STORIES FROM THE FIELD: Breaking bias in times of emergencies

Alam ko kasi yung hirap sa tubig dito sa amin. Lalo na ngayong bumagyo, hindi kami siguradong malinis yung tubig mula sa balon…Ginagawa ko ito ‘di lang para sa pamilya ko, kundi para sa buong baryo namin dahil alam ko yung hirap namin sa tubig rito.”

I know how difficult the water situation is in our area. Especially after the typhoon, we’re not sure if the water from the deep well is clean. I [volunteer] not only for my family but also for our whole village because I know how hard it is for us to get water here.)
Daisy A. Jumandos, Monitoring Volunteer, 39 years old and resident of Barangay Magsaysay, General Luna, (Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte)

Daisy Jumandos and her family were one of the residents of Barangay Magsaysay, General Luna in the islands of Siargao caught in the eye of Super Typhoon Odette when it made landfall on December 16, 2021.

In photo: Daisy Jumandos | Photo by Adam Daniel Lacson for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 03, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

According to 39-year-old, their family received news of an incoming storm, but were clueless of its strength and magnitude. Daisy shared the horror that she, her husband, and their three children had endured after being trapped in their home when Odette was at its strongest. “Hindi na kami nakapaghanda o nakatakbo. Biglaang dumilim yung buong paligid na hindi na namin makita kahit ang mga kapitbahay. Napakalakas ng hangin kaya di na rin kami nakalabas ng bahay. Nagsiliparan ang bubong namin.’ (We could no longer prepare for it nor evacuate. It suddenly became dark outside, so much so that we couldn’t even see the neighbors. The wind was so strong that we could not get out of the house. Our roof flew off.)”

According to her, they thought that they weren’t going to make it out alive. “Sabi ng panganay ko, ‘Ma! Kalian kalian ba ito titigil? Nag-iiyakan na kami at akala namin ay heto na ang katapusan namin. (My eldest [child] said, ‘mom, when will this stop? We were crying and we thought it was the end of us.),” Daisy added.

After Odette, the situation of the Jumandos family, like many others affected, was bleak. “We endured [our situation] for a while,” she explained. Their family already did not have a regular source of income since the pandemic. So, when they needed to prioritize saving up for house repairs—distilled water or octane for cooking became necessities that they could no longer afford.

By February 2022, Action Against Hunger installed water bladders in the affected communities of the Caraga region which have limited access to potable water. This was part of the Super Typhoon Odette WASH Emergency Response supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Central Emergency Fund (UN CERF).

“I know how difficult the water situation is in our area. Especially after the typhoon, we are not sure if the water from the deep well is clean… It is important for me to have clean water here in the community, that is what drives me to handle the water situation here. I am proud that I was chosen as a volunteer because I want to do something for our community,”

As one of the parent-leaders in their barangay, Daisy volunteered to help monitor the water bladders. “Alam ko kasi yung hirap sa tubig dito sa amin. Lalo na ngayong bumagyo, hindi kami siguradong malinis yung tubig mula sa balon… (I know how difficult the water situation is in our area. Especially after the typhoon, we are not sure if the water from the deep well is clean,)” were Daisy’s sentiments.

Photo by Arjay Gaylon for Action Against Hunger

She further shared about her motivation and how she takes pride in her volunteer work, saying “importante kasi sa akin na may malinis na tubig kami rito sa baryo, iyon nagtutulak sa akin na alagaan yung tubigan rito. Proud rin ako na napili ako bilang volunteer dahil gusto kong may nagagawa ako para sa community namin. (It is important for me to have clean water here in the community, that is what drives me to handle the water situation here. I am proud that I was chosen as a volunteer because I want to do something for our community.)”

