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Siargao Farmers Trained on Good Agricultural Practices and Organic Farming

Farmers affected by Typhoon Odette attended a farmer training on Good Agricultural Practices and Organic farming in the municipalities of San Benito and Burgos on the island of Siargao, Surigao del Norte last December 2022.

The training is facilitated by trainers from the Rice Specialists Training Course (RSCT). The participants from barangays Orok and Talisay learn approaches on how to rebuild their agricultural livelihoods and increase their farm yields through sustainable and safe methods.

Among other things, they learn about the importance of intercropping and how to make and apply organic fertilizers and pesticides. They also learned how to transfer their newfound knowledge to others.

After the training, they will facilitate sharing what they learned with other farmers in their communities.

Photos by Arianne Gijsenbergh for Action Against Hunger | December 2022, Siargao, Surigao del Norte

The livelihood support is part of the second phase of the project ‘‘Emergency Assistance to Support Local Recovery Capacity of Families and Communities Affected by Typhoon Odette’, funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and jointly implemented by Action Against HungerCARE Philippines, and ACCORD Incorporated.


Written by Arianne Gijsenbergh Read more

Restoring the Rice Fields After Typhoon Odette

CAPALAYAN, SURIGAO CITY — Erna Crisologo, 35, is proud to be a rice farmer. Growing up in a family of rice farmers she has lived in the middle of the rice fields her whole life. Besides the rice field bordering their home, Erna and her husband Ruben Cabalan, 35, also own a small coconut plantation higher up the mountain.

The rice paddy near Erna and Ruben’s home. (Photo by Arianne Gijsenbergh for Action Against Hunger | Surigao City, December 2022)

In December 2021, Typhoon Odette raged across the Philippines leaving a trail of destruction along its path. Erna and Ruben’s home in barangay Capalayan, a rural area on the outskirts of Surigao City, was completely washed away, along with their rice plants and coconut trees.

Erna joined the livelihood training sessions and received cash assistance to restore her family’s livelihood. This was part of the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response implemented by Action Against Hunger in the province of Surigao del Norte with funding support from the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA),

“Our rice plants were totally washed away, our coconut trees damaged. We had no more source of income, no source of food.”

In the aftermath of the typhoon, Erna, Ruben, and their daughter Shekanaiah, 8, found shelter in the school nearby. The school functioned as an evacuation center. The first days after the storm, the situation was dire. The center was overcrowded and the families were hungry. It took almost a week for food supplies and other relief goods to arrive because the roads were unpassable.

With no home to return to, Erna and her family stayed in the evacuation center for 2 months. “I was very stressed that time due to our situation,” recalls Erna, “Our rice plants were totally washed away, and our coconut trees damaged. We had no more source of income, no source of food.”

Erna cries as she recalls their experience during and after Typhoon Odette (Photo by Arianne Gijsenbergh for Action Against Hunger | Surigao City, December 2022)

Erna was heavily pregnant with a second child, which was due in February. Sadly, the stress took a toll on her body. On January 23 Erna had a miscarriage. “My baby is over there,” says Erna through her tears, pointing at a small grave next to the rice field. “That’s where we buried him. A boy. We named him Anton.”

Thankfully, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Erna’s family received donated housing materials, which they combined with leftover planks from their old house to build a new home.

The newly-repaired home of Erna and her family. (Photo by Arianne Gijsenbergh for Action Against Hunger | Surigao City, December 2022)

Once her family had a roof over their heads again, Erna and other typhoon-affected farmers in barangay Capalayan attended a training on good agricultural practices and organic vegetable production, organized by Action Against Hunger. Erna learned how to make and apply organic insecticide and fertilizer and how to improve their dyke construction. “Before we were making our dykes larger and higher,” explains Erna, “but the trainer told us that if you make the dyke too big, it will attract mice who will make it their home. It should be like this, just high enough to prevent the water and fertilizer from flowing away.”

Erna also joined a training on financial literacy and wrote a business plan to access 15,000 pesos cash assistance. She used the funds to buy a tools like sprayer for the organic fertilizer, a shovel, a raincoat, rubber boots, organic rice seeds and to pay for labor costs for land preparation.  “I feel very happy and excited to start planting rice again,” says Erna.

“I learned that it is very important to save so that we will not be hungry if a disaster comes. We are very thankful that Action Against Hunger gave us funds to restart our business. Now we have no debts to repay and we can start saving immediately.”

In addition to the training sessions and cash assistance, Action Against Hunger coordinated with the Philippine Coconut Authority to provide seed nuts to the farmers for restoring their coconut plantations. Erna and the other beneficiaries take turns weeding and watering the seed nuts in the nursery until they are ready for transplanting.

Erna with her fellow co-op members. (Photo by Arianne Gijsenbergh for Action Against Hunger | Surigao City, December 2022)

The project’s livelihood support measures are implemented in cooperation with the local farmer cooperative, where Erna volunteers as finance officer. Her mother was one of the founders.

“My mother’s passion is also my passion: serving our co-farmers. Even though we are poor, we are able to help other people,” says Erna.

Erna at the co-op. (Photo by Arianne Gijsenbergh for Action Against Hunger | Surigao City, December 2022)

Three months after planting, the rice will be ready for harvest. Erna plans to invest some of their earnings in buying pigs as an additional source of income. The family already owns three pigs which Ruben feeds and washes every morning, while Shekanaiah laughs in delight at the sound of their squeals.

Ruben washing the pigs while Shekainah observes. (Photo by Arianne Gijsenbergh for Action Against Hunger | Surigao City, December 2022)

Erna also wants to open a savings account. “I learned that it is very important to save so that we will not be hungry if a disaster comes. We are very thankful that Action Against Hunger gave us funds to restart our business. Now, we have no debts to repay and can start saving immediately.”

