The Department of Science and Technology XI (DOST XI), through its Provincial Center in Davao de Oro, conducted a community outreach program in Barangay Manurigao, New Bataan, Davao de Oro as part of the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology Program (CEST) implementation which aims to empower rural communities and Geographically Isolated Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs).

Davao de Oro State College- Extension Services Division, partner of DOST in implementing CEST, also participated in the outreach as part of their commitment to serve local individuals by developing strong alliances and partnerships with the community for rapid growth and development.

The group conducted a feeding program and distributed iRICE, the iron-fortified rice developed by the Food Nutrition and Research Institute which addresses iron deficiency anemia that is prevalent among pregnant, lactating women and children.

DOST XI also provided handwashing kiosks to the community, a foot-operated handwashing kiosk fitted with a liquid soap dispenser and a water tap connected with two different pedals. This handwashing equipment facilitates a non-contact means of handwashing.

Moreover, DOST XI distributed Breadfruit saplings, a resilient crop helpful during emergencies, turned over STARBOOK which is a stand-alone information source designed to reach those with limited or no access to  Bags equipped with survival tools such as basic first aid kit and emergency hygiene kit.

With CEST targeting to empower the GIDAs in the country through science and technology interventions in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, education, livelihood development, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, it is expected that the lives of the people, especially in the countryside, will significantly improve. (DOST XI S&T Information and Promotion)