“My family offers support in other tasks. For example, if I have chores at home, the children will help manage [the water bladders],”

Daisy also breaks the bias on gender roles as she takes on and delegates different tasks both inside and outside their home. She shared that after Typhoon Odette, she has been hands-on in repairing their house. She mixes cement and helps in carrying the materials needed for their repairs. When asked if she finds it challenging, she said that, “kaagapay ko ang pamilya ko sa mga gawain. Halimbawa, kung mag ginagawa ako sa bahay, tumutulong mga anak ko sa pag-asikaso sa tubigan. Hindi naman it istorbo dahil alam kong para sa aming lahat ito eh. (My family offers support in other tasks. For example, if I have chores at home, the children will help manage [the water bladders].”

For Daisy, gender equality in the household can be achieved when men, women, boys, and girls can truly communicate and understand each other. In any aspect of decision-making in their lives, Daisy shares that it is important to discuss and share opinions openly, as well as have equal voices when it comes to making plans. It is a sign of mutual respect.

In photo: Daisy Jumandos | Photo by Adam Daniel Lacson for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 03, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

Not only motivated by her family, Daisy also shares she gets inspiration from her neighbors. “Ginagawa ko ito ‘di lang para sa pamilya ko, kundi para sa buong baryo namin dahil alam ko yung hirap namin sa tubig rito. (I [volunteer] not only for my family but also for our whole village because I know how hard it is for us to get water here),” she added.

Around 650 people in Barangay Magsaysay are now able to access potable water for free through the newly installed water bladders.

The Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is implemented by Action Against Hunger with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Queen Harley Musico, Abdul-Alim Talusob, Adam Daniel Lacson | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan
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For cleaner and healthier communities: UNICEF and Action Against Hunger train volunteers on hygiene and health

Super Typhoon Odette (internationally named Rai) left thousands of families in Caraga with limited access to clean water and proper  hygiene facilities last December 2021. So much so that open defecation has grown rampant in some communities due to the lack of available latrines.

Together with UNICEF, we have been inspiring and teaching communities the value of good hygiene in keeping children and families healthy during times of calamities.

In photo: WASH Project Staff and community health volunteers review the proper handwashing technique through demonstration in the Municipality of Del Carmen. | Photos by Benjie Montilla, Adam Daniel Lacson, Victoria Valderama and Abdul-Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 18, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

From March 15 to 18, community health volunteers and rural sanitary inspectors from all 32 barangays of the municipalities of General Luna, Burgos, San Benito and Del Carmen in the Siargao Islands took part in the water, sanitation, & hygiene (WASH) training organized by Action Against Hunger through the support of the UNICEF and UN CERF.  

“This re-orientation regarding sanitation can help prevent the spread of diseases since some of the people have been practicing open defecation,” said one of the participants. According to them, it has been a while since they started new activities about educating their neighborhood.

In photo: WASH Engineer explains and demonstrates the water quality testing activities of Action Against Hunger to selected Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) from the Municipality of Gen. Luna. | Photos by Benjie Montilla, Adam Daniel Lacson, Victoria Valderama and Abdul-Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 15, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

The participants shared what they know about water contamination and water-borne diseases, all while talking about the importance of sanitation, and common hygiene practices.

Team members of our Super Typhoon Odette WASH Emergency Response proceeded to discuss in more detail the topics concerning water quality testing, community-applicable methods to purify and store water, dangers of fecal-oral transmission, and proper hygiene techniques. Additional discussions on preventing COVID-19 were also conducted. The communities were also given tips on conducting education sessions, and new methods to pique the community members’ interest.

In photo: Training participants planned and presented their Activity Plans regarding WASH education sessions in Mun. of Del Carmen. | Photos by Benjie Montilla, Adam Daniel Lacson, Victoria Velderama and Abdul-Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger (2022 March 18, Surigao del Norte, Philippines)

Most of the invited barangay participants have identified misconceptions regarding water quality and the use of water purifiers. Others focused on household methods to purify water, even during emergency situations. Initially, their health promotions focused community-led discussions to reduce open defecation, as well as methods to reduce cases of schistosomiasis, better waste management to reduce dengue, and hygiene promotion targeting the youth and lactating mothers.

