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Real Life Heroes: Rural Women for Community Resilience

Gemma Andot is a women’s leader in the MADADMA Community, part of the Obo Manobo indigenous group. Since 2020, she has been an active volunteer of Action Against Hunger in promoting community resilience through the ECHO-funded MOVE UP project.

This International Day of Rural Women, we highlight and celebrate women like Gemma. Get to know her and how she engages and inspires her community in Ilomavis, Kidapawan City towards resilience.

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker (volunteer)?

“Since 2012, isa na akong aktibong IP Community member na aktibong sumasali at nagsasagawa ng pagtulong, pagvovolunteer sa pagpreserve ng aming kultura at kapaligiran. Sa tuwing may mga NGO na dumarating dito, nagvovolunteer ako lagi.”

Since 2012, I have been an active IP Community member actively participating and helping─volunteering to preserve our culture and environment. Whenever NGOs come here, I always volunteer.

What motivates you to continue volunteering?

“Naiintindihan ko kasi ang hangarin at adbokasiya ng Urban Resilience lalo na sa usapin ng pagse-savings. Gusto ko maging involved sa paghahanda ng community kapag may dumating man na sakuna.”

[I understand the desire and advocacy of urban resilience, especially in the matter of savings. I want to be involved in making sure that my community is prepared if a disaster is to come.]

Why are you making this sacrifice?

“Hindi ko na iniisip ang sakripisyo, nakatingin nalang ako sa hinahanarap at sa magandang maaring maging resulta ng pag-sesave.”

[I don’t think about the sacrifices anymore, I just look at the future and the good that can be the result of having savings.]

What have been the challenges to your work?

“Minsan kailangan hatiin ang panahon ko para sa pamilya, negosyo, at community work, pero kaya naman kasi nandiyan naman palagi ang Action Against Hunger na kaagapay lalo na sa community.”

[Sometimes I need to divide my time between family, business, and community work─ but I’m able to do it because Action Against Hunger has been supporting us in the community.]

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

“Nakikita ko kasi na balang araw ang mga kapwa ko IP ay magiging mas resilient kami kapag lahat kami naisabuhay ang pagsesavings.”

Seeing that one day, my fellow IPs will be more resilient when we all start having savings [motivates me].

What are you most proud of?

“Na dati nagsimula lang kami sa Agoho Community Savings Group. Ngayon, isa na kaming federation sa Kidapawan. Magpaparegister na din kami sa DOLE at SEC sa tulong ng Action Against Hunger at Public Employment Service Office ng LGU Kidapawan.”

Previously we just started with Agoho Community Savings Group. Now, we are a federation in Kidapawan. We will also register with the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Securities & Exchange Commission with the help of Action Against Hunger and the Public Employment Service Office of LGU Kidapawan.

How can you engage the youth in your line of work?

“Kami na mga magulang ay nagsesavings. Sana itong mga kabataan ay makita nila kami bilang magandang ehemplo. Sila na rin ay nagsesavings gaya namin kaya ebidensya ito na naiimpluwensyahan namin sila.”

[We parents are having savings. I hope these young people can see us as a good example. They are also saving like us, so this is evidence that we influence them.]

Read more about Gemma’s work the Pines (Agoho) Community Savings Group

Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience (MOVE UP 4) is a consortium project that offers durable solutions in terms of capacitating local governments and communities in mitigating the adverse socio-economic effects of disasters. With funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, MOVE UP 4 was implemented by Action Against HungerPlan InternationalCARE Philippines, and ACCORD Incorporated.


International Day of Rural Women

Over the last century, the world’s population has steadily shifted from leading a rural existence to living in urban settings. Yet a vast amount of people (approximately 3.4 billion) are still living in rural areas. These rural communities are often characterized by limited access to resources, lower standards of living and generally high levels of poverty.

In the Philippines, around 2 million women work in rural industries including agriculture, fishing and mining. Yet land ownership for women remains low at around 10%. Women play a vital part in rural cultivation within the country yet are rarely the beneficiaries. To this end, significant land reform in accordance with gender transformative measures is required to address the situation.

Action Against Hunger has engaged with several projects across the Philippines to address the issues surrounding gender in rural communities. Specific focus has been placed on influencing household decision-making and ensuring gender is integrated into existing food security & livelihoods programming.

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More than 3,000 people in risk-prone communities in BARMM have better access to market and financial services

Together with the United States Agency for International Developments’ Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, we launched in April 2020 a two-year disaster risk reduction project. In the past two years, we have been working with our partner communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in ensuring that they are better prepared and more resilient against disasters.

