BRITE is a community empowerment approach developed through the collaboration of a Single Drop for Safe Water, Inc (ASDSW), Ashoka, Limitless Lab, Firetree Trust and Xchange – organizations geared on technology innovation for empowerment. This empowerment approach was born out of the desire to support local government units for resilience and preparedness in the face of Covid-19 pandemic.
The Barangays have the most direct impact on the implementation of government policy. Stopping the spread of COVID requires widespread behaviour change. Barangays are some of the strongest influencers of community behaviour and decisions made by barangay leadership has an immediate effect on the quality of life of their community. However, barangays have limited access to life-saving aid, correct information, and adequate resources to respond to needs of and build the resiliency of communities during this pandemic.
The BRITE approach envisions the barangay to have accessible healthcare, reduced Covid 19 transmission, secure livelihood, continuous education, secure food supply chain, peace and cooperation through improved governance, communication, behavior change, service delivery and impact mitigation. It employs human-centered design, non-linear and systemic view of the situation, and multi-sectoral collaboration as tools for its empowerment goals.
Often times, the barangays found themselves lacking access or proper explanation of national and local policies. Policies and guidelines are confusing and left to each person’s interpretation. There is also lack of funds for protective personal equipment, supplies such alcohol, learning materials, laptop and WIFI connection. Information system is not established and therefore inaccurate and coming from different sources. The situation is aggravated by the barangays having no plans for risk reduction and response for a pandemic.
Arche Nova funded the implementation of its pilot run in 20 barangays in Puerto Princesa City, implemented by its partner ASDSW . It ran from April-December 2020. The implementation started at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic and the barangays scrambling to cope up with protocol issued by the national and local IATF.
As a process, the BRITE approach involves community self-assessment, simulation of ideal scenario, action planning and designing solutions based on local context, validated and participated by multi sectoral segments of the community. The pilot barangays, after undergoing the workshops on updating their barangay disaster risk reduction plan and solutions design were able to identify their top 3 priority gaps and were able to design solutions for these priority gaps. The piloting of this innovative approach is considered a success by implementing partners in that the barangay officials have these to say at the end of the process:
“We saw the clearer direction of our barangay.”
“With clearer process on planning, unlike before we just gave the responsibility to our councilors and we consolidate them and that’s it, we have our barangay development plan.”
“We saw our priorities that should be addressed immediately.”
“We now have a preparedness (contingency) plan for the pandemic.”
“We are proud that we developed this kind of plan.”