At the end of the training, each barangay created their own WASH-related activity plan that they could implement and share in their own communities. Each activity contains topics from the discussion, but they were given the leeway to discuss topics that concern their respective areas.

By building the capacities of our local partners in health and WASH, we are hoping to reach around 3,500 people through the education activities of the health volunteers in General Luna alone.

Photos by Benjie Montilla, Adam Daniel Lacson, Victoria Valderama and Abdul-Alim Talusob for Action Against Hunger

The Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is implemented by Action Against Hunger with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Queen Harley Musico, Abdul-Alim Talusob, Adam Daniel Lacson | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan

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Stories from the Field: Full of Smile, Full of Hope

A day before Typhoon Odette (internationally referred to as Typhoon Rai) made landfall in the Philippines, more than 400 residents of Barangay Bilang-bilangan  evacuated from their island community. Grace Obguia and her family were among them. 

BOHOL  — Grace never imagined that their living situation would change completely overnight. Together with her husband and three children, they spent the night of December 15 at Tubigon Cultural Center located in the mainland area of Tubigon Municipality. 

Around 5:40 pm on the 16th of December 2021, Typhoon Odette was ravaging the nearby municipalities of Carlos P. Garcia and Bien Unido. 

More than two months have passed but Grace still gets teary-eyed whenever she recalls the ordeal they had faced. “We could hear the winds howling and my children wouldn’t stop crying,” she shares. “All I could do was pray hard for everyone’s safety.” 

Their anxiety continued to build up when the first floor of the cultural center became flooded due to the storm surge. This forced them to transfer to the second floor of the building despite the heavy rain. They stayed there for several hours waiting for the storm to pass while being completely drenched from the floodwater. 

After spending two days in the evacuation center, they went back to the island only to be greeted by further dismay. What was once paved with quaint homes and vibrant coconut trees is now filled with Odette’s wreckage. The Obguia family’s home that stood along the shoreline was completely washed out. Disheartened and without a roof over their heads, the family decided to clear some of the debris and spend the night along the shore. 

“We could hear the winds howling and my children wouldn’t stop crying,”

Within the next few days, Grace’s family found some comfort through the support of various people and organizations. Food assistance was readily available for many of the affected families. They also received cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which they partly used to purchase basic shelter materials. This allowed them to rebuild a modest home, this time a bit farther from the shoreline. 

Bilang-bilangan is a quaint island located in the Municipality of Tubigon, Bohol. Surrounded by clear blue waters, many residents like Grace and her husband mainly relied on fishing for their livelihood. After the typhoon, they did not have a regular source of income because their fishing nets were all damaged. When food packs became scarce, they would catch mussels and other shellfish for their personal consumption. In rare cases, Grace would borrow some money from her friends in the mainland so she could buy for the needs of their 3-year old child. 

Grace is thankful for any chance that she could save money.  Action Against Hunger, through the Typhoon Odette Response of the EU-funded REACH project, provided her a hygiene kit that included soap, toothbrush, and other hygiene products that would last for a month, sparing her expenses on keeping her family clean and sanitary. 

Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger

Despite the ordeal that she and her family have been through, Grace smiles as she thinks about all the help they have received since the calamity. She is hopeful and remains positive that there will only be better days ahead. 

Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger

The Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of the REACH Project (Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao and the Visayas Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic) is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and is implemented by ACCORD IncorporatedAction Against Hunger PhilippinesCARE PhilippinesCommunity Organizers MultiversityInitiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc.Plan International PhilippinesPhilippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)Save the Children PhilippinesUnited Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.


Written by Roussam Dilig | Edited by Joyce Sandajan Read more

Stories from the Field: Reyn Ambag

“I want to be an electrician someday so that if a power outage would happen because of a typhoon, I would be able to help in restoring it.”

Burgos, Siargao — 12-year old Reyn Ambag is a grade 7 student residing in Barangay Baybay, Burgos in the island of Siargao. He goes to school in San Isidro National High School which is located in the Municipality of San Isidro.

