World Humanitarian Day 2021 – Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat

In celebration of World Humanitarian Day 2021, meet Sitti Mhuriza Gampal-Mamasalagat, one of our Real Life Heroes: 

 

What is your role and/or key responsibilities in Action Against Hunger?

I am a team leader and a mentor. I may be the “Captain of the Ship,” but I value my “Mates” most. I am trained to train future “Captains” and set to be a good example.

Photo courtesy of Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat (Disclaimer: This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic)

 

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

Formally started my humanitarian career in February 2014 with Action Against Hunger.

Photo courtesy of Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat (Disclaimer: This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic)

What motivates you to become a humanitarian worker?

It is already in me way before I became part of any humanitarian organization. I never knew that life prepared me to be the person who I am now. [And] it all made sense when I became a Professional Registered Nurse and it led me to a whole different level of care when I became a humanitarian worker; both have a common goal and definition, that is to “Save Lives” and inspire others to do the same.

 

Photo courtesy of Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat

What motivates you to keep doing your work even with these challenges?

I definitely believe that my existence serves a purpose and only few are chosen to have this opportunity – to make a difference and be an inspiration to the affected communities. The challenges, I face them with courage and perseverance.  All my experiences in the past enabled me to see and realize that having a positive perspective can help me think of new ways to assist individuals in need.

 

Photo courtesy of Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat

What are you most proud of?

I am nothing without the support of others who believed in me. I am nothing if not because of the helping hands of the people surrounding me. That is why I am proud of my family, friends, and colleagues who stood by me. Wearing different and same hats, working in all sorts of shaped tables, writing on the same notes while using various pens, I had one goal: make people’s lives better, comfortable, and just.

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Hundreds of displaced families in Zamboanga City receive multi-sectoral cash assistance

On September 9, 2013, conflict broke out in Zamboanga City between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a rebel group, an event that displaced 109,000 people in the city alone.

Eight years after the Zamboanga Siege, more than 700 families are still living in transitory sites of Masepla, Rio Hondo, Asinan, and Buggoc and they face further setbacks when COVID-19 started. Many have been struggling with food insecurity after losing their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic.

Under our project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), we hope to support the remaining displaced residents through a Multi-purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) program.

During the first round of the payout last July 28, an initial 167 families had received 5,100 pesos which can be used for livelihood, hygiene, health, or shelter purposes among many others. Some of the participants who had already received the cash assistance have reportedly spent it on either capital for their small business, medicine and health services, or shelter purposes such as rental payment and purchasing of kitchenwares and solar lamps.

This marks the first MPCA activity of the project as the team will be conducting scheduled payouts in the coming weeks.


Our ‘Multi-Sectoral Lifesaving Assistance To People Most Vulnerable To The Covid-19 Pandemic, Conflict, and Disasters’ is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

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ProAct spearheads ‘New Normal’ Disaster Community Drill in Davao de Oro

Representatives for Barangay Anitapan on stand-by at evacuation camp stations while waiting for ‘evacuees’ of the landslide simulation last July 28, 2021 | Barangay Anitapan, Mabini, Davao de Oro (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)

MABINI, DAVAO DE ORO — In order to increase community awareness on disaster risks, our ProAct Project team initiated an activity entitled, “Community Drill Towards a Resilient Disaster Governance in the New Normal” last July 28 and 30, 2021. This was conducted in partnership with the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) and Municipal Social Welfare Department (MSWD) of the Municipality of Mabini, Davao de Oro.

Community members of Barangay Anitapan participate in the landslide simulation during the community drill last July 28, 2021 | Anitapan, Mabini, Davao De Oro (Photo by Mark Dalin-as for Action Against Hunger)

Community residents of Barangays Anitapan, and San Antonio actively participated in the simulation exercises focusing on landslides and flooding.

MDRRMO representatives demonstrate emergency response through a simulation during the community drill at San Antonio, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 30, 2021 (Photo by Nino Diez for Action Against Hunger)

COVID-related scenarios and standard health protocols were also included in the drill to test BDRRMC’s capacity in handling multiple hazards. The early warning actions, evacuation camp and management protocols, and community responses had been assessed and evaluated using pre-designed criteria identified in the contingency plans.

Health volunteer in full PPE during the ProACT community drill at Anitapan, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 28, 2021 (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)

The activities were also held in observance of National Disaster Resilience Month 2021, putting more emphasis on strengthening the capacities of local communities for effective response, and adhering to in-depth rehabilitation and recovery efforts in the midst of a pandemic.

