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Around 1,250 flood-affected residents receive hygiene kits through REACH

Almost four months after Typhoon Odette, the central and southern parts of the Philippines are faced with another mishap when Tropical Storm Agaton (internationally named Megi) had left almost 307,500 people displaced.

Heavy rainfall had left Maguindanao flooded for two weeks since April 7, 2022. This has caused a tremendous impact on the health and livelihood of families living in all 14 barangays in Mamasapano—especially in accessing and maintaining hygiene and health protection.

In photo: Barangay Lusay, Mamasapano (Photo courtesy of Mamasapano Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Office)

With funding support from the European Union Humanitarian Aid, the REACH project launched an emergency kit distribution last April 21 to support almost 1,250 flood-affected families in Maguindanao. The distribution was facilitated by Action Against Hunger and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

Many of the participating families rely on agriculture as their main source of income. Now that crops have been damaged by the flooding, they worry that the lack of sustainable income will deprive them of access to their health and hygiene needs.

Working closely with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office (MDRRMO) and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of Mamasapano, we identified persons with disabilities to be prioritized in the said distribution. A total of 250 families were able to receive hygiene kits.

The selection of PWDs was advised by the MDRRMO and MSWDO due to the group’s increased vulnerability to health risks brought about by the flooding. In Mamasapano alone, more than 4,000 families are reportedly affected by the storm.

The ‘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’ (REACH) Project is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and is implemented by ACCORD IncorporatedAction Against Hunger PhilippinesCARE PhilippinesCommunity Organizers MultiversityInitiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc.Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)United Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.


Written by Dennis Alcy Ellorimo | Edited by Joyce Sandajan Read more

REACH 2 conducts Protection Training and Monitors to support Lanao del Sur LGUs in establish inclusive and accessible services

One of the goals of REACH is to establish a safe and inclusive environment for conflict and disaster-affected communities while focusing on those who are most vulnerable to these threats.

To make this a reality, a series of Protection Trainings were conducted last July 2021 where 60 participants from the municipalities of Masiu, Bayang, Butig, and Lumba Bayabao in Lanao del Sur attended.

© Photo by Juhainah Ebus for Action Against Hunger

The trainings were conducted to support and empower the local government units by establishing inclusive and accessible protection services.

© Photo by Juhainah Ebus for Action Against Hunger

Identified Protection Monitors will be mainstreaming protection in the implementation of programs in the communities. They will also help in the identification and monitoring of protection issues, as well as advocating referral pathways on gender-based violence and child protection.

 

© Photo by Juhainah Ebus for Action Against Hunger

Each municipality developed its Protection Activity Plan. The plans included activities such as mobile legal missions, psychosocial support (PSS) sessions, identification, and monitoring of protection cases & referrals.

© Photo by Juhainah Ebus for Action Against Hunger

© Photo by Juhainah Ebus for Action Against Hunger

Together with our partners, we are aiming for a future that provides inclusive and non-discriminatory protection for all.

© Photo by Juhainah Ebus for Action Against Hunger

The ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (REACH) Project is funded by the European Union and is implemented by ACCORD IncorporatedAction Against Hunger PhilippinesCARE PhilippinesCommunity Organizers MultiversityInitiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc.Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)United Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.


Written by Joyce Anne Sandajan

Over 400 households in Datu Piang affected by the recurring Maguindanao displacement receive shelter kits from REACH 2

DATU PIANG, MAGUINDANAO — Action Against Hunger Philippines, through the REACH 2 project, provided 410 shelter kits to conflict and flooding-affected families in Barangay Montay, Datu Piang on the 23rd of September 2021.

© Photo by Al-King Dilangalen for Action Against Hunger

Our team worked closely with the local government of Datu Piang together with the barangay council in managing the distribution. The kits were composed of mosquito nets, mats, and blankets. A hygiene promotion session was also conducted to refresh the participating families’ knowledge on proper hygiene and sanitation practices.

© Photo by Al-King Dilangalen for Action Against Hunger

During the first quarter of 2021, heavy rainfall had left several Maguindanao towns flooded, affecting areas such as Sultan sa Barongis, Datu Salibo, Datu Piang, Mamasapano, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, and Rajah Buayan. This, unfortunately, was not a new occurrence for them since several areas of the province were already prone to flooding. Maguindanao yet again experienced massive flooding which started last September 8, 2021. This caused tremendous impacts on the lives of people repeatedly displaced due to this hazard, making access to adequate protection and dignified living more difficult for those in already vulnerable circumstances. For example, women and girls who are displaced are faced with compromised access to personal security and dignity, making them extremely at-risk.

