneficiaries of Projects LAWA and BINHI include families of farmers, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, and other families living in disaster-vulnerable areas.

Each beneficiary shall be given the chance to join cash-for-training and cash-for-work activities for 10 to 25 days. They will be given daily wage based on the prevailing regional daily minimum wage rate range of the project area.

DSWD Combats El Niño Through Projects LAWA and BINHI
DSWD conducts ceremonial groundbreaking of Projects LAWA and BINHI at Barangay Kalawakan, Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.
Image Credit: Department of Social Welfare and Development / Facebook

Projects and Activities

With regard to water scarcity and usage, beneficiaries will participate in various activities, such as:

  • Aquaculture;
  • Aquaponics or hydroponics;
  • Diversification of water supplies;
  • Construction of small farm reservoirs (SFRs);
  • Repair of multipurpose water infrastructures; and
  • Repair and rehabilitation of water harvesting facilities.

As for food security, beneficiaries will join activities like:

  • Urban gardening;
  • Vermicomposting;
  • Communal vegetable gardening;
  • Community-based diversified integrated farming;
  • School-based and community-based vegetable gardening; and
  • Planting of disaster resilient crops, fruit trees, and mangroves.

Pilot Testing

Last year, pilot testing for Project LAWA was done in Ifugao (for Luzon), Antique (for Visayas), and Davao de Oro (for Mindanato). During the pilot implementation, it was found that aside from water, people also need nutritious food to ensure their survival and productivity. Hence, Project BINHI was also created.

Latest Updates

According to latest news, the DSWD has earmarked more than PHP 1.4 billion budget for 2024. This amount will be geared towards projects that would mitigate the effects of El Niño.

In particular, Special Assistant to the Secretary (SAS) for Special Projects, Maria Isabel Lanada, stated that the allocated budget shall be used to fund Projects LAWA and BINHI.

For the year 2024, the projects will be implemented in almost 3000 cities/municipalities in 58 provinces, across 16 regions. According to Lanada, around 290 out of more than 2,000 SFRs have been completed as of February 2024.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to DSWD’s Projects LAWA and BINHI, we can expect only the best possible care from the people behind these projects. Even though we are bound to experience prolonged El Niño pretty soon, projects like these are definitely a big help!

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the DSWD has also been busy helping disaster-affected families in Mindanao. Check out this article featuring a ship that delivered thousands of food packs to that area!