Since re-establishing its presence in the Philippines in 2006, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has been working in conflict-affected areas in Central Mindanao in close partnership with local government units and communities to rebuild their assets following years of conflict and displacement. Now, WFP is improving its project registration, implementation, and monitoring system to streamline and balance project implementation and benefit project participants.
Situated at the south-western coastal area of the province of Maguindanao is the Municipality of Upi, a mountainous town composed of 23 barangays home to nearly 50,000 people, a large number of which relies on agriculture as their primary source of income.
Despite prior improvements, transporting their agricultural commodities is still difficult for several barangays due to rough roads and steep transportation costs. “Travel to our barangay is often difficult because of the limited access, especially during the rainy season,” said Anson, a farmer and resident of Ranao Pilayan.
Anson is one of 75 men tasked to work on improving local roads as part of a Food For Assets programme in Upi, Maguindanao. WFP/ Jeanne Spillane
Working With Local Government
In response, WFP, in partnership with the local government unit of Upi, launched a project entitled “Enhancing Food Security Initiatives of Upi Upland Barangays”. The project focuses on rehabilitating 5 kilometers of farm-to-market roads, benefiting 950 households in 11 barangays, and aims to increase access to basic social services by reducing transportation costs and travel time. Meanwhile, household-level food security is addressed through the inclusion of establishing backyard vegetable gardens.
Anson is one of over three hundred people to register for a new electronic ID card from WFP. He joins a team of 75 men tasked with digging drainage channels on local access roads to ensure they remain passable even when the monsoon rains fall. The new ID card will allow him to claim food assistance from WFP for three months in return for the work.
Many of the roads in the region are unpaved dirt roads, prone to severe flooding when monsoon rains hit. Local government identified road improvement as one area that would benefit local farmers and families. Drainage channels like this one ensure that the road remains passable whatever the weather. WFP/ Jeanne Spillane
Registration of project participants in the SCOPE system began in October 2016, and from a distance the scene at barangay Rifao is a familiar sight, one no different from previous sign-ups for WFP projects. SCOPE is an online database system which WFP has developed to improve how it assists people in need. In the past, distributing food or cash assistance to the poorest communities involved registering people using a paper-based system. This often proved time-consuming and inefficient, with duplication a frequent problem.
Electronic ID Cards
New electronic ID cards are provided to project participants, and while the initial registration does take time for WFP staff on the ground, once complete, monitoring and tracking of food and cash distributions is far more efficient. SCOPE also means registration and distribution services can be more easily delivered directly to the people who need them, meaning they no longer have to travel to a centralized distribution point.
“This registration was much faster than I expected. I also appreciate that it was conducted in a nearby barangay. We didn’t have to travel far from our homes or spend money to be able to register and participate because the registration took place near us,” explained Anson.
Anson is one of 75 men hired to work on improving local roads as part of a Food For Assets programme in Upi, Maguindanao. WFP/ Jeanne Spillane
Improving Monitoring & Evaluation
In addition to WFP’s monitoring, Ronald, the leader of the Project Management Committee, said that SCOPE also assists them in their monitoring and evaluation. “SCOPE will help us in checking attendance, ensure participation, and in the verification or validation process during distributions. With the new IDs, it’s quicker to identify the participants and ensure that the money they’ve earned goes to the right person.