One of the project’s approach was to introduce the culture of savings to participating families. They were introduced to financial systems through registration in online financial platforms. 50 community savings groups (CSGs) were organized. This was one of the strategies that paved the way for beneficiary households to integrate savings in their efforts towards financial sufficiency.


“Thank you so much for teaching us to value of having our own savings. We never prioritized this before…I have a lot of kids that I need to send to school. That is why I need to have my own savings for the benefit of my children.

– Samrah Tayuan, Community Savings Group Member


Aligned to the provisions of Republic Act 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s Operation Listo for Municipalities, the project’s main goal is to strengthen local government and community capacities towards resilience in municipalities which are high risk and vulnerable to natural hazards in Mindanao, Philippines.

A total of 3,750 people also have better access to market and financial services through the of the ‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ project.

Overall, we were able to reach 17,601 people with our activities that are in line with Risk Management Policy & Practice; Agriculture & Food Security; and Economic Recovery and Market Systems (ERMS).


For more information, check out the Project Catalogue


‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger. Read more

Resilience Project in BARMM impacts 5,080 people with improved risk management policies & practices

The United States Agency for International Developments’ Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance together with Action Against Hunger launched in April 2020 a two-year disaster risk reduction project. In the past two years, we have been working with our partner communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in ensuring that they are better prepared and more resilient against disasters.

For example, we helped the five covered municipalities in improving and updating their existing DRRM Plans and contingency plans, aligned to the Office of Civil Defense’s (OCD) standard forms and required contents. In coordination with the OCD of BARMM, we then provided the technical resource and facilitated the workshops.


“Before Action Against Hunger came, we didn’t know how to handle calamities…Now that we do, we now understand what an early warning system does. We can now stand on our own. We learned a lot such as how to manage our people during disasters and similar situations.

– Nasiba Kasim Maguid, Barangay Captain of Liong, Datu Salibo


Aligned to the provisions of Republic Act 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s Operation Listo for Municipalities, the project’s main goal is to strengthen local government and community capacities towards resilience in municipalities which are high risk and vulnerable to natural hazards in Mindanao, Philippines.

We were able to impact 5,080 people by improving local government and communities’ capacity in preparing for and mitigating disaster impact through training, and planning processes.  This was made possible due to the efforts of the ‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ project.

Overall, we were able to reach 17,601 people with our activities that are in line with Risk Management Policy & Practice; Agriculture & Food Security; and Economic Recovery and Market Systems (ERMS).


For more information, check out the Project Catalogue


‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger. Read more

8,771 people benefit from enhanced agri-aquaculture production systems and food security

Planting is like preparing for a calamity: it entails a lot of hard work and requires thoroughness. It is not easy. But all this will surely pay off as the fruits of this labor will give an abundant harvest not only for one but for the benefit of the whole community.

In the past two years, we have been working with our partner communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao in ensuring that they are better prepared and more resilient against disasters.

For example, we focused on diversifying and increasing the access of BARMM communities to agriculture and aquaculture productivity so that in times of disasters, people will have enough resources and food supply.


“When there’s severe flooding, our crops get destroyed. We feel bad because we lose a lot of income. We borrow money… and when the flood occurs, we are forced to re-apply for loans. That’s why farmers find it hard to earn.

When we started doing the [climate outlook] seminars, it became very beneficial for us because we learned what months the rainy and summer seasons occur. With this, we know when the rainy season happens, so we can protect our crops,”

– Gairon Guimbang, one of the farmers who participated in the Climate Outlook Fora for Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.


Aligned to the provisions of Republic Act 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s Operation Listo for Municipalities, the project’s main goal is to strengthen local government and community capacities towards resilience in municipalities which are high risk and vulnerable to natural hazards in Mindanao, Philippines.

A total of 8,771 people benefit from improved agriculture and aquaculture production systems and food security through the efforts of the ‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ project.

Overall, we were able to reach 17,601 people with our activities that are in line with Risk Management Policy & Practice; Agriculture & Food Security; and Economic Recovery and Market Systems (ERMS).


For more information, check out the Project Catalogue


‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger. Read more

Real Life Heroes: Lea Añora

Last December, Lea Añora and the rest of our Tandag Field team were immediately deployed to Surigao City mere hours after Typhoon Odette made landfall—an experience that made her feel the proudest in being part of the most “hardworking humanitarian force of Action Against Hunger.”
On a regular day, Lea dedicates her time as a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Supervisor in our AECID-funded PROact Project while empowering women in her field to break free from stereotypes.
Get to know Lea and what makes her one of our Real Life Heroes.

What is your role in Action Against Hunger?

