A great many people here on this site constantly whine about the disparity in wealth and other aspects of life that they deem to be so “unfair” ... yet most of these same people sit on their collective keisters, waiting for big brother benevolence from the government as opposed to ever getting out and doing anything themselves. As most people here know, I have been working on viable solutions for a long time now ... since long before I ever began publishing on this site, but I have never taken the opportunity to present many viable solutions in my writing here. Let us see if people are willing to walk the walk instead of constantly talking the talk while passing the buck. This is actually the mid-level solution I have proposed, and that I have gotten approved for construction within the Philippines, French Polynesia, Australia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guinea (Conkry), Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Nigeria. (Yeah Stone-Eater you old Goat ... I know the African tale from which you have derived your name) I was allowed a modicum of travel within diplomatic circles but given the normal restrictions on my travels based on circumstances beyond my control in addition to the unique and ideal government already established in the government structure in the Philippines, I hope to begin construction here where I am proud to have my home. So thus, here is the plan ... lemme know what you think please!
The Isolated Community Service Centers are the mid-level introduction of Systemic Solutions to stem the expansion of poverty if not to ultimately eradicate it fully. The Isolated Community Service Center (ICSC) derives its name from its conception as a means to provide for the basic essentials of life in more rural and largely isolated communities. The overall concept however, has been greatly expanded to include it in additional programs and to utilize the resources generated more efficiently in order to assist even larger numbers of people. As such, the name may change but the overall concept will remain the same. Ideally, there will be at least one ICSC facility for every five to ten Barangays based on local needs and the strategic positioning of the facilities on a national level within the Philippines. (The Barangay (or Neighborhood) is the most common, albeit second smallest level of governance in the Philippines. The smallest is the Barrio, though these are largely under-representative of the people, much less common and are still located within and technically to a degree, under the authority and control of the Barangay Hall or localized government office) Once these facilities are in operation, they can immediately begin to assist the local populations and upon the completion of the networks or districts, they can begin to provide even more assistance on the national and even global level.
Originally, the ICSC facilities were designed to provide for the basic needs specifically in those isolated locations wherein there is little or no electrical power, no clean water facilities, and very little in the way of provisions for sanitation. These are often among those communities most directly ... and disproportionately impoverished so it seemed a very good place to start. While different provisions must be made for different communities, the basic setup for the facilities is fairly standardized, though certainly adaptive in nature so as to be able to more completely meet the needs of the individual communities. Each community will have livestock and agricultural pursuits, butchering facilities, commercial kitchen facilities and laundry facilities in addition to power generating facilities with an average generating capacity of two hundred kilowatts as a basic minimal standard, though these numbers can be increased (or even decreased) based on the individual needs of the Barangay(s) being serviced.
Agricultural crops will be grown to allow for the provision of these harvests to the local community members that are most impoverished. The setup for the livestock will be such that there is room for an average of five hundred sow-breeders, two thousand chickens and fish ponds for a selection of meats and an important source of proteins for those same residents. These will be coupled with butcheries and commercial kitchens that meet or exceed Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Standards to give the people receiving these goods, additional capabilities to store and utilize these goods for future, personal use. Current trends are such that, when these people do harvest a crop, they are forced to sell it quickly or to risk allowing it to go to complete waste. Not only does this cost them financially as they are frequently forced to sell their goods at reduced rates, but it also prevents them from keeping the proverbial and literal fruits of their own labors. (A result of the scourge known as poverty)
These kitchens will further serve to provide storage space, including spaces for dry storage and refrigerated storage, allowing for more people to keep more of what they produce in addition to the subsidies that are provided by these facilities. Additional courses will be offered in canning and other services to further expand their ability to keep what they have earned and to help them learn more viable and marketable skills in numerous areas so as to make it easier to get quality jobs and incomes. Furthermore, these facilities will be left open for the people, with certain conditions regarding cleaning up their own messes of course, so that they do have clean, safe and sanitary facilities for cooking and food storage, but the other portions of the facility will also serve to benefit the entire community as well.