Simulation of emergency rescue operations during the community drill at Anitapan, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 28, 2021 (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)

Advancing Climate and Disaster Resilience Transformation in the Provinces of Agusan Del Sur, Surigao Del Sur, And Davao De Oro orProACT‘ is a consortium project implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines and Fundacion CODESPA, with funding from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

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Local Government Academy, MOVE UP Consortium ink partnership agreement to promote disaster resilience

From left to right: Local Government Academy (LGA) Executive Director Thelma Vecina, CARE Philippines Country Director David Gazashvili, ACCORD Inc. Executive Director Sindhy Obias, Action Against Hunger Philippines Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator Juan Blenn Huelgas (representing Country Director Suresh Murugesu), Plan International Philippines Country Program Manager for Disaster Resilience Chrisnobel Cruz (representing Country Director Annie Locsin), LGA Assistant Director Esmeralda Daphne Purnell, and MOVE UP Project Consortium Manager Roger Cabiles sign the Partnership Agreement today during the virtual ceremonial signing program. (Courtesy of MOVE UP 4 Consortium)

28 July 2021 – The Local Government Academy (LGA) and the Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience (MOVE UP) Project signed a partnership agreement as part of their commitment to strengthen disaster resilience.

Cooperation between the capacity and development arm of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and MOVE UP includes the review of various L!STO Operations Manual and conduct of capacity development interventions to local chief executives and other relevant stakeholders involved in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) activities.

The MOVE UP project, funded by the European Union, aims to help in institutionalizing urban resilience and disaster preparedness mechanisms for urban poor communities across the Philippines. The project is implemented by a consortium of international non-government organizations led by Action Against Hunger Philippines, with Plan International Philippines, CARE Philippines, and ACCORD.

During the event, LGA Executive Director Thelma Vecina said the ceremonial signing is highly symbolic as it coincides with the celebration of the National Disaster Resilience Month and is aligned with the LGA’s vision to build resilience through local government capacity-building activities.

“Today’s partnership is really significant and symbolic as we celebrate the National Disaster Resilience Month this July. For us in the LGA, this is really a great contribution to our efforts to build resilience of the local governments,” she said.

Furthermore, LGA Executive Director Vecina expressed that the LGA believes that increasing disaster resilience requires collective will and action from and among the communities, the local leaders, and stakeholders. “This is one among our many efforts to translate these commitments into actions. Hopefully, this initiates more cooperation in the future that will strengthen our nation’s resilience towards disaster,” she added.

Meanwhile, Juan Blenn Huelgas, Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator of Action Against Hunger Philippines underscored the important role played by local government units in our collective effort to reduce the impact of disasters.

“Our local government units are at the forefront of mitigation, prevention, response, and management of these risks and vulnerabilities. It is right that we strengthen their capacities on resilience so that our urban poor population can withstand and manage the impact of natural and human-induced disasters, the very objective of the MOVE UP Consortium,” Huelgas said.

Child-centered organization Plan International Philippines’ Country Program Manager for Disaster Resilience Chrisnobel Cruz, meanwhile, emphasized the effects of disasters on the most vulnerable population, particularly girls and young women.

“Disasters could be detrimental to our effort to protect the rights and welfare of girls and young women. Disasters, and the crisis that comes with it, subject young women to the continual risk of violence, child marriage, and early and unplanned pregnancy, and threaten to roll back gains made in girls’ access to education,” Cruz said.

A strong partnership between the government and the civil society is needed to continuously increase the capacity of LGUs to prepare for and respond to disasters amid the mobility restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, CARE Philippines Country Director David Gazashvili said.

“As of last year, our webinar series entitled the Resilience Knowledge Exchange Series (RKES) reached 95 academic institutions, 80 CSOs, 83 national or regional government agencies, and 27 private-sector organizations. All of this of course would not be possible without the dedicated and passionate work of our partners and funders in the implementation of various development programs across the country. Therefore, we greatly cherish and foster the partnerships and collaborations with the likes of our consortium members and the DILG-LGA,” he said.

The Partnership Agreement, ACCORD Executive Director Sindhy Obias said, is a collective promise to share expertise to support local government units who are on the frontline in DRRM activities.

“As we sign this partnership agreement today, we view it not just a piece of paper but an expression of our collective commitment to work together towards the common goal of supporting our partners, particularly the local governments who are on the frontline when it comes to dealing with disasters, among many other related concerns on the ground. Being part of the MOVE UP consortium, ACCORD is very excited to work with DILG-LGA and share our experiences in resilience building,” Obias said.

Watch the Virtual Ceremonial Signing

Moving Urban Poor Communities Toward Resilience (MOVE UP 4) is funded by the European Union and implemented by a consortium of partners consisting of Action Against Hunger Philippines, Plan International Philippines, CARE Philippines, and ACCORD Incorporated.