With Values Education as his favorite subject in school, Reyn has a knack for helping others. After observing the delays in restoring the electricity in their community, he now wants to pursue a related job in the future. “I want to be an electrician someday so that if a power outage would happen because of a typhoon, I would be able to help in restoring it,” said Reyn.

In photo: Action Against Hunger staff interviews Reyn in his home. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

As Reyn is particularly skilled in doing somersaults, a normal day for him is playing with his cousin on the beach while practicing simple acrobatics.

Reyn is raised by his mother who is a single parent. Aside from his mother, his cousin has also been living with them to help out in the absence of Reyn’s father. Reyn’s mother provides for all three of them. She is able to support their daily needs and Reyn’s schooling with the income she gets from their small retail (sari-sari) store.

In photo: Reyn sitting inside their damaged house. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

In the wake of Typhoon Odette’s impact, their family stayed inside the comfort room of the school where they evacuated to. There, he had witnessed through the window how the strong winds of the typhoon had ravaged their area. They stayed there until the storm subsided and it was safe for them to go out. Upon returning to their home, they were devastated to find that their house was damaged due to the fallen coconut trees.

In photo: Reyn sitting inside their damaged house. Above him is a temporary tarpaulin cover to serve as their roof while they have yet to repair the damage. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

With the support of UNICEF and UN CERF, Reyn’s family is one of the 221 households in Barangay Baybay that received emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene support last February 4, 2022.

The Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is implemented by Action Against Hunger with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Abdul-Alim Talusob & Benjie Montilla | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan  Read more

Stories from the Field: Hacel Mae Escobido

“I’m grateful that my family and I were safe.”

Burgos, Siargao — Before Super Typhoon Odette made landfall in Siargao, Hacel Mae Escobido and her family had already evacuated to the nearby school in their area. With the typhoon’s destructive strong winds, it was fortunate enough that the room where they stayed was the only room left undamaged by Typhoon Odette.

In photo: Hacelmae sits along the shore of Baybay, Burgos in Siargao. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

“I’m grateful that my family and I were safe,” she shares after recalling the ordeal they went through.

Hacel Mae was only 3 months old when she was taken in by her adoptive parents who are also distant relatives of her birth parents. Her adoptive father works as a carpenter, while her adoptive mother takes care of their home.

At 11 years old, Hacel Mae is already enrolled as a junior high school student. “I want to become a police officer to serve and protect my community,” she shares. When she is not in school, she normally spends her day helping at the rice farm.

In photo: Hacel Mae arrives at her home after spending the morning helping out at the rice farm. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

With the support of UNICEF and UN CERF, Hacel Mae’s family is one of the 221 households in Barangay Baybay that received emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene support last February 4, 2022.

The Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is implemented by Action Against Hunger with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Abdul-Alim Talusob & Benjie Montilla | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan  Read more

Stories from the Field: A Father’s Fight

TUBIGON, BOHOL — Dennis Frontera, a 45-year-old father of two teenagers, was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes almost a year ago. Before he was always full of energy, but that changed when his condition eventually led to renal failure. While he has since been receiving medical treatments, Dennis knew he was already due for a check-up.

His last consultation in December 2021 hadn’t been easy. Dennis had to be isolated for a couple of days at the hospital which unfortunately was at the same time that Typhoon Odette was wreaking havoc in his community at Barangay Bilang-bilangan. This experience made him hesitant to go back to the health facility.

When he found out about the medical mission in their barangay organized by Action Against Hunger, he was more than eager to get a consultation. This activity was part of the emergency health interventions of the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of the REACH Project which is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).

Medical Mission in Barangay Bilang-bilangan for people affected by Typhoon Odette. The activity is organized by Action Against Hunger through the EU-funded REACH Project. (Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger)

Dennis received further assistance through cash support which he can use to cover expenses for medicines and laboratory tests.   

With the support he receives from his family and other organizations like Action Against Hunger, Dennis is hopeful that he will recover sooner than later. For the sake of his wife and children, he is optimistic that he will return to the energetic man that he was before.  

