Lenie Bulan of the City of Ilagan was just an ordinary woman. What she saw turned her into what she is now, a recognized outstanding woman in health and nutrition in the Philippines; committed, dedicated and above anything else, empowered.
Bulan has work for a cause and not for applause and strongly believes that the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
Talk to any BNS in the country and they would be one in saying that their job is not measured in size but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.
Lenie is not alone. In fact, her story is just one of those heartwarming and inspiring stories from 49, 779 Barangay Nutrition Scholars deployed in 39,942 barangays in the country.
Unlike other women stakeholders, the BNS as partners of development in the country only came full circle in 1978 when Presidential Decree No. 1569 known as the Barangay Nutrition Program was created.
The women and a handful of men were recruited, trained and soon deployed, majority of them in the countryside to help the government create positive change in the status of malnutrition, as mandated.
“ I saw the high prevalence of malnutrition in my city and I volunteered,” Bulan said moments after she was proclaimed the most outstanding in her category in 2019.
However, this is not a story about nutrition and the percentage of improved health and nutrition situation in the region. Rather, it is on the courage, determination, commitment and empowerment of women; women you see working with the urban poor and rural areas.
BNS women are those you see engaged in community health, food production, family planning, supplemental feeding, among other services. Their minimum honorarium bare meets the daily needs of their own families yet continue to give themselves to service.
So empowered are they that they come in a strong force in the developmental scenario in every barangay. They mobilized people as they assist school children, pregnant women, lactating mothers. They become borderless as they coordinate across even crisscrossing multiple levels of governance and the private sector.
Maria Gisela Lonzaga, Nutrition Coordinator for Region 2 said the BNS excel not because of awards but the desire to give what the constituents deserve.
“They desire for a productive future of the children, their communities and the country,” she added.
For most BNS, it was a joy to self- discovery that they were fierce and strong as they are full of life, their passion to help others burned brighter thru the years.
For the last few decades, BNS have answered the most persistent and urgent question of what they are doing for others.