NABUNTURAN, DAVAO DE ORO – To discuss plans on pushing through with Kusina ng Kalinga even during distance learning and the pandemic, the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) of Davao de Oro held a Bayanihan Para sa Kalusugan-Kusina ng Kalinga (BPSK-KNK) Volunteers Forum in the activity hall of the provincial capitol, which gathered the province’s Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS), Kusina ng Kalinga team, and partners from the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), Provincial Community Relations Office (PCRO), and the Department of Education on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

BPSK-KNK, Davao de Oro’s own province-wide School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP), provides free lunch-meals to classified undernourished public schoolchildren for 120 school days with the target to rehabilitate 100% of its beneficiaries each year. The pandemic, however, has greatly hindered the province from achieving this goal with the imposition of distance learning—a type of learning that unfortunately keeps children from receiving their KNK lunches at school.

But determined to push through with the feeding program, especially during the pandemic where hunger is prevalent due to the increased unemployment rate, Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy tapped the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and the Provincial Community Relations Office (PCRO) to help with the program’s food delivery—encouraging both volunteerism and participation in the provincial government. KNK with its new distribution system will now be delivering free lunches from central kitchens to the children’s designated KNK feeding-locations in their respective barangays. While still observing minimum health standards such as the wearing of face-masks and regular disinfection, this new method will allow the program to resume through the pandemic, while progress monitoring and food distribution will be manned by SK and PCRO volunteers. Their help will yet again unburden teachers from having to travel to each of the children’s barangays to conduct monitoring.

Governor Tyron Uy also mentioned during the forum that KNK had fed and rehabilitated as much as 7,000 classified malnourished public schoolchildren of Davao de Oro in the past year. And following the recommendation from Ateneo de Manila-CW3 Laboratory to further broaden KNK’s beneficiary range, the program will now be extended to the kindergarten level, all in addition to the extended list of public schools that will be catering universal feeding starting 2020. Universal feeding means that every student in the listed school will benefit from KNK regardless of being classified as malnourished or not. With this, the PLGU is now faced with the challenge of feeding a grand total of 25,250 schoolchildren. Aside from the challenges concerning the budget for this bold move, the SK and PCRO volunteers would be a great assistance to the program in terms of manpower.

Various obstacles may impede the PLGU from pushing through with KNK during the ongoing pandemic, but the province’s determination is far more than enough for Davao de Oro to continue making the province a place for the children.

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