The USAID-funded project supports families like Erna’s to recover from disaster and rebuild fulfilling lives. Erna smiles contentedly, “We are doing well now. Not just well, we are doing good.”

Photo by Arianne Gijsenbergh for Action Against Hunger | Surigao City, December 2022

The livelihood support is part of the ‘Emergency Assistance to Support Local Recovery Capacity of Families and Communities Affected by Typhoon Odette’ project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and jointly implemented by Action Against Hunger, CARE Philippines, and ACCORD Incorporated.


Written by Arianne Gijsenbergh Read more

Stories from the Field: Jomel Flores

GENERAL LUNA, SIARGAO — Jomel Flores, 31 years old, a member of the LGBT community, and her family were among the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who were severely impacted by Typhoon Odette’s fury in the islands of Siargao last December 2021. According to her, it was the most horrifying and distressing experience she’s ever had so far in her life.

Rai made its landfall on December 16, 2021 bringing torrential rains, violent winds, floods and storm surges. Jomel and her family took refuge at Anajawan Elementary School in the Municipality of General Luna. They had been warned that the typhoon would be powerful, but when it came, it was significantly more powerful than the locals had anticipated. They were astonished, scared, and afraid when the wind began to blow erratically, pelting them with heavy showers. During that time, children and adults were screaming and crying and all she could do at that second was to pray harder that it will come to pass.

Their experience in the evacuation facility was really difficult, she says. With COVID-19 still a threat, it worried her that there was no social distancing, and they could only use one comfort room.

After spending three days at the evacuation center, they returned home only to find out that their house had been partially destroyed, with some of their roof gone, causing their personal belongings to become damp and damaged. This rendered Jomel speechless and all she could think at that moment was to cry. Despite the fact that it was the saddest and most agonizing event she had ever had, she was still thankful that all of her family members were safe and alive. “That was the most important thing, material stuffs may be replaced, but life will never be replaced,” she says.

It’s been months since Typhoon Odette, but Jomel still sheds tears every time she remember the horrific experience they went through. Despite being one of the most frightening experiences they’ve had, Jomel is thankful that all of their family members are alive and safe. “That’s the most important thing. Material stuff come and go, but one’s life can never be replaced,” she says

Her hope for the future is to become financially stable and to open a large ihaw-ihaw (barbecue) store to support her family. She also wants to make a modest contribution to her community by offering inexpensive healthy meals. She aspires to be the change she wishes to see in the world.

The Flores family is among the thousands of affected families in Surigao del Norte who were given life-saving water, sanitation, & hygiene support immediately after Typhoon Odette made landfall on December 16.


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

STORIES FROM THE FIELD: Breaking bias in times of emergencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Arjay Gaylon for Action Against Hunger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Stories from the Field: Jun Gemparo

SURIGAO DEL NORTE — Reynaldo Gemparo, Jr. or ‘Jun’ as he’s known by everyone, dropped out of school after finishing the third grade at 13 years old. Since then, he’s been helping his father earn extra income for both of them. Jun is the youngest son of his namesake, 69-year-old Reynaldo Gemparo, Sr. Together, they live in Barangay Magsaysay of the Siargao Islands. Jun helps his father in their day-to-day chores especially if it involves lifting heavy items.

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When our team first met him, he had just refilled a water container from the newly installed water bladders in their barangay. Siargao was severely affected by Super Typhoon Odette (internationally named Rai) after making landfall in the Philippines last December 16, 2021.

Before the landfall, the Gemparos had evacuated to their neighbor’s house but the strong winds nearly wiped out that home too. Eight of them were packed in the comfort room as the storm wrecked the roof and all parts of the house. In the middle of that chaos, Jun said he saw fear in the eyes of those around him, including his father. They felt helpless as the wind raged above their heads. After that ordeal, the father and son soon realized that their home and livelihood had succumbed to the typhoon. Despite the devastation, Jun is thankful that they survived unscathed, and the fear quickly subsided.

The harsh typhoon had not only damaged several water pipes but also polluted their deep-well water source. After the storm, access to potable water became a problem. The water from the community’s deep well started tasting bad. It wasn’t until our water, sanitation, & hygiene (WASH) engineers tested the source and eventually confirmed that the water was indeed contaminated and unsafe for consumption.

To get clean water for drinking and cooking, the residents of Barangay Magsaysay use either boiled rainwater or opt to buy filtered water sold at 50 pesos per gallon. However, with summer around the corner, they know they would have to resort to buying water instead—an additional expense to their daily necessities. When two new water bladders were installed in their community, the Gemparo’s and the rest of the residents now had less to worry about.

Through the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Central Emergency Fund (UN CERF), potable water was easily made available through the Super Typhoon Odette Emergency WASH Response implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines in Caraga. After refilling the water container, Jun made his way back to their relative’s house where he and Reynaldo Sr. are now temporarily residing while they gradually work their way back to their normal life.

To help support their small family, Jun participates in crab fishing which then became their main source of income. Prior to Typhoon Odette, Jun would usually earn 200 pesos a day from catching crabs. On good days, he sometimes earned up to 1,000 pesos from tourists. After losing their boat to the typhoon, the father and son are left with no source of income. Nowadays, they rely on donations, financial support from relatives, and their remaining savings.

At his age, Jun already knows how to step up and be the head of the household. When asked about his dreams, his eyes lit up as he quietly replied, “makabalik sa eskwela” (to go back to school). He went on to add that he wants to learn another skill so he can have a good job in the future.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Stories from the Field: Hacel Mae Escobido

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Stories from the Field: Lenjie Concha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Action Against Hunger staff interviews Lenjie

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

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

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


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

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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