In this part of the world, the need to reach out to communities is always increasing. Gota de Leche knows this, only three years ago, Gota decided to step out of Manila to answer to the needs of families affected by Typhoon Haiyan. But even before the calamity, Gota has been providing the needs of breast-feeding mothers in Tondo – an urban poor community about 8 km away from Gota grounds.
While the main point of services is still in Sampaloc, a grassroots approach allows Gota de Leche to closely monitor and respond to the needs of its beneficiaries. This is particularly true in Tondo, where families have no or limited income and cannot even afford the fares to go to Gota grounds.
Community-based approaches are never easy though and a program must be able to answer the challenges. In the case of Tondo, these are the crucial aspects that must be considered:
- Logistics Management – The number of beneficiaries in Tondo is small but regardless of community size, delivering quality service is dependent on effective communication and the smooth transport of supplies. Coordinating with volunteers and healthcare personnel can also be quite tricky and staff must always be patient and ready for the unexpected.
- Resources – Not only in terms of money and supplies but the number of people or volunteers needed. Aside from knowledge on hygienic food preparation, people and affiliates involved must also have the basic know-how in the importance of logging and monitoring data. Another point to consider is access to clean water. Urban poor communities – and those in far-flung areas, have no access to water.
- Monitoring and Evaluating Data – Gota de Leche cannot stress this enough. A program’s success cannot be determined if there are no records to compare. Behavioral changes, scientific breakthroughs, trends, and a course of action can be determined with the help of meticulous record-keeping.
These elements come together for a successful community-based program and fortunately, despite the challenges, Gota De Leche never falters in providing the needs of children and mothers.