Last September 20, 2021, the DOST Regional Office No. VII through the Northern Samar Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) visited the Samahan ng Kababaihan sa Barangay (SAMAKABA) association of Barangay Bonifacio in the municipality of Lope de Vega. Being the beneficiary of the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) project, the DOST team conducted an interview with SAMAKABA President Marivic O. Sardinia regarding the progress of the association.

In 2019, DOST 8 was able to extend its assistance to LGU Lope de Vega through the Grants In-Aid (GIA) program rendering a total amount of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand pesos (Php250,000.00). The Northern Samar PSTC then implemented the project entitled “Community Empowerment of Lope de Vega, Northern Samar through Science, Technology, and Intervention” which aimed to establish ginger/salabat powder production facilities. With DOST’s financial assistance, the SAMAKABA of Barangay Bonifacio being the beneficiary received a set of equipment composed of multi-purpose grinder for turmeric and ginger, juice extractor, turmeric pulverizer, stainless steel working table, upright freezer, and an HD stove with LPG tank. The DOST VIII will also provide the association with label design of its product. Further, the DOST will deploy one unit of Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Operated Kiosk (STARBOOKS) in the community as CEST intervention in the form of human resource development.

The SAMAKABA organization
The Samahan ng Kababaihan sa Barangay (SAMAKABA) of Barangay Bonifacio, Lope de Vega was officially formed in the year 2005 with twenty-one (21) official members. The SAMAKABA became an active organization that conducted different kinds of activities that contributed to the community like solid waste management, feeding programs, and the “gabay aral” program which specifically reaches out indigenous children who wished to go to school. Gardening activities are also actively done by the members of the organization in order to provide sufficient and good quality supply of vegetables for their families. They also conduct feeding programs for the children in the community as well as medical consultations. These were made possible with the assistance they acquired from different agencies such as the DSWD and the LGU. The organization then started to bloom and became more active after a lot of trainings on farming business and on that time they were already earning from the products they were producing such as vegetables.

CEST project of Lope de Vega
When tropical depression “Usman” hit Northern Samar, Lope de Vega was one of the most affected towns leaving the SAMAKABA organization with nothing. The SAMAKABA didn’t know how to start anew. However, SAMAKABA president Marivic Sardinia knew what to do and that is to ask for assistance from different agencies like DOST, DAR, TESDA, DTI, and the LGU. Fortunately, DOST being the first to respond, immediately delivered assistance to the organization. The agency supported the organization through financial assistance and provided all equipment needed for their ongoing ginger/salabat powder production. Members of the SAMAKABA also underwent Training and Orientation on Nutritional Analysis and Product Packaging and Labelling for Food Processors. With this, members of the SAMAKABA was able to increase their production and sales. However, challenged by the ongoing pandemic, SAMAKABA’s products are currently being sold through social media platforms and trade fairs thru DOST and DTI.

The Secret to Success
SAMAKABA’s ginger/salabat production success would not be made possible without each members’ cooperation, respect, discipline, and love for each other. The organization also assured that they will remain active and productive and do everything that can help the community.