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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World Humanitarian Day 2021 – Jo An Jagape

In celebration of World Humanitarian Day 2021, meet Jo An Jagape, our FSL Assistant for Mindanao Program 2021, and one of our Real Life Heroes! Get to know Jo An and find out how what inspires her in her work as a humanitarian worker:

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

As Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL) Assistant, my responsibilities are to coordinate, profile, and identify target beneficiaries.  I assist my team in the implementation of the cash-for-food program; focusing on the most vulnerable, food-insecure displaced households and host communities affected by conflicts, disasters, and COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Jo An Jagape


How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?     

Since 2005, after completing my college degree.  I was initially engaged with a local non-government organization based in Lanao del Norte as a finance staff, but along the way the organization involved me with other tasks from coordination, representation, trainings, youth organizing and exposed me to farmers & fisherfolk communities with different cultures. This nourished my social awareness.

My involvement with Action Against Hunger started during the 2012 Typhoon Sendong (WASHI) Emergency Response in Iligan City.  Since then, I have been involved in eight different Action Against Hunger projects, in different roles.

I’ve also had great experiences with other agencies or INGOs doing humanitarian work.  I’ve learned and cherished ideas that are new to me, and even enhanced and replicated these ideas to other projects. 

What motivated you to become a humanitarian worker?

I have a dream that someday we will collectively achieve the change we want for our next generation’s society.  When I was in college, I was involved in a youth organization.  This group helped me a lot in opening my mind and understanding the situation of our society. My eldest sister, Jet, who is also working with a local non-government organization encouraged me to try and work with a local NGO and along the way, I got the perspective of serving the community in need and understanding the principle of humanity. Working with communities that have different cultural and religious perspectives has influenced my passion for solidarity and to continue my humanitarian responsibility to serve the most vulnerable.


Photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Jo An Jagape


Why are you making this sacrifice?

Someone asked me once why I am focusing now on the food security and livelihood sector when my previous engagement with NGOs was mostly linked with the financial side of things. For me, accounting work and recording books in a cozy office space have the same workload in the field but in a different twist. As an FSL staff, you will be dealing with everything, from office to communities’ concerns. Being in a technical team you must be responsible, adaptable, proactive, and have a sense of mindfulness to support any developments. Until now I am still eager to learn other concepts to help me improve strategies in responding efficiently during emergencies or in the recovery phase.


 Photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Jo An Jagape


What have been the challenges to your work?

As a humanitarian worker, you take a lot of risks.  It might be your security, privacy, health condition, stress from workload, and being away from your family. It’s been more than a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has worsened with different variants. I remember last year that I was away from my 2 young children for almost a year because of pandemic protocols.  Balancing work and family time were greatly affected by the pandemic.

My current project has target areas that are located far from the base. It takes us 3 hours of travel time to arrive at the venue. Organizing a limited number of people in the area were done because of restricted mass gatherings while respondents and target households’ attendance was limited due to transportation concerns, fear from virus infection or just thinking that they’ll be forced to vaccinate. With all these work challenges the health & nutrition and community volunteers, RHU/LGU staff were very supportive to the team and flexible with their time to accommodate the planned activities. With their active participation, the project implementation went as planned.

The fear of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus is inevitable, but what I do is protect myself with proper hygiene and discipline to prevent the virus.


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

In the current project I am in, I am very glad that I’m surrounded by colleagues that have a sense of urgency, who are very creative, and have an open mind to others’ opinions on how to implement efficiently the planned activities.  My team’s positive attitude keeps me motivated.

Photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Jo An Jagape


What are you most proud of?

The positive learnings that I will bring wherever I might be assigned in my future humanitarian journey. My previous projects have exposed me to new knowledge. I remember my previous colleague, Jonathan Gorre, teaching me how to quickly determine nutritionally at-risk children and women using Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tapes. This knowledge, along with other quality learnings from other colleagues from different sectors will be with me forever.

Photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Jo An Jagape


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

In 2021, people living in Mindanao have experienced rising temperatures, extreme heat that is unusual and is above the average recorded from the previous years. 


How are you helping combat climate change?

Combating climate change is very challenging! For me, I’ve changed to a minimalist lifestyle, practicing less consumption, and supporting green technology. I have also joined groups that advocate to plant more trees and develop an agroforest. Future generations will surely benefit the cause.