Dennis is one of the 60,625 individuals that are expected to benefit from the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of REACH.

Typhoon-affected residents of Barangay Bilang-bilangan queue for a health consultation during the medical mission organized by Action Against Hunger through the EU-funded REACH Project. (Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger)

The Typhoon Odette Emergency Response of the REACH Project (Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao and the Visayas Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic) is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and is implemented by ACCORD IncorporatedAction Against Hunger PhilippinesCARE PhilippinesCommunity Organizers MultiversityInitiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc.Plan International PhilippinesPhilippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)Save the Children PhilippinesUnited Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.

Action Against Hunger staff conduct a hygiene promotion session during the Medical Mission in Barangay Bilang-bilangan last February 18, 2022 (Photo by Roussam Dilig for Action Against Hunger)


Written by Roussam Dilig | Edited by Joyce Sandajan, Dale Divinagracia

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REACHING THE UNREACHED: Super Typhoon Odette WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA provides life-saving WASH support for affected communities in Siargao , Dinagat and Surigao City

On the 16th of December 2021, Typhoon Odette (internationally named Typhoon Rai) made its first landfall in the Siargao Islands of Surigao Del Norte in Caraga. Within hours of its impact, a total of 2,552,312 families across 38 provinces have been affected as the typhoon had incurred massive damages in infrastructure, houses, and livelihoods that have severe and long-term effects on the affected populations (Source: National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as of 30 January 2022).

Burgos was one of the municipalities that bore the brunt of Typhoon Odette’s impact. Geographically facing the Pacific Ocean, many of its communities experienced storm surges and violent winds.

 

Through our Super Typhoon Odette WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA, we are hoping to reach 26,000 typhoon-affected people within the Municipalities of General Luna, Burgos, San Benito, and Del Carmen. With the support of UNICEF Philippines and UN CERF, our goal is to provide the children and their communities with safe water and sanitation services while promoting proper hygiene practices in times of emergency.

In photo: UNICEF Emergency WASH kits are unloaded for distribution in Barangay San Juan, San Benito in Siargao. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

We jumpstarted our water, sanitation, & hygiene (WASH) activities starting in Barangay Baybay in the Municipality of Burgos and made our way to San Benito to reach Barangays Bongdo, Talisay, and San Juan. Within the first week of February, we have supported approximately 3,580 people (221 households in Burgos; 495 households in San Benito).

In photo: One of the recipients in Barangay Baybay, Burgos checks the contents of the UNICEF emergency WASH kit. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

Life-saving WASH assistance in the form of hygiene and/or water kits (jerry cans with Aquatabs/Hyposol) were provided to prioritized families with children under five years old, family members with vulnerable circumstances— pregnant/lactating women (PLWs); single-headed households, child-headed households; persons with disabilities (PWDs); senior citizens; and family members with comorbidities—or impoverished families who have not yet received emergency WASH support in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.

In photo: Action Against Hunger staff conducts a hygiene promotion session in Barangay San Juan, San Benito in Siargao. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

During the distributions, hygiene promotion sessions for the participating families were conducted. Our WASH staff demonstrated how to practice proper handwashing using soap and water. The barangay health workers (BHWs) also supported our team before and during the distributions.

One of the recipients, a mother from Brgy. Bongdo, expressed her gratitude upon seeing several soap items in the emergency kit. She stated that her community had little expectations that they would still be receiving WASH support. According to her, neighboring barangays already received similar aid weeks before, but her barangay was not included.

Our Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is made possible with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Queen Harley Musico & Abdul-Alim Talusob | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan 

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Stories from the Field: Lenjie Concha

“I was frightened and shocked because that was the first time I experienced such a horrible event.”

10-year old Lenjie Concha lives with his grandmother, uncle, and aunt in Barangay Baybay, Burgos on the island of Siargao.

His grandmother, a teacher, owns the house where they are living in. His uncle works as a part-time carpenter and provides the main source of income for their household. Lenjie’s uncle also takes care of him while his father is away in Davao for work.

