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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.


#TheHumanRace

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 – Louie Bullanday

In celebration of World Humanitarian Day 2021, meet Louie Bullanday, MOVE UP 4 Mindanao’s DRR Supervisor, 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?

As DRR Supervisor, my role is to provide technical assistance to LGU and pilot communities to improve their resilience mechanisms.  These include advocating for Alternative Temporary Shelter systems that promote protection and dignity to displaced people caused by disasters, formulate clear social protection plans and promote resilient livelihood strategies

Photo courtesy of Louie Bullanday

 

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

I have been working as a humanitarian worker for 12 years.

 

What motivates you to become a humanitarian worker?

The feeling of fulfillment despite challenges is what motivates me. Many are called, but only a few are chosen to do this kind of work. I was chosen to become an instrument to deliver assistance to the survivors of any calamities, and ensuring that the dignities of these people are being upheld.   

 

Why are you making this sacrifice?

Being able to relieve the suffering of people from a disaster gives me fulfillment. I love this kind of work because you see people happy and witnessing their sincere gratitude.

Photo courtesy of Louie Bullanday

What have been the challenges to your work?

Working in communities that do not treat preparedness and resiliency as one of their priorities. They are taking it for granted. 

 

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

The welfare of those families that are dependent on assistance or support from their government, especially the most vulnerable sectors like children, elderly, and PWD.

My family, especially my children, motivates me to do my best at work.  I want to be a good example to them.

 

What are you most proud of?

When I led my team to deliver assistance to affected communities during our previous emergency response. The sincere expressions of gratitude and smiles from the people energized the team to continue to do good.

Photo courtesy of Louie Bullanday

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

The changes in weather pattern which greatly affects farmers. Farmers can no longer depend on rain coming during the rainy season.

 

How do you help in combating climate change?

My contribution to the fight against climate change is by promoting proper waste disposal, planting more trees, and helping in information campaigns. I strive to be a good example.

Photo courtesy of Louie Bullanday

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

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

World Humanitarian Day 2021 – Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat

In celebration of World Humanitarian Day 2021, meet Sitti Mhuriza Gampal-Mamasalagat, one of our Real Life Heroes: 

 

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

I am a team leader and a mentor. I may be the “Captain of the Ship,” but I value my “Mates” most. I am trained to train future “Captains” and set to be a good example.

Photo courtesy of Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat (Disclaimer: This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic)

 

How long have you been working as a humanitarian worker?

Formally started my humanitarian career in February 2014 with Action Against Hunger.

Photo courtesy of Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat (Disclaimer: This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic)

What motivates you to become a humanitarian worker?

It is already in me way before I became part of any humanitarian organization. I never knew that life prepared me to be the person who I am now. [And] it all made sense when I became a Professional Registered Nurse and it led me to a whole different level of care when I became a humanitarian worker; both have a common goal and definition, that is to “Save Lives” and inspire others to do the same.

 

Photo courtesy of Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat

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

I definitely believe that my existence serves a purpose and only few are chosen to have this opportunity – to make a difference and be an inspiration to the affected communities. The challenges, I face them with courage and perseverance.  All my experiences in the past enabled me to see and realize that having a positive perspective can help me think of new ways to assist individuals in need.

 

Photo courtesy of Sitti Mhuriza Mamasalagat

What are you most proud of?

I am nothing without the support of others who believed in me. I am nothing if not because of the helping hands of the people surrounding me. That is why I am proud of my family, friends, and colleagues who stood by me. Wearing different and same hats, working in all sorts of shaped tables, writing on the same notes while using various pens, I had one goal: make people’s lives better, comfortable, and just.

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

In celebration of #WorldHumanitarianDay, meet one of our #RealLifeHeroes: Maricel Vina Menez

Meet Maricel Vina Menez. As a Project Officer, she takes charge of our ProACT project in the Province of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Compostela Valley.  In celebration of #WorldHumanitarianDay, we honor Vina as a humanitarian worker and one of the many #RealLifeHeroes by sharing her story.


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