For inquiries or concerns, contact: Claudine Complativo,

Communications and Advocacy Specialist (MOVE UP Project)  | 0906-589-8180

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, or the consortium members.

Neither the European Union nor any of the consortium members can be held responsible for them.
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PBA Mindanao 2021 starts cash assistance program for COVID-affected IDPs in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Our field teams conducted the initial Multipurpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) and Social Preparation orientations among our #PBAMindanao2021 Project participants living in the transitory sites of Masepla, Asinan, Buggoc and Rio Hondo last July 21-23, 2021.
The livelihood assistance is in support vulnerable communities in Mindanao after community immobility and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the living condition of many residents, particularly those who were protractedly displaced following the Zamboanga siege back in 2013.
With the support of the City Government of Zamboanga, City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) of Zamboanga, and the Integrated Resource Development for Tri-People (IRDT), the participants were assisted by the IRDT volunteers and community leaders on the multipurpose cash transfer (MPCT) distribution plan, following and explaining the strategic mechanism to ensure organized payout activity. During the activity, health reminders and COVID safety protocols were discussed and followed.
Our ‘Multi-Sectoral Lifesaving Assistance To People Most Vulnerable To The Covid-19 Pandemic, Conflict, and Disasters’ or Program Based Approach (PBA) Mindanao 2021 Project is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) The project aims to protect, assist, and advocate for displaced people, indigenous peoples, vulnerable population, and marginalized communities particularly vulnerable to conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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MOVE UP 4 Mindanao strengthens support to partner communities this National Disaster Resilience Month

MOVE UP 4 reinforced the partnership with the Provincial Government of Cotabato by providing technical assistance in updating their DRRM plan during the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Planning Workshop held last July 14-15, 2021 at Parkland Suites, Kidapawan City, North Cotabato. The workshop was conducted in line with the 2021 National Disaster Resilience Month’s theme, “Tamang Pamamahala’t Kahandaan, Kaalaman at Pagtutulungan sa Sakuna at Pandemya’y Kalasag ng Bayan.” 
Roger Cabiles, MOVE UP 4 Consortium Manager and Head of Project for Action Against Hunger Philippines, held a discussion on ‘Shock-Responsive Social Protection and Resilient Livelihoods in DRRM Planning.’ Aside from tackling the importance of supporting disaster-resilient livelihoods, the discussion also emphasized the need to have effective, responsive, and inclusive social protection for communities.
Roger Cabiles, Jr. presenting in front of the seated participant with the project area presentation flashed on an overhead television on his right.

In photo: Roger Cabiles, Jr. shares updates on the MOVE UP 4 projects within intervention areas.

The MOVE UP consortium manager also shared updates on various MOVE UP livelihood activities in Kidapawan City. Among the examples were the establishment of Community Savings Groups in addition to providing livelihood assistance to at-risk households, promoting crop insurance, and other risk transfer mechanisms.
Three representative individuals from Action Against Hunger talk with Cotabato PDRRM Officer, Abril Espadera

In photo (L-R): Lyndon Arbes (Deputy Head of Project for Action Against Hunger), Delilah Chua (Action Against Hunger Head of Iligan Base). Roger Cabiles, Jr. (MOVE UP 4 Consortium Manager & Head of Project for Action Against Hunger), and Abril Espadera (Cotabato Provincial DRRM Officer)

MOVE UP 4 Mindanao continuously supports local government units in building the resilience of our partner communities. It aims to strengthen the disaster preparedness, response, and management capacity of both the national government and local government units (LGU).

Written by: Joyce Sandajan
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, or the consortium members. Neither the European Union nor any of the consortium members can be held responsible for them.

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Emergency Preparedness Helps Action Against Hunger Team Escape Mt. Apo Landslide

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Twelve (12) Action Against Hunger staff members were left stranded after a landslide had blocked a part of Mt. Apo Highway last July 16, 2021. The incident was reported to have occurred sometime in the morning after a series of heavy rainfall in the area.

No casualties were reported and the staff members managed to safely go over the landslide area before the Kidapawan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) rescue vehicle arrived and assisted them back to the city proper. The staff members who experienced the ordeal were part of the MOVE UP 4 Project team in Kidapawan and visiting staff from Action Against Hunger Philippines’ Manila Head Office.

The teams were already on their way back in two separate vehicles after conducting field visits in Barangay Illomavis when they reached the roadblock caused by the landslide. Being the first to witness the scene and having no alternate routes going to the city proper, the stranded staff decided to go over the mound of debris by foot.

The landslide covered a portion of the road, making it impossible for vehicles to pass throigh.