Boy sitting outside his house; house is a combination of concrete, wood and bamboo. The roof is partially damaged

In photo: Lenjie sits outside his home in Barangay Baybay, Burgos, Siargiao Island. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

On the day that Super Typhoon Odette hit Siargao, though Lenjie was inside their home, he witnessed firsthand how the strong winds destroyed the houses in their neighborhood. “I was frightened and shocked because that was the first time I experienced such a horrible event,” said Lenjie.

Fortunately, the house that they were staying in was not severely affected.

“After the typhoon, I felt safe, and I was grateful that my whole family is alive,” he added.

Lenjie’s favorite subject in school is Science and he aspires to become a teacher someday, like his grandmother. His hope for the future is to earn a college degree and land a job so that he can support his family and have a good life. On normal days, Lenjie spends his free time playing hide and seek and other games with his friends.

Action Against Hunger staff interviews Lenjie

In photo: Action Against Hunger staff interviews Lenjie outside his home. (Photo by Benjie Montilla for Action Against Hunger)

With the support of UNICEF and UN CERF, Lenjie’s family is one of the 221 households in Barangay Baybay that received emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene support last February 4, 2022.

Our Super Typhoon WASH Emergency Response in CARAGA is made possible with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


Written by Abdul-Alim Talusob & Benjie Montilla | Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan  Read more

PBA 2021: Converging efforts with local government and RHUs to strengthen health and nutrition initiatives in Mindanao

Limited access to quality health care has been one of the identified humanitarian gaps within remote areas even before the pandemic. This immediately took a turn for the worse when COVID-19 negatively impacted these health systems. Many primary healthcare services have become inaccessible due to the lockdown restrictions or overcapacity of patients. Conflict-affected communities─especially the poor, displaced, and those in other vulnerable conditions─are at greater risk more than ever.

This is why our Program-Based Approach (PBA) in Mindanao has been coordinating with rural health units to ensure that primary health services are available, sustainable, and easily accessed by vulnerable communities.

Since the second quarter of 2021, we have been sponsoring medical-dental missions of the local government with support funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

Dental Services during the Health Mission at Lumbatan last August 23, 2021 (Photo by PBA Mindanao 2021 for Action Against Hunger)

A total of 1,202 people—collectively from Binidayan and Lumbatan of Lanao del Sur—participated in a series of activities from July 26 to September 2. Our nutrition screening activities were also integrated with the health mission to converge our health initiatives on the ground.

MUAC Screening during the Health Mission at Lumbatan on September 2, 2021 (Photo by PBA Mindanao 2021 for Action Against Hunger)

Following the nutrition screening, all individuals identified to have severe or moderate acute malnutrition were then referred to the RHUs to receive appropriate care and treatment. To supplement their nutritional needs, they will also receive financial assistance from our multi-purpose cash program.

Nutrition Awareness Session during the Health Mission in Binidayan on July 26, 2021(Photo by PBA Mindanao 2021 for Action Against Hunger)

Aside from these interventions, nutrition-awareness sessions were also held to refresh or heighten the participants’ knowledge of good health practices. In Binidayan, pregnant and lactating women (PLW) who are at nutritional risk also received hygiene kits and hygiene promotion sessions.

Hygiene Kit Distribution for PLWs at Binidayan during the Health Mission on July 26, 2021 (Photo by PBA Mindanao 2021 for Action Against Hunger)

Our efforts to stop and prevent hunger continues. We aim to fully protect, assist, and advocate for disadvantaged communities that are at greater risk to societal, environmental, and health crises.

The Program-Based Approach (PBA), otherwise referred to as ‘Multi-Sectoral Lifesaving Assistance to People Most Vulnerable to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Conflict, and Disasters ─ Mindanao Program 2021’ is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines.


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Real Life Heroes – Lyndon Arbes

For  Lyndon Arbes, being able to spark change and making a lasting impact in society is both his pride and joy. The drive to help others in need emanates from a propensity to put himself in the others’ shoes. This, he shares, is rooted in his personal experience during his humble beginnings.