Many of these communities lack even basic waste water infrastructure, much less having any kind of viable water management system in place. The idea of community laundries will hopefully serve a role as a multi-purpose aspect of these facilities. It will first and foremost serve to provide a source of clean, safe and sanitary facilities ... not so much for washing the clothes, although that is certainly the primary function, but for the safe disposal and/or treatment of the water that has been used. Currently, these waters, filled full of soaps, softeners and a veritable chemical cocktail, are dumped, unchecked back into the ground. From there, they seep into the local aquifers and further reduce productivity and even endanger lives and livelihoods. Furthermore, for those people who are washing clothes for others, their tasks will be greatly reduced as well. For those that do prefer to wash their own clothes, it is hoped that this will prove to be a viable spot to gather and allow for more social discourse between the members of the community.
Power generation is necessary for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that most of the more isolated and rural communities have very little, if any real access to electricity. Furthermore, the electrical grid as it has been established, is substantially more fragile in such locations and easily broken. (Grid stability and vulnerabilities are a seemingly global issue, not necessarily relegated to the more rural settings, but that is a different subject) In short, very few of these people have the benefit of even the most rudimentary forms of access to electricity. Simple chores such as charging a cell phone or even finding a radio or television operable during times of real crisis, such as during storms, become overwhelming challenges. The capacity to generate electricity will also be utilized to fully power the ICSC facilities as well ... as if that were not readily apparent already. Though it should be noted, this electrical current that is generated will also be utilized for the benefit of the entire community as well.
In many of the more isolated Barangays, power is a major issue, and even those that do have electricity, suffer substantially more brownouts than those living in the cities will experience. Basketball Courts and Barangay Halls are forced to shut down at sundown or even trying to operate by candle and flash light. Stores, churches and other community locations are forced to close early and people are left to their own vices. Those that do happen to be out after dark are forced to tread through often brutal and unforgiving, even dangerous terrain, just to get home. All of this could be easily remedied through the local provision of electrical current and the addition of street lights along the major paths and roads in the locations surrounding the ICSC facilities. Shops can stay open later, people can get out and about more, social functions will not be as restrictive and, even if the direct impact is minimal, even the local economy will improve to some degree. Where does this power come from though?
There are currently many alternatives to traditional power plants being considered and tested, all of which are fully self-sustainable. In the case of the ICSC facilities in the Philippines, it is most likely that the original power sources will be powered by bio-fuels from the pig waste in addition to the introduction of limited Solar and Water-based technologies that have already been tested and approved. Talks are also underway to the point where they could be considered negotiations, with a domestic feed producer to produce organic feeds that help to reduce the levels of copper and zinc in the solid animal waste used in conjunction with bio-matter to generate biofuel. (The presence of these metals in the waste, tends to increase the chances of producing ammonia rather than natural gas or methane ... and while much of the “propane technology” of today, such as refrigeration, does rely on (comparatively) ancient ammonia based technologies, the natural gas is substantially safer and more reliable and efficient) There are some issues currently with the ability of the ICSC facilities to be able to pipe the gas directly to all of the households, but this may still be achieved with proper training and plainly marking the locations of gas lines. This gas will also serve to provide cooking fuels for the local residents, hot water within the facilities and perhaps even for heating to some degree as necessary and perhaps for what few vehicles are currently (or will be) converted to run on natural gas. The residual or effluent from the process will then be used to create organic fertilizers and emulsifiers for the local farmers and other residents in an effort to reduce the level of harmful chemicals (primarily the nitrates) being dumped into the local soil (and aquifers) with the current farming methods.
The presence of these harmful nitrates will be further mitigated by the introduction of plant species such as the Paulownia Princesa trees that thrive in any environment wherein they can remove excess nitrates from the system. However, these trees also have a very prolific growth rate and will require close management and restrictions so as not to destroy entire ecosystems as they have in the past. Part of this will be accomplished through the introduction of sustainable timber programs, utilizing these trees as a means of sustainable timber production, allowing for them to be properly managed in such a fashion as to generate a positive flow of proceeds without adding any burdensome costs to ongoing operations. These trees also have many additional, unique properties that will also allow for them to be utilized in disaster mitigation and additional environmental and sustainability programs.
There are other, more mitigating factors that have to be considered as well however. Among the primary concerns are worries about the effect on the local economic systems and the potential for harm. Since the desired effect will be to improve the quality of life for the local residents, it is imperative that every potential for harm be closely considered and planned for. Among the most obvious of these, are the potentials to harm the local economies. The presence of five hundred breeder sows, two thousand chickens and a host of fish farms could literally bankrupt the local producers if the harvests were just dumped, haphazardly into the local markets. A lot of planning has gone into developing a means to avoid this scenario however.