I am part of the PROAct Project that aims to improve disaster and climate change resilience in communities. As DRR Supervisor, I lead in facilitating skills and capacity training, spearheading community drills, provision of DRR Equipment and Early Warning Devices, facilitating, assisting our partner local government units in crafting and enhancing their DRR-CCA and Development plans, implementing Alternative Resilient livelihoods including the provision of technical support to partner Peoples Organization and conducting emergency response to disaster-affected areas, especially within the AOR of the base and neighboring provinces.

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

It’ll be my 5th year in the organization this coming March 2022

What motivates you to become a humanitarian worker?

The trust and confidence of our partners, believing us and the organization that we WILL and CAN make significant changes in their lives and into their communities.

Photo by Dale Divinagracia for Action Against Hunger

Why are you making this sacrifice?

To see more faces of hope and joy, encouraging others to be an instrument of positive change despite the cruelty of the world.

In photo: Lea (third from the right) in one of the activities of ProACT.

What have been the challenges to your work?

Engaging in a diverse environment, with people having different beliefs, stand-points, and characters.

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

Having the experience of being genuinely appreciated by the people that we are helping fuels me every day to do more beyond what is expected from me to accomplish.

What are you most proud of?

Recently, during our Typhoon Odette Emergency Response, I was part of the team that was deployed to Surigao City immediately after the aftermath of the typhoon. Everyone in our team, including our drivers, worked so hard that a 4-hour sleep and eating a full day’s meal was a luxury. There were times when we were all drenched in rain and in sweat during the first wave of our assessment and relief distribution. These challenges never stopped us.

Everyone extended an extra mile of heartful labor to aid the immediate needs of the typhoon survivors. This experience made me the PROUDEST – to be part of the most hardworking humanitarian force of Action Against Hunger.

In photo: Lea hands over a hygiene kit during one of the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response distributions in Surigao City. (Photo by Dale Divinagracia for Action Against Hunger)

As a DRR Supervisor, what climate change impact have you seen with your own eyes?

Taking to countless farmers and fisherfolks through the years, the common lament is that their yield has been dwindling.  This is due to the extreme weather conditions that we are all experiencing today; change of weather pattern, severe heavy rainfall, long periods of the dry season, and rising sea level.  These not only directly affect the livelihood of the farmers and fisherfolks, but also of the average customer because of rising prices for food.

 

Photo by Nino Kim Diez for Action Against Hunger

How do you help in combating climate change?

It is a challenge fighting against climate change. We can’t stop it.  But, we can mitigate its impact. Strengthened advocacies on DRR-CCA, people’s increased resiliency, and capacities, and strong support from our local government units, concerned national government agencies, and non-government agencies or organizations are one of the most important keys in executing projects, programs, and activities that directly address the adverse impact of climate change in our communities.

In photo: Lea helps load the sacks of rice for distribution to Typhoon Odette survivors in Surigao City (Photo by Nino Kim Diez for Action Against Hunger)

How do you #BreaktheBias in your line of work or day-to-day activities?

In the humanitarian world, there is no room for discrimination. Each of us is given the opportunity and responsibility in helping the needs of the people, especially in times of crisis. I myself work without any bias towards my gender, for my attitude and passion define my work ethic which radiates to the people that I am working with.

How do you envision a gender-equal world?

A gender-equal world is a world that gives rights, independence, power, and responsibilities to both women and men without discrimination and segregation.

Photo courtesy of Lea Anora


Advancing Climate and Disaster Resilience Transformation in the Provinces of Agusan Del Sur, Surigao Del Sur, and Davao de Oro’ (ProACT) is a consortium project funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and implemented by Action Against Hunger & Fundacion CODESPA.

Promoting inclusive household decision-making to empower rural women

MINDANAO — Women and girls in rural communities have been providing invaluable contributions in development, particularly towards nutrition, food security, and building climate resilience. However, gender and development indicators have consistently shown that rural women and girls are generally more vulnerable to poverty and the impacts of climate change as compared to rural men and women in urban communities.

In 2019, Action Against Hunger Philippines with the guidance of our International Gender Desk conducted a gender analysis within our partner communities at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The results of the analysis showed that roles in Mindanao seem to have changed from traditionally assigned gender roles and responsibilities, with women now being more involved in productive activities. However, this does not seem to have reduced the allotted time women dedicate to reproductive work. With women spending more time on productive tasks, but not less reproductive ones, a significant increase in their overall workload was noted.

