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The RSS Program of SIFI organized a training event last February 27, 2020 for ARB groups in Negros Occidental with the end goal of promoting knowledge on the benefits and proper usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and developing communication skills to effectively disseminate the info to their farmer-members.

The training seminar was participated by 28 ARB officials and board members. The Resource Speaker was Julio Labayen III and co-facilitated by SIFI Child Rights Advocates (CRAs) Mary Ann Estomago from Lopez Sugar Milling District and Marites Hojilla from the Victorias Milling District. The Convenor Team was led by SIFI Consultant Judy Ann Gonzaga, with Project Officers Rhyan Dairo and Rolly Dayon.

Beneficial training techniques on how to use PPE during harvest, chemical spraying or applying fertilizer by workers were emphasized as well as the proper use and handling of chemicals. Procedures on how to echo the training and supervise local orientations in the field and impart key messages effectively were demonstrated. The farmers were also encouraged to stop burning farm trashes and to practice proper trash farming to slow down emission of harmful gases.

At the end of the training, SIFI distributed a few PPE sets to the 14 ARB groups comprising 428 farmer-members. A key feature in the seminar was determining how to achieve “sustainability” in the continuing use of the PPE considering the limited financial resources of the project. SIFI could provide 100% grant to chemical spray PPE, but for the rest, cost counterpart was encouraged. After much discussion and negotiation, all the ARBOs agreed to shoulder 30% of the cost of the other needed PPEs.