Partnerships for building resilience in the Philippines
Assistance provided to 450 families in waterways communities
Navotas City, Philippines – UN Women Philippines continued its efforts in helping communities affected by Typhoon Ulysses (Typhoon Vamco), as part of its ongoing efforts in humanitarian aid initiated in November.
Around 1,500 families in Waterways Communities located in Barangay Tanza Dos in Navotas City continue to deal with the impacts of both the COVID-19 pandemic and Typhoon Ulysses. A major devastation brought by the typhoon was the destruction of the community’s wooden pathways, making it very unsafe to traverse in and out of the community to the main road, especially for the 450 families who sought refuge in the evacuation centers during the disaster. The same families had to traverse these dangerous pathways, putting them at higher risks every day.
Through the initiative, Agapay Nanay, UN Women along with its partner organizations and donors from the private sector helped in securing materials to rebuild these pathways and in distributing relief packages last December 22, a few days before the celebration of the Christmas Season in the Philippines. Investing in rebuilding these pathways is just one example of how UN Women’s humanitarian efforts are targeted at supporting community recovery to provide long-term benefits.
Since Typhoon Ulysses, UN Women has provided humanitarian assistance to the worst-hit communities through the help of individual donors mobilized by journalist Karen Davila.
“Empowering a mother is saving her children, her family, and her home. Empowering a woman is empowering a community, the future of our country. I love Agapay Nanay because it responded to the times. The typhoon hit many poor families the hardest. The last two outreaches we did show we care and hopefully in the future we can guide, mentor, and be there with them in their journey to a more empowered life,” Davila stated.
Rissa Mananquil Trillo, an entrepreneur who also took part in Agapay Nanay in Navotas added, “2020 has been a challenging year and when crisis and calamities strike, women and girls are often the hardest hit and the most vulnerable. The recent typhoons brought significant damage to the lives of many Filipinos and women’s health needs are often left behind. It’s an important time for women to be there for other women. We should not disregard that women and girls need access to safe water, sanitary napkins, and hygiene kits. These are basic necessities that empower and allow women to manage their health and help regain not just their confidence but their dignity.”
Agapay Nanay has been supported by businesses including SM Supermalls and Unilever Philippines as well as generous individual donors. According to Steven Tan, President of SM Supermalls, “One of SM’s commitments is caring for women and children. As such, we support UN Women in their outreach programs for the disadvantaged women and their families. SM Cares for women!”
In addition to local donors, Ms. Isabelle Daza, now based in Hong Kong, mobilized donations for clothes and other food items from migrant workers, friends and fellow Filipinos there. They shipped 10 boxes full of these items packed and sorted with the help of migrant domestic workers in HK.
These donors helped in providing the beneficiaries with immediate essential needs such as food packages, dignity and settlement kits, and clothing. For the second distribution of Agapay Nanay in Navotas, livelihood items such as fishnets and PhP 20,000.00 cash aid were also provided to fisherfolks of the community to help them rebuild their lives. In the spirit of Christmas, toys were also provided to the children of Waterways Community.
Solidarity of the Oppressed People (SOFP), formerly known as DAMPA, is one of the partners of UN Women in its humanitarian program and led in organizing the initiative. Volunteers from SOFP and Barangay Tanza Dos ensured that the items were packed and distributed well. According to their president, Patricia Herrera,
“We work and implement programs like these to help address the basic needs of Filipino communities in which you are all part of. Our work is to also bridge communities to partners that can help them be more empowered.”
Agapay Nanay is an initiative of UN Women Philippines, jointly led by WeEmpowerAsia, a European Union-funded programme that helps and empower women in the private sector and businesses, and Women and Girls at the Center of COVID-19 Prevention, a project funded by the Government of Japan that aims to reduce the disproportionate gender-based risks and negative impact of COVID-19 on women.