The primary, direct recipients of the harvests from these facilities are not currently contributing much of anything at all to the local markets, so there should not be any adverse economic or financial or even social impact from their participation. Still, it is necessary to utilize the harvests without impacting the local markets also. Initially, the idea was to provide for franchised restaurants and food carts of sorts, and to work as suppliers for national chains. These options are still in consideration and will be explored further, but there are much better, and more humanitarian uses for these products as well. Working in close cooperation with local administrators and officials, food programs will be established to provide hot, nutritional and hopefully tasty meals to those who currently do not enjoy such a benefit. Among the most notable of these efforts are the implementation of a feeding program ... a lunch program for the local schools. Such programs will be carefully weighed and considered in terms of Cost-Benefit Analyses that will have to be conducted individually and independently for each and every sight being built.
School Lunch Programs are not a new concept, but until now, they have been mostly out of reach. (Current budget allowances in the school my daughter attends are limited to less than thirty cents per day and even at local market prices, are grossly insufficient) Add in the lack of the proper facilities necessary to cook the foods, and it is very difficult to imagine being able to provide hot, nutritional meals for all of the students. If successful, it is possible that this program can be expanded to those poor people in the community who have a known history of requiring the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and even for the elderly and infirm in those areas around the ICSC facilities. Eventually, as an entire network of these facilities is constructed on a national level, the programs can easily be expanded. As the new and innovative agricultural methods are introduced and perfected, and as harvests are increased, it should be possible to expand the program to the extent that a national feeding program can be put in place without any undue burdens on the taxpaying citizens or at any major loss of proceeds generated for internal support and costs of operations.
Eventually, these programs will be expanded to include deepwater and open-water fishing fleets, larger, saltwater fish, shrimp and even crab farms and serve to feed more than just the poor and down-trodden. These programs will be an integral part of the overall establishment of the larger Community Developments and further serve to feed the students, the elderly and infirm and perhaps even to subsidize the availability of food for those on the front lines of the defense of this nation, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, who, despite their dedication and service, remain largely underpaid and underappreciated by some.
The Philippines is further and uniquely ideal for the implementation of these types of programs through the current means of more localized and direct governance, including restricted powers of judicial adjudication at the Barangay (or Neighborhood) level. Each and every Barangay has a liaison or representative of the DSWD that is directly elected by the people within the Barangay, and who works hand in hand with all of the impoverished people within the Barangay. Such a system already has the means in place to work directly with those families whom are already in dire straits, but (in the opening phases at least) have shown a strong desire and even a limited ability to provide for themselves as best as they are able to under their current circumstances. Later programs, when implemented at the larger-scale Community Development phase, will have the ability to assist those families who do suffer from severely debilitating concerns such as alcoholism, gambling or even drug addictions, often directly resulting from a complete lack of hope based largely on their impoverished circumstances. However, in the opening phases of operations, in order to provide immediate assistance to and among those who are most in need of help, it will be requisite to establish viable parameters of operation that may (for better or for worse) be less capable or even wholly inadequate to deal with the added burdens of these debilitating conditions in the opening phases of operations.
While it is nothing less than tragic to seemingly ignore those who are debilitated and may, by definition at least, be those who are truly most in need of hope, to attempt to extend beyond the means in the opening phases would crash the entire program both figuratively and literally and would prevent the ability of the program to grow naturally and sustain-ably until such a time as it was adequately prepared to assist these persons. This again, is part of the nature of sustainability ... it is a natural progression that is necessary in order to provide viable and meaningful assistance for long-term solutions without placing any undue strain or costs or other burdens on those members of society who are already productive, contributing members of society. To date, that has been the biggest shortcoming that any of our experts have been able to discover, but if that is the biggest challenge faced by the overall program, it should be one of the most ... if not the most viable option available to date ... mind you, that also means that it is never likely to be approved for implementation in the industrialized nations as it seems they really do not want viable and working solutions to the existing disparity in their nations. They would much rather have a general populace wholly dependent on the government. However, the Philippines is yet again, an ideal location to commence operations ... if only we can get the help we need to put the final phases into play and actually begin construction.