Door-to-door nutrition and hygiene promotion sessions in Lanao Del Sur | Photo by Theresa Cortes for Action Against Hunger (Lanao del Sur, Philippines © 2020)

The gender analysis also noted that although both women and men participate in income-generating activities and decide together on some key issues, key decisions like mobility, heritage, what specific work is assigned to each person, and the use of family land, etc. still fall under the decision of men. Evidently, this is one of the factors barring women’s access to income-generating activities since farming is considered the region’s main source of income. Agricultural labor like tending to the fields is mainly considered as the responsibility of men. Therefore, it comes with no surprise that men also present the highest percentages of agriculture knowledge.

Because of our commitment to mainstream gender equality in all our programs, we are aiming to maximize project outcomes while promoting gender empowerment. To do this, we plan to integrate interventions that are influencing household decision-making into existing food security & livelihoods programming.

HHDM Session in Calanogas facilitated by the project team | Photo by DRR-BHA Project Team for Action Against Hunger (Calanogas, Philippines © 2021)

Household decision-making impacts child health and nutrition in multiple ways. It influences underlying causes of undernutrition: decisions related to household production, household consumption, and caregiving practices. Household decision-making can also lead to improvements in women’s mobility; control of own time and income; men’s trust, confidence, and respect for women; women’s own self-confidence; and the sharing of household chores.

Photo by Rosa May Maitem for Action Against Hunger (Maguindanao, Philippines © 2013)

Using the Household Decision-Making (HHDM) Approach, we aim to shift household behaviors regarding decision-making and distribution of household work by spotlighting the work performed by women at reproductive and productive levels and adding more value to their contributions. The HHDM approach will hopefully encourage family members to contribute equitably—allowing each member to learn, cope, adapt and transform in the face of shocks and stresses and therefore increase household and community resilience in the long run.

“This innovative approach will enhance our FSL strategies making it more inclusive and gender transformative,” – Menchie Lacson

The HHDM approach is based on the household dialogue toolkit developed by Mercy Corps, which we’ve adapted appropriately to the context of Filipino communities, particularly in Mindanao. This was made possible through the support and guidance of Bishnu Bahadur Khatri, a seasoned international expert, and researcher on household dialogue along with human rights, child rights, social inclusion, gender-based violence, climate change, and gender equality among many others.

HHDM Session in Calanogas facilitated by the project team | Photo by DRR-BHA Project Team for Action Against Hunger (Calanogas, Philippines © 2021)

A Household Decision Making Approach Facilitator Guidebook is currently in the works, which we will be piloting through our USAID-funded disaster risk reduction project. In the meantime, the HHDM approach nonetheless has since been implemented following an online ‘training of trainers’ (ToT) on Family and Household Dialogue. The five-day training was facilitated by Bishnu Khatri last from April 8-12, 2021 and was participated by Action Against Hunger staff from the Philippines’ Manila head office, Cotabato field office, and international headquarters.

Action Against Hunger staff with Bishnu Khatri (top-right) during the last day of the HHD Training (April 12, 2021)

“This innovative approach will enhance our FSL strategies making it more inclusive and gender transformative, [We’re] grateful for your generosity in sharing your knowledge and expertise on this approach Bishnu,” says Menchie Lacson, the Food Security & Livelihoods (FSL) Coordinator and selected Gender Champion for Action Against Hunger Philippine Mission.

As we push for long-term development, we are hopeful that more women and girls in rural communities will have active involvement in decision-making and community participation through effective and inclusive household dialogues.

‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction (DRR) project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger.


Written by Joyce Sandajan Read more

Real Life Heroes – Angela Nalaunan

Angela’s involvement with Action Against Hunger started back in 2014 when she became part of our Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) Emergency Response in Northern Iloilo. Now, she is a Project Assistant for our USAID-funded disaster risk reduction (DRR) project in BARMM, and a Real-Life Hero!

Get to know Ma. Angela Nalaunan and what sparked her motivations to become a catalyst for change.


What is your role in Action Against Hunger?

As project assistant for the “Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Areas at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao” project, my responsibility is coordinating with community partners and leaders, especially with the local government at both barangay and municipal levels. I also facilitate training sessions and provide awareness and information to the community with regards to disaster risk reduction, and resilient livelihood.

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

I’ve been working as a humanitarian for a decade now. I was involved with Action Against Hunger before, from 2014 to 2015, as PhATSS Officer for our Typhoon Yolanda Emergency Response in Northern Iloilo.

What motivated you to become a humanitarian worker?

Being a research student when I was in college, I was exposed to different communities in different situations. After seeing and understanding what they were experiencing, it gave me a sense of purpose— to become a catalyst for change. That’s why I became a humanitarian worker.

Why are you making this sacrifice?

