World Humanitarian Day 2021 – Nino Kim Diez

In celebration of World Humanitarian Day 2021, meet Nino Kim R. Diez, ProACT’s Project Officer and one of our Real Life Heroes! Get to know Kim and find out how he takes action against climate change:


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

I take the lead in implementing the ProACT Project in the province of Surigao del Sur. The aim of the project is to improve vulnerable communities’ resilience to disasters and climate change. 


How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

I have been working as a humanitarian worker for 13 years.


What motivates you to become a humanitarian worker?

My motivation comes from my personal experiences and struggles in the past. I have seen that vulnerable sectors often do not have enough representation, especially us who are differently-abled. Most of the local governments before do not have concrete programs that specifically cater to these sectors. I want to be able to fill that gap in my own way.

Photo courtesy of Nino Kim Diez

Why are you making this sacrifice?

I am a teacher by profession, but I have chosen to be in the development work because as I see it, it is not only the children who need attention but also other vulnerable groups such as women, PWD’s, Senior Citizens, and Indigenous People.


What have been the challenges to your work?

Being away from my family is a big challenge for me. Sometimes I cry when I realize that, while I am serving the underserved communities, my family is longing for my presence as well. One other challenge is the different political and cultural environments that I encounter in my work almost every day.


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

Despite these challenges, I continue doing the work because I have a mission to fulfill for myself, especially for the people who are unfortunate in life. It is both the love and understanding of my family that fuel me to continue humanitarian work.


What are you most proud of?

I am very proud to become an instrument in the development of communities, especially the people who have been hit by disasters. I have become part of their successful journey toward building a better life and achieving their dreams.


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

The effects of climate change are inevitable.  Through the years, I have seen the sea level rise and changes in seasonal patterns.  These, coupled with the increased frequency of typhoons, have greatly impacted the communities I work in. 


How do you help in combating climate change?

I always encourage my team to plan and combine our trips when doing fieldwork.  I also try to go paperless, be it in the office or in the field, as much as possible.  Moreover, I encourage the community, especially farmers, to use low-cost technologies and environmentally-friendly agricultural techniques.  Lastly, I participate in the political process of formulating plans to address climate change.

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Barangays in Davao de Oro receive early warning devices

Photo by Lea Anora for Action Against Hunger (2021)

DAVAO DE ORO — Just last August 13, 2021,  twenty (20) barangays in Maco and Mabini, Davao de Oro had received early warning devices from Action Against Hunger through our ProACT Project.

Weather patterns have become unpredictable due to climate change. Many communities in the area have been experiencing various weather events and calamities. Because of this, we wanted to ensure that these communities are well informed and duly prepared in the event of a disaster.

Photo by Lea Anora for Action Against Hunger (2021)

These early warning devices will be tested during community drills which are scheduled to occur within the months of August to September, during which increased rainfall will be expected.

Photo by Lea Anora for Action Against Hunger (2021)

This disaster risk reduction (DRR) support is part of our commitment to building resilient communities by supporting barangays to have efficient early warning protocols, while improving the information dissemination community members and other groups, coming from the barangay level or local government units (BLGU).

Photo by Keith Filipinas for Action Against Hunger (2021)

ProACT aims to strengthen the partner communities’ capacities with regard to climate change adaptation, promotion of food security, and also income generation. To do so, the project uses a value chain approach for 3,650 families affected by disasters in the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, and Davao de Oro.

The main goal is to improve disaster, climate resilience, and socio-economic conditions of vulnerable communities we work with.


‘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 or Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), and implemented by Action Against Hunger and Fundacion CODESPA.

Written by Vina Menez. Edited by Joyce Anne Sandajan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PBA Mindanao 2021 starts cash assistance program for COVID-affected IDPs in Zamboanga

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

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MOVE UP 4 launches Webinar on Mainstreaming Social Protection Initiatives at the Local Level

A webinar on ‘Mainstreaming Social Protection Initiatives at the Local Level’ was launched last Thursday, June 24, which was organized by the Moving Urban Poor Communities Toward Resilience (MOVE UP) project in partnership with the Local Government Academy. The webinar was attended by almost 500 local chief executives and local government unit staff from all over the Philippines.
Roger Cabiles, Action Against Hunger Head of Project and MOVE UP 4 Consortium Manager, presented the Urban Resilience Model and Basic Concepts on Shock-Responsive Social Protection while Atty. Melchor Mergal, Municipal Mayor of Salcedo in Eastern Samar, shared the successful implementation of an Anticipatory Action in DRRM project in their municipality.

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

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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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Rising from poverty: Action Against Hunger co-launches investment fair in Kidapawan City

ARAKAN VALLEY — Faced with the challenge of massive poverty, civil society organizations (CSOs) linked with the Arakan Valley Complex Project Management Office (AVC PMO), Action Against Hunger Philippines, and the Provincial Government of Cotabato in conducting a two-day investment fair, dubbed as the “Arakan Valley Complex and Tulunan Investment Fair” on September 19 and 20, 2019 in Kidapawan City.