Photo by Roger Cabiles, Jr. for Action Against Hunger

“[The situation] gave us an opportunity to reflect about humanitarian workers, that we are dispensable,” shared MOVE UP 4 Consortium Manager and Head of Project Roger Cabiles. Despite facing a predicament, the team remained calm and quickly followed emergency protocol. “Being careful is really important as well as assessing risks and hazards and knowing what to do if a disaster happens,” he added. Deputy Head of Project Lyndon Arbes then coordinated with Kidapawan CDRRMO Head Psalmer Bernalte, who facilitated the quick rescue response.

“[The situation] gave us an opportunity to reflect about humanitarian workers, that we are dispensable…Being careful is really important as well as assessing risks and hazards and knowing what to do if a disaster happens,” he added.

Photo courtesy of Kidapawan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office

Clearing operations on the highway began immediately thereafter. According to Psalmer Bernalte, soil movements have gradually been covering portions of the highway two months earlier, prompting the city to conduct preventive measures against potential landslides.

For the MOVE UP 4 team, the experience further strengthened their commitment to work with partner LGUs and communities through disaster risk reduction, emergency response, and resilience building.

“These risks and hazards are normal to the communities we serve, and they experience it in their everyday lives… our work in building the resilience of our communities continues,” said Roger Cabiles.

Moving Urban Poor Communities Toward Resilience (MOVE UP 4) is funded by the European Union and implemented by a consortium of partners consisting of Action Against Hunger PhilippinesPlan International PhilippinesCARE Philippines, and ACCORD Incorporated.

 

Related stories:

Philippine News Agency – Int’l NGO workers narrowly escape Mt. Apo landslide
GMA News – 12 NGO employees na naipit sa landslide, nasagip


Written by Joyce Sandajan

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, or the consortium members. Neither the European Union nor any of the consortium members can be held responsible for them.

MOVE UP 4 signs agreement with Cotabato Provincial Government

KIDAPAWAN CITY — The MOVE UP 4 Mindanao reached another milestone as the disaster risk reduction (DRR) project signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Provincial Government of Cotabato last July 15, 2021, at the Provincial Capitol, North Cotabato. Roger Cabiles (Action Against Hunger Head of Project and Consortium Manager of MOVE UP 4) and Efren Piñol (North Cotabato Provincial Administrator) were the main signatories during the ceremony.

In photo (L-R): Delilah Chua (Action Against Hunger Head of Iligan Base). Roger Cabiles, Jr. (MOVE UP 4 Consortium Manager & Head of Project for Action Against Hunger), Efren Piñol (Cotabato Provincial Administrator), and Mercedita Foronda (PDRRMO Head)

The agreement outlines the partnership between the two parties which supports the promotion, adaptation, and replication of MOVE UP 4’s tested urban resilience strategies. Mercedita Foronda (Head of Cotabato Provincial DRRMO), Delilah Chua (Action Against Hunger Head of Cotabato Base), Lyndon Arbes (Action Against Hunger Deputy Head of Project), and Louie Bullanday (Action Against Hunger DRR Supervisor) were also present as witnesses of the ceremonial signing event.
The partnership is a leap towards achieving the project’s goal of building the resilience of urban poor communities by strengthening disaster preparedness, response, and management capacity of the national government and local government units.

Written by Joyce Sandajan   |   Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, or the consortium members. Neither the European Union nor any of the consortium members can be held responsible for them.

#REACHMindanao Project Analyzed Market Capacity and Demand Trends in Lanao del Sur

Providing healthy food that’s enough for the entire family is a usual concern for those struggling from unemployment. Additional threats like emergency situations and an ongoing health crisis make it even more difficult to combat food insecurity.
This is a common ordeal for many of the communities we are working with and one of the ways we address this is through our cash-for-food programs. For this intervention, our #REACHMindanao project went around the local markets in Lanao del Sur to analyze market capacity and demand trends in relation to availability and accessibility of goods. This assessment will give us a better understanding on the needs and capacities of both consumers and local micro businesses.
Through the market assessment, we will be able to identify how the #COVID19 pandemic affected market operations, price changes, and understand any changes on the traffic and volume of consumers in comparison to pre-pandemic times.
From the information gathered, the goal is to strengthen our strategies and processes as we prepare to roll out new set of food security & livelihood (FSL) activities in the next months.
The ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (REACH 2) Project is funded by EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid – ECHO and is implemented by ACCORD Incorporated, Action Against Hunger Philippines, CARE Philippines, Community Organizers Multiversity – CO Multiversity, IDEALS, Inc., Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), United Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.
𝗖𝗵𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀:
Photos by Jeffrey Simprota for Action Against Hunger

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