Manila Water Foundation, through the Roots to Shoots (RTS) program with Pilipinas Shell Foundation and World Vision, turned over 17 new handwashing facilities, one toilet facility, and five water tanks to different barangay health centers and public spaces in Bombon and Pasacao, Camarines Sur on December 11.
The facilities aim to help promote proper hygiene to support the first two years of child development and to promote general health among its beneficiaries. Moreover, water access in Bombon has been improved and reached farther households since new and larger water pumps were installed, for the local water utility. For the first time since 2018, the Bombon Water District (BOWADI) customers experienced 24 hours water supply.
To observe health and safety protocols amid the pandemic, each of handwashing facilities under the RTS program utilizes a “hybrid” design. This means that the users may turn on the faucets in two ways: via a lever that can be used by a hand or an elbow, or by using a foot pedal. Each facility is also built with a soap container and canopy and installed with signages about COVID-19 precautionary measures, proper handwashing, and the responsible use of water, translated in Bicolano.
There were 11 facilities installed at the Bombon Municipal Hall, BOWADI Office, Bombon Regional Health Unit Office, Barangay Health Centers of Barangays San Jose, Sto. Domingo, San Isidro, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Roque, Siembre and Pagao in Bombon, with an additional toilet and kitchenette constructed for Bgy. Pagao. In Pasacao, six handy hygiene facilities and five water tanks were constructed at the Pasacao Fishing Port, Barangay Health Centers of Balogo, Caranan, Dalupaon, Odicon, and Quitang.
Aside from the WASH facilities, other WASH projects implemented during the program include hygiene education sessions with the benefitting communities. Overall, there will be more than 6,900 beneficiaries from this initiative.
Roots to Shoots (RTS)
RTS is a three-year multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral initiative equally led by Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Manila Water Foundation, and World Vision. With particular focus on the earliest stages of child development, the initiative aims to foster the right conditions for children to take root, grow, and branch out to reach their full potential.
Rosie Dela Torre, a resident of San Isidro and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) president in Bombon, shared how the program helped improve their children's nutrition and hygiene practices. "Here in Barangay San Isidro, mothers undergo counselling, and children are taught proper food and hygiene practices to minimize malnutrition," she said in her local dialect.
She further added, "To Roots to Shoots, thank you for all the help that you gave—in providing proper handwashing facilities for kids and in helping us minimize malnutrition in Bombon."
Its program components focus on food security and livelihood, mother and childcare, and water access, sanitation and hygiene or WASH.