In photo: Heavy rains in Maguindanao had caused streets to be submerged in several inches of rainwater last September 8, 2021.

In some cases, opportunities to build back their lives and move forward are impeded because of recurring conflicts in the area. This situation causes internally displaced individuals (IDPs) to have limited access to quality water, sanitation & hygiene facilities (WASH) as well poses potential health risks.

In photo: Residents are faced with recurring flooding in Barangays Dalug Balt, Lumigues Sogud, and Cormatan from Masiu.

 

With funding from the European Union, REACH 2 aims to establish a protected environment for conflict and disaster-affected communities in Mindanao as one of the project’s key humanitarian objectives.

 

The ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (REACH) Project is funded by the European Union and is implemented by ACCORD IncorporatedAction Against Hunger PhilippinesCARE PhilippinesCommunity Organizers MultiversityInitiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc.Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)United Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.

 


Written by Ramon III Jungco. Edited by Joyce Sandajan.

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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.

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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Launching the first Climate Outlook Forum for Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur DRR partners

MAGUINDANAO — Our disaster risk reduction (DRR) project focused on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) launched its 1st Maguindanao & Lanao del Sur Climate Outlook Forum last September 2, 2021.

In partnership with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the forum was facilitated online by Action Against Hunger’s Cotabato team. Charly Jamero, the Chief Meteorological Officer for the Ministry of Science & Technology – PAGASA, serves as the key resource speaker for the said activity.

Photo by Michael Ryan Queman for Action Against Hunger

A total of 58 people participated in the virtual forum—among these were representatives from the municipal and barangay government units, along with key agencies in BARMM. Members of the People’s Organization also attended the event. Some municipalities like Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Piang, and Rajah Buayan organized viewing sessions for individual participants that had limited or no internet connection in their respective households. A number of attendees who were not based in Maguindanao also joined the session.

Photo by Michael Ryan Queman for Action Against Hunger

For the activity, Ms. Jamero gave an overview of climate outlook. She then proceeded to discuss anticipated weather and climate updates in Visayas & Mindanao from September 2021 until January 2022.

“We want to level down, localize, and contextualize climate information and use it for decision-making. We hope that this climate outlook fora can be a means for our community members and decision-makers to utilize these learnings in improving our resilience-building strategies. We should be able to make an informed decision out of the climate information that we have.” Juan Blenn Huelgas, Action Against Hunger DRR Coordinator 

In a concise yet enlightening message, Juan Blenn Huelgas—current Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Coordinator for Action Against Hunger Philippines—emphasized the importance of using the information gained from the discussion in drafting local government plans and community decision-making. “We want to level down, localize, and contextualize climate information and use it for decision-making. We hope that this climate outlook fora can be a means for our community members and decision-makers to utilize these learnings in improving our resilience-building strategies. We should be able to make an informed decision out of the climate information that we have,” he said.

Photo by Michael Ryan Queman for Action Against Hunger

Delilah Chua, Head of Base for Action Against Hunger Cotabato Field Office, also attended the virtual forum and thanked all partners, participants, and facilitators for taking part in the first round of discussion on climate outlook.

BHA-DRR / Cotabato Team (Photo courtesy of Michael Ryan Queman)

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 Read more

605 Displaced Families in Mindanao receive cash assistance to counter food insecurity

Photo by Juhaina Ebus for Action Against Hunger

MINDANAO — A total of 605 displaced families in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao received cash assistance amounting to 5,000 and 3,400 last August 18 to 20, 2021 during our Cash-for-Food payout, an activity under REACH Mindanao’s food security and livelihood (FSL) program.

The cash assistance is intended to support families who are at risk of facing food insecurity due to experienced protracted displacement. Local government units and agencies are already responding to these vulnerable communities, but because there are certain areas that would be deemed more susceptible to conflicts, calamities, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, these additional threats exacerbate the living conditions of internally displaced people. The situation they face can also further limit their financial resources, therefore making it more difficult to provide enough healthy and nutritious food for the entire family.