Poverty incidence in North Cotabato, of which the Arakan Valley Complex and Tulunan are part, was recorded at 25.6 percent of the population, according to the Philippine Statistic Authority 2018 report.

The underlying factor of poverty in the valley is attributed to the low market price of farm produce, according to Van Cadungon, Provincial Administrator of North Cotabato. Cadungon was the keynote speaker during the opening of the investment fair.

“Farm productivity and market support programs are priority strategies that need to be implemented in the valley to address poverty,” Cadungon said.

“The investment fair resulted from a participatory planning done among the six municipalities where key development projects intended to spur economic growth in the Arakan valley were identified,” said Kerwin Jade Mallorca, the AVC PMO administrator. These projects are in the sectors of Good Governance, Agriculture, Environment, Health, Basic Social Services, Economic, Education, and Water-related Services, and Infrastructures.

The AVC Investment Fair is a two-day activity that is meant to attract social investors in the area of agriculture, trade and commerce, basic social services, and utilities into the Arakan Valley and Tulunan. The Fair incorporates project pitching, site tours, gallery display of investment opportunities, conversations, and cultural events that are intended to generate external interest in the opportunities present in the Arakan Valley and link local social entrepreneurs, governments, and people’s organizations with social investors.

“This is a breakthrough initiative because for the first time we are creating a venue for community leaders and social investors can come together and collaborate towards economic and social development,”

“This is a breakthrough initiative because for the first time we are creating a venue for community leaders and social investors can come together and collaborate towards economic and social development,” said Jules L. Benitez, Head of Project of “Reinforcing, Instituting, and Scaling Up Efficient CSO-LGU Interaction towards Enhanced Local Governance (RISE).”

Reinforcing, Instituting, and Scaling Up Efficient CSO-LGU Interaction towards Enhanced Local Governance (RISE) was funded by the European Union and implemented by Action Against Hunger.


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Awareness Training on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in the Community and Municipalities of Mindanao City

Humanitarian crises create devastating impacts to the communities affected, but what is most scarring is the psychological trauma and stress that these emergency situations leave behind.

We are steadfast in mitigating these impacts and work closely with several conflict-affected communities in Mindanao.

Thus, last August, we facilitated an 𝗔𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗻 𝗠𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗣𝘀𝘆𝗰𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗡𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 for 60 community volunteers, leaders and LGU health staff members from the municipalities of Saguiaran, Kapai, Balindong and Madamba in Lanao del Sur, and Municipality of Pantao Ragat in Lanao Del Sur.

Funded by EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid – ECHO, the training was part of our ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Conflict-Affected Populations in Mindanao’ (REACH) Project in partnership with CARE Philippines and Oxfam Pilipinas.

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Life After The Mindanao Earthquake: Wheels of Hope

“Mother, why are we different from other kids?” asks 6-year old John Rey to his mother, Janisa. John Rey and his two older brothers Christian and Gary Jr., have not been able to walk and run like other children because of a bone condition that started when each of them turned six years old.

Janisa looks at John Rey and finds it difficult to answer his question. Even the doctors that they consulted could not determine the reason why her sons’ bones in their lower bodies were shrinking.  All the doctors could recommend was to conduct more medical examinations to determine the cause of the boys’ conditions and how to treat it.

The eldest, Gary Jr. who is now 13 years old, has trouble sitting down and usually spends days lying on the sleeping mat. The father, Gary Sr., earns just enough to get by their daily needs as an on-call carpenter. Janisa stays at home and takes care of the children. As much as they want to have their sons treated, they have limited financial capabilities to do so.

To make matters worse, their community in Balabag, Kidapawan was affected by the series of earthquakes that struck Mindanao during the last quarter of 2019. The disaster affected more than 300,000 people, almost half of them displaced, including Gary Sr. and Janisa’s family.

Despite their struggles, the Lopez family continues to move forward especially after our Earthquake Response Protection Team, together with the Integrated Provincial Health Office – IPHO and the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), referred and assisted the Lopez brothers to Kidapawan City Public Hospital and other private hospitals in the area for more extensive check-ups and medical examinations. John Rey, Christian, and Gary Jr. each received wheelchairs courtesy of the IPHO, and the CSWD provided financial assistance for their family. Action Against Hunger continues to monitor the condition of the three children.

Prior to the referral, the Lopezes also received humanitarian support forms of multi-purpose cash transfer, hygiene and shelter kits. Inside their evacuation tent, Janisa watches her two youngest sons play, the eldest brother lies in his back beside them. The boys may not be able to use their legs like other children, but Janisa is hopeful that at least her sons will now be able to walk and run in their own special way with the help of their new wheelchairs.


Life-saving Humanitarian Assistance to People Affected by the Mindanao Earthquake is funded by the European Union, and implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines, CARE Philippines, and ACCORD Incorporated.

Written by Joayra Gem Balagtas