This momentous occasion was marked by a handover ceremony attended by representatives from PSFI, alongside program partners Manila Water Foundation (MWF), World Vision Development Foundation (WVDF), LGUs, and community members. The ceremony not only commemorated the completion of the program's implementation phase but also symbolized the transition into its sustainability phase, signifying the collective commitment and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders involved.

Cesar A. Buenaventura, Chairman, PSFI, looked back on the importance of agriculture and food security for Shell Philippines, saying, “Our training farm has benefitted many farmers. Together you’ve successfully reduced malnutrition and improved sanitation and health—with very tangible results.” He added, "As we turn this program to the community, we wish you all the best in continuing what we have been able to start.”

Handover to local stakeholders

PSFI presented plaques of appreciation to the LGUs and Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs), recognizing their valuable contribution and support. Additionally, the outstanding barangay nutrition scholars were honored during the event. Following this, a significant moment took place as the RTS program implementers and the LGUs signed a deed of donation, solidifying their commitment to the program's sustainability. Efforts are underway to expand the program to more provinces that need nutritional support, with the addition of more partners.

Maria Pamela S. Castro, Senior Program Manager, Nutrition and Food Security, PSFI, said, "our RTS program was designed with a holistic approach, recognizing the need to improve nutrition and well-being in a comprehensive manner." She also noted that the program's components "reflect our deep understanding of the complex challenges and the implementation of multifaceted solutions."

For her part, Raiza V. Cusi, Senior Technical Program Manager, PSFI, emphasized the significant role of collective action and shared responsibility for sustainable development, expressing that " we have joined forces with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions, and local communities because we recognize that collective action and shared responsibility are essential for sustainable development. Together, we have harnessed diverse expertise, pooled resources, and embraced different perspectives to create more comprehensive and impactful solutions."

Rommel V. Fuerte, National Director, World Vision Development Foundation, commended the program’s holistic approach to mother-child issues, food security, water access, and sanitation: “It is a good model that can be replicated in other places. It's really a powerhouse; our community volunteers were excited telling their stories, and I'm really looking forward that this excitement will be sustained even beyond the life of the project."

Reginald M. Andal, Executive Director, Manila Water Foundation shared “natutunan po namin na talagang kung ang pinag-uusapan ay solusyon sa malnutrisyon, hinding hindi po puwede nating ibalewala ang usapin ng water access, sanitation, and hygiene (we learned that when it comes to solving malnutrition, water access, sanitation, and hygiene play a critical role),” and that “Water Access, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities are drivers of desired behaviors.”

Pilot program successes for communities

Over the course of three years, the pilot program's Mother and Child Care Component was able to reduce stunting in children in Bombon and Pasacao in Camarines Sur, from 32.90% to 25.45% and 31.90% to 21.33%, respectively. Camarines Sur has the highest prevalence of stunting in the Bicol region. In the municipalities of Bombon and Pasacao, 20% of children under 5 years old are stunted, meaning they are too short for their age.

The RTS program's Food Security and Livelihood Component has achieved significant successes, including increased availability of food and economic access for mothers, caregivers, and farmers. Barangays have also benefited from enhanced food production, while farmer organizations have created employment opportunities in both in-farm and off-farm enterprises. These outcomes demonstrate the program's effectiveness in promoting sustainable development.

The program's WASH component has increased access to WASH services in target communities by constructing water systems, building sanitation facilities, and training community members on proper hygiene, and sanitation, which has led to improved sanitation conditions for families with undernourished children. The WASH component also strengthened Bombon Water District (BOWADI), the local water utility in the municipality of Bombon, Camarines Sur, by improving water system infrastructure and enhancing the technical capacities of the BOWADI personnel.

Shell Pilipinas' social arm has actively engaged in diverse community programs, collaborating with prominent initiatives such as the National Nutrition Council's Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) and Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) global movement. Through these engagements, it continues to make a tangible difference in addressing critical social issues and fostering positive change within communities.