CBCS engaged with UNICEF in the early part of 2019 in the conduct of Community Dialogues in Buluan and Mangudadatu Municipalities.  This was in line with CBCS’ commitment to contribute to improving the lives of children especially in conflict affected areas in Mindanao.

CBCS, along with 4 other NGOs:  CFSI, Synergia, ICAN and MARAECA conducted community dialogues in different conflict affected barangays in BARMM for the period of 4 months.

15 Community Facilitators and 4 Project Staff were involved in community conversations with barangay officials, community leaders and parents that generated information on the situation of children, their needs as well as community protection mechanisms in these communiities.

Community Engagement on Child’s Rights through Community Dialogues – CBCS, along with 4 other NGOs namely CFSI, Synergia, ICAN, and MAREDECA were partnered by UNICEF for its Four (4) months project (January – May 2019) on Community Dialogues aimed to contribute to UNICEF’s desired result for its CP Plan:  Strengthened capacities of the child protection/social welfare system, families and communities, to empower and protect at-risk children and youth in selected conflict-affected provinces in Mindanao.

This engagement with UNICEF strengthened communications between communities and barangay / municipal government officials. The dialogues brought the local government officials who are at the duty bearers for securing the peace and orer of communities closer to community representatives thereby strengthening community level social cohesion. Additionally, the the focus group discussions surfaced out issues and gaps  with regards to services needed by children for them to enjoy the benefits of peaceful and well-governed communities.   These services are along the line of additional potable water points, WASH facilities, improved nutiriton and health care, free birth certification of children for them to have easy access to education,  provision of alternative educational system for those who dropped out of school and who have difficult access to formal learning institutions and functional child protection committees, among others.

When presented with the FGD results, the local officials of Buluan and Mangudadatu also committed to respond to the gaps in services that were pointed out and colored “red” in the UNICEF monitoring matrix used for the community dialogues.

As the Honorable Mayor of Buluan said, “We will certainly use our resources for the good of our children, as they, along with the youth, are our future.”