Now working as the Deputy Head of Project for our MOVE UP Mindanao project, Lyndon shares with us the lessons he gained from his 22 years of working as a humanitarian worker, or rather, as a real-life hero.


What is your role in Action Against Hunger?

I am currently the Deputy Head of Project for the Moving Urban Poor in Mindanao Towards Resilience (MOVE UP 4) project. My role for the project is to manage, coordinate, implement, monitor, and evaluate all the activities in Action Against Hunger in strengthening the resilience of the urban poor against human, natural and climate-induced hazards. We do this by building and supporting the capacities of communities on resilient livelihoods. The project also advocates for the inclusion of alternative temporary shelters, technical assistance on camp management, social protection, and/or risk-transfer modalities in local government disaster risk reduction management plans.

Photo courtesy of Lyndon Arbes

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

I have been in the development work and humanitarian for 22 years now.

What motivated you to become a humanitarian worker?

Coming from a poor family, I fully understand how difficult life can be. I empathize with communities, especially with our farmers and other vulnerable sectors, who have experienced devastating impacts of disasters—losing livelihoods over and over, or grieving over lost lives.

Being a development and humanitarian worker is a noble work and profession that provides me the opportunity to give back to the people in need. Through my work, I am able to help others improve their socio-economic condition, protect their lives and livelihoods, and enabling them to withstand and bounce back after disasters. Seeing their faces brimming with so much joy is what inspires me most.

 

Why are you making this sacrifice?

We are all human and everyone deserves help. We need to care for others the same way we care for ourselves, and our families.

 

Photo courtesy of Lyndon Arbes

 

What have been the challenges to your work?

Working in the development sector is sometimes a very complex process considering that communities we work with have different social, cultural, and political contexts. So, sometimes you need to be creative and innovative in the ways you advocate them. Adding to this challenge is the current COVID-19 pandemic which brings us certain limitations. But we make our maximizing our efforts now more than ever in enabling communities to be more vigilant in case of potential crises, while at the same time learning to exercise caution against COVID-19.

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

Working with farmers and the most vulnerable sector of our community has always been my passion. Seeing them transform their lives with smiles on their faces gives me a sense of fulfillment, and also my source of motivation.

What are you most proud of?

In my 22 years of working with humanitarian organizations, what I am most proud of is being part of a community that is helping improve the lives of many with the utmost sincerity and passion. I am proud to have this as my legacy.

Just recently, we were able to mobilize around twenty-seven community savings groups in Kidapawan City with total savings, social funds, and livelihood amounting to 1.5 million pesos. These savings came directly from all the members, which they managed to accumulate in less than a year. It makes me proud how a change in their mindset and attitude has allowed them to achieve this milestone—not only are they financially literate and independent but they are also more prepared and resilient.

Photo by Jan Azucena for Action Against Hunger

What climate change impact have you seen with your own eyes?

Climate change is real, and it’s been happening not only now but even way back. If you saw on TV that the glaciers are continuously melting which is resulting in rising sea levels, this means changes in our climate patterns are now being characterized by extreme weather events. The fact that El Niño and La Niña are becoming more intense is one of the many shreds of evidence that climate change is real.

How are you taking action against climate change?

Climate Change is a global issue but solutions can be started right at the community level. There are plenty of ways we can do to fight climate change. One is to simply reduce our own carbon footprints. We can also plant more trees and advocate for change—change other people’s attitudes and be more caring towards our environment.

Photo courtesy of Lyndon Arbes


Moving Urban Poor Communities Toward Resilience (MOVE UP 4) is an urban disaster risk reduction (DRR) project which aims to build resilience among urban poor communities in Mindanao. With funding from the European Union, MOVE UP 4—also known as MOVE UP Mindanao—is implemented by a consortium of partners consisting of Action Against Hunger PhilippinesPlan International PhilippinesCARE Philippines, and their local partner ACCORD Incorporated. Read more