Working with different kinds of people is a challenging job. But being a vessel of hope, sharing one’s expertise, and seeing people with a smile on their faces is one of the most rewarding things in this world.

What have been the challenges to your work?

There are times when work is a bit out of control and things don’t go as planned. But, what is important is that you overcome these obstacles because you want to be a part of something good.

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

Always go back to your purpose, remind yourself why are you are here, and you will just overcome those challenges.

What are you most proud of?

Being a catalyst for change for a lot of people.

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

Being in a DRR project I have seen and expose to a lot of natural disasters like floods, typhoons, and earthquakes. Seeing this community affected by this calamity is heartbreaking, it took away their property, livelihood, and worst their loved ones, and it is very devastating.

How are you taking action against climate change?

By sharing awareness, facilitating training, and giving information regarding Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Actions that the community could understand.


Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao‘ is a disaster risk reduction (DRR) project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger.

MOVE UP team co-evaluates landslide simulation drill in Kidapawan City

KIDAPAWAN CITY — Action Against Hunger, under the MOVE UP 4 Project, served as one of the evaluators for the community landslide simulation drill in Sitio Embasi last September 16, 2021. The drill was facilitated by the local government of Barangay Perez, Kidapawan City in accordance with the 3rd Quarter Nationwide Earthquake Simulation Drill.

Aside from the Action Against Hunger’s MOVE UP team, representatives from the Philippine Red Cross, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) & City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) of Kidapawan evaluated the said simulation activity.

Sitio Embasi is one of the highly hazard-prone areas in Barangay Perez because of its steep location. The remote community was heavily affected during the landslide caused by the October 2019 Mindanao Earthquakes. This negatively impacted as many as 90 families who have been displaced since. To date, many of these families are still residing in evacuation centers since the relocation site organized by the Kidapawan City governments is yet to be completed.

The simulation drill began at exactly 9:10 a.m., kicking off with the community alarm siren and signaling the evacuation of about 30 families living in the area.
During the simulation, the barangay local government unit (BLGU) responded promptly to the ‘landslide victims’ who had fled their homes.
A triage and first aid station for casualties were also established.

Photo courtesy of Kidapawan City Information Office

Meanwhile, the barangay social workers assisted in the evacuation of the families and then facilitated the distribution of food relief who were relocated to Datu Igwas Integrated IP School. Similar to actual emergency situations, the said school was turned into an evacuation center during the drill.

Photo courtesy of Kidapawan City Information Office

One of the potential challenges raised during the activity was the evacuation of families with COVID-19 exposure—those who are undergoing isolation or quarantine. This is where members of the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) were called in to assist in the evacuation. Their main role is to ensure that suspected, probable, and confirmed COVID patients will not infect others should an evacuation take place.

In photo: First responders act out a rescue situation during the landslide simulation drill at Sitio Embasi, Barangay Perez last September 16. 2021. (Photo courtesy of Kidapawan City Information Office)

The roles of MOVE UP and other evaluators at the scene were to measure and determine the community’s preparedness in the event of a landslide in their area. As a result, any gaps or areas for improvement noted from the activity were expected to be addressed in the barangay’s evacuation plans.

Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience (MOVE UP 4) is a consortium project that offers durable solutions in terms of capacitating local governments and communities in mitigating the adverse socio-economic effects of disasters. With funding from the European Union, MOVE UP 4 is implemented by Action Against HungerPlan InternationalCARE Philippines, and ACCORD Incorporated.


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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

Action Against Hunger provides emergency response equipment to Maguindanao

MAGUINDANAO — The municipality of Datu Saudi Ampatuan received a total of 745 various emergency response equipment from Action Against Hunger last August 27, 2021. This intervention is part of our USAID-funded disaster risk reduction (DRR) project at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) which aims to strengthen the local resilience of hazard-prone communities.

The equipment were allotted to the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (MDRRM) Office, and five barangays namely: Dapiawan, Elian, Gawang, Kitango, and Madia. DSA Municipal Administrator Musib Tan, MDRRM Officer Rohanna Salik, and the Association of Barangay Chairpersons (ABC) President Anwar Kedtag received the emergency equipment during the short turn-over ceremony. The ceremony was also participated by representatives from each of the five barangays.

DSA Municipal Administrator Musib Tan shares a short message during the turn-over of emergency response equipment. (2021 © Photo by Michael Ryan Queman for Action Against Hunger)

“We are thankful for all the support—from capacity building on DRR and livelihood to the provision of equipment. These will help enable our response to disasters more effective,” said Musib Tan.


Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Area at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao‘ is a disaster risk reduction (DRR) project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger.

Written by Michael Ryan Queman | Edited by Joyce Sandajan

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