 The ‘Multi-Sectoral Lifesaving Assistance To People Most Vulnerable To The Covid-19 Pandemic, Conflict, and Disasters’ or Mindanao Program 2021 is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Help us fight climate change by leading The Human Race.

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Action Against Hunger Philippines joins #TheHumanRace on World Humanitarian Day

Two individuals carrying a white banner with the text "Joins..." along with #TheHumanRace logo (Green square with bold white capitalized text 'THE HUMAN RACE' followed by two yellow arrows, and a small text a the bottom 'World Humanitarian Day 2021'

Sheryl Bejerano and Emlan Lilangan, representatives of Action Against Hunger, hold #TheHumanRace banner. | Photo courtesy of Shey Bejerano.

MAGUINDANAO — Our team members broke a sweat this World Humanitarian Day as Action Against Hunger Philippines took part in The Human Race campaign last August 19, 2021.

Represented by our Cotabato team, Sheryl Bejerano (HR Officer) and Emlan Lilangan (Finance Officer) joined the World Humanitarian Day (WHD) 2021 activity at Barangay Labungan in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

Along with other humanitarian organizations, our team members trekked about 6-8 kilometers in total, going to and fro Labungan School which hosted the program.

Individuals trekking a muddy dirt road, following a disorganized line.. Around them are green trees and bright blue sky.

Members of different humanitarian organizations trek the dirt road going to Labungan School #TheHumanRace | Photo by Shey Bejerano for Action Against Hunger

A tree-planting activity and a quick photo session followed thereafter to commemorate the event.

Female person in Action Against Hunger shirt wearing face mask and cap, holds a small tree to plant on the ground. Around her are green trees and bright blue sky.

Shey, HR Officer for Action Against Hunger Cotabato Field Office, plants a tree sapling during the WHD 2021 event. #TheHumanRace | Photo by Emlan Lilangan for Action Against Hunger

“As we highlight the immediate human cost of climate crisis, the eight kilometer trek and tree planting activity had been a very challenging and joyful journey, paired with a fruitful contribution towards a greener future while we continue to take action against climate change – one of the main causes of hunger in the world’s most vulnerable communities.” – Sheryl Bejerano, Human Resources Officer for Action Against Hunger – Cotabato Field Office

People posing for a photo. Behind them are green trees and bright blue sky.

Representatives of different humanitarian organizations gather for a photo session after #TheHumanRace hike. | Photo courtesy of Shey Bejerano.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) organized the said event, which had attendees from the World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Plan International, Fondation Suisse de Déminage (FSD), Islamic Relief Worldwide, World Vision, Oxfam, Equal Access International (EQI), United Youth of the Philippines-Women, Inc., Mangunaya Mindanao Inc., Women’s Organization of Rajah Mamalu Descendants (WORMD), Save the Children, Community and Family Services International (CFSI), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)United Nations Development – Sustainable Development (UNDP), United Nations Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Several BARMM agencies also participated, including the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE), Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG), Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), and the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD).

Six individuals sitting in a long table covered in yellow table cloth. Behind them is a green backdrop tarpaulin with bold text " THE HUMAN RACE" An audience is seated in front of them.

Photo by Shey Bejerano for Action Against Hunger

During the program, Melinda Malang, OCHA Head of Mindanao Sub Office, presented the rationale of the WHD 2021. The momentous event was held in solidarity with this year’s World Humanitarian Day campaign on climate action for the world’s most vulnerable people.


The climate emergency is wreaking havoc across the world at a scale that people on the front lines and in the humanitarian community cannot
manage. Time is already running out for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people – those who have contributed least to the global climate emergency but are hit the hardest. Millions of people are already losing their homes, their livelihoods and their lives.

With most climate campaigns focused on slowing climate change and securing the planet’s future, World Humanitarian Day 2021 will highlight the immediate consequences for the world’s most vulnerable people. The campaign aims to ensure that their voices are heard and their needs top the agenda when world leaders meet at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race that we can win.” – António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

#TheHumanRace is a global challenge for climate action in solidarity with the .people who need it most. Hosted on the sports app Strava, anyone can join the campaign by logging 100 minutes of total activity—either run, roll, ride, walk, swim, kick or hit a ball—between August 16 to 31. People who don’t wish to take part physically can also virtually support #TheHumanRace via the campaign microsite.

Register or know more about #TheHumanRace

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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.

Help us fight climate change by leading The Human Race. Read more

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.

Read more: Our Approach to Gender Equality Read more