Three communities in Cagayan de Oro embarked on the GIS-based Urban Environmental Resources Management and Food Security Project to pilot a scheme that would address two problems confronting the people in peri-urban and urban areas of the city: garbage and food insecurity. As pilot communities, the residents in these communities ventured to show that the two issues could be answered with the interplay of integrated solid waste management, urban agriculture and environmental planning.
To implement the project, the community leaders, project staff and support institutions employed a purposive information, education and communication campaign focusing on the message of the correctness of the integrated solid waste management method (because it’s the ecological way), the appropriateness of allotment gardening (it brings in food and money), plus the benefits from of getting on board the realm of local governance (through community participation). They also applied other social mobilization strategies like lobbying, advocacy, community organizing, networking and media relations work to get the stakeholders on board the project, and other sectors in the community to support the residents in their endeavor.
It is now a year since the project wrapped up. The residents have changed their deeply imbedded practices in handling waste. Instead of lumping all wastes in one big container they now segregate them into biodegradable, recyclable and residual wastes. The volume of waste from these communities that goes to the city’s landfill has been reduced as recyclables are now reused, and the biodegradable wastes are now turned into compost. The allotment gardens are flourishing, providing the communities with an accessible, safe source of fresh vegetables and income, plus bonding time among family and neighbors. The residents are now active players in local governance a realm they once thought was the domain of only the elected officials.