Cash Assistance Payout: Muslim woman holds cash paper bills while standing in front of REACH 2 project banner.

This household head successfully claims the Php5,000 during the cash payout for Datu Piang participating families. (Photo by Juhaina Ebus for Action Against Hunger)

Aside from the mentioned amount, each participating family also received a small allowance to cover the household representative’s travel expenses going to the payout center. Among the initial recipients of the cash support, 375 families were home-based internally displaced persons residing in Masiu, Lanao del Sur while the remaining 230 families resided in flood-affected areas of Datu Piang, Maguindanao. The goal of the cash assistance is to help affected families to meet the minimum food consumption necessary for each member.

IDPs in Masiu are no longer strangers to ongoing conflict and disasters. The Municipality of Datu Piang on the other hand is reportedly considered as a “catch basin” of several rivers coming from neighboring provinces. This makes the area more prone to flooding which can be easily triggered by heavy rainfall.

The payout activity was conducted in coordination with the municipal local governments of Masiu, and Datu Piang. REACH Mindanao will continue to roll out a series of food security & livelihood support programs for specific vulnerable populations in Mindanao.

(Photo by Al-king Dilangalen for Action Against Hunger)

The ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (REACH) Project is funded by the European Union and is implemented by ACCORD IncorporatedAction Against Hunger PhilippinesCARE PhilippinesCommunity Organizers Multiversity, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc., Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)United Youth of the Philippines-Women and Oxfam Pilipinas.

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USAID-funded DRR Project Strengthens Community Resilience by Empowering Women

We recognize gender inequality as both a cause and effect of hunger. Until now, there are communities where women have less access and control over resources while also having limited participation or representation in decision-making, therefore putting them at risk.

This is why one key strategy of our USAID-funded Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Project in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is empowering these women to strengthen their barangay’s resilience through community savings groups (CSG). The main goal of CSGs is to encourage and create a saving culture in the community while offering a unique financial opportunity for participating households.

Photo by Michael Ryan Queman for Action Against Hunger

Last month, 30 women from Barangay Gawang of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao participated in the Community Savings Group Orientation held by Action Against Hunger on June 16, 2021.  Because CSGs provide a level of financial security even without any access to formal banking services, all women gave their commitment to creating a savings group for the barangay. Once established, the collective savings can offer a safety net for the members’ households in times of disasters and other emergency situations.

A community savings group (CSG) is a community-based program where a group of vulnerable and at-risk persons in a community agrees to save a certain amount periodically and depositing the savings in a group account. Savings groups are a way for people without access to formal banking services to access some financial security. Savings groups are owned, managed, and operated by the members, using a simple, transparent method where groups accumulate and convert small amounts of cash into savings that can be used in times of crisis. This way, economic security is increased and financial services are brought closer to communities for promoting secure investment with savings.

The group can further decide to focus on savings or invest in personal or collective livelihood activities to improve household income. In most cases, the group also engages in giving loans. Moreover, not only does the CSG provide potentially better financial opportunities for families but also empowers the participants—in this case, the women of Barangay Gawang—as they engage in financial planning, decision-making, and active community involvement.

Photo by Michael Ryan Queman for Action Against Hunger

‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Areas 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 Philippines with the support of local government units and partner stakeholders.

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Providing Emergency Non-food Items and Hygiene Kits to a Total of 540 Families Temporarily Taking refuge in Datu Pendililang Piang Elementary School and Mahad Madrasa in Barangay Salbu

Clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and a faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on March 18 has displaced more than 3,000 individuals in several municipalities in Maguindanao: Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Shariff Saidona Mustapha, Shariff Aguak, and Mamasapano.

 

“Based on the information gathered, the fighting is still ongoing. This will result in more people forced to leave their homes for safety,” said Delilah Chua, Head of Base for Cotabato. “Just in a span of one day, we have seen the number of families practically doubling in number. When we validated the Pendililang evacuation center on March 20, it was 269. The next day, the number jumped to 419. In the Barangay Salbu evacuation center, the same thing happened as well: from 271 it increased to 425 the very next day.”

In response, Action Against Hunger Philippines with funding from the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and logistical support from the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid – ECHO, provided emergency non-food items and hygiene kits to a total of 540 families temporarily taking refuge in Datu Pendililang Piang Elementary School and Mahad Madrasa in Barangay Salbu.