Philippines: Humanitarian and community development works – Year 2018 Milestones in the Visayas

Independence, a significant step of People’s Organizations (POs) towards empowerment:

In the past 3 years, humanitarian and community development works of MIHANDs in the island of Leyte resulted concrete evidence of community empowerment. Begins in a simple relief response after the super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and ended with operational sectoral associations of women, farmers and fisherfolks in the communities of Bangkal, Villaba, Leyte, Lat-osan, Palompon, Leyte and Don Potenciano Larrazabal & Tambulilid in Ormoc City. The 9 created people’s organizations namely the Bangkal Women’s Association (BaWA), Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Bangkal Association (NMBA), Bangkal Fisherfolks Association (BFA), Lat-osan Farmer’s Organization (LFO), Lat-osan Fisherfolks Association (LFA), Uswag Kababaehan Association (UKA) Bangon Mag-uuma Association (BaMAS), Nagkahiusang Kababayen-an Tuboran sa Kalamboan Association (NATUKA) and Tambulilid Women’s Organization (TaWO).

Capability enhancement to aforesaid associations consistently provided by personnel of MIHANDs to mentor the partner associations in the actual management of provided livelihood projects which helps them generates additional incomes such as rice trading, microfinance for livelihood support, fish vending, fish aggregating devices, fishing gears, farm animals & basic equipment, farm production support. The provided projects developed the eagerness of the associations and Local Government Units (LGUs) for partnership resulted to access of additional support of some POs from government agencies because of a good track record of the facilitated projects of MIHANDs coming from generous international partners, particularly on livelihood components like Entraide Et Fraternite (EF), Secours Populaire Francis (SPF) and Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF).

On November 2018, MIHANDs personnel conducted the regular monitoring to the associations in Leyte and during this visit it’s a timing that the Lat-osan Fisherfolks Association (LFA) made their second cropping of the their Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) provided by the SPF.

Of about 40 kilos of assorted kinds of high valued fishes generated from the FAD and the members of LFA happy because this is the second times that they harvested abundant harvest and great help as additional income.

The created Project Implementing Team (PIT) of the association personally delivered the harvest in their colleagues in the municipal market. Because the quality and types of harvest are high valued they generated good income/price.

Perpetual commitment of MIHANDs to abovementioned associations gradually transformed into more specific like monitoring every month beginning of year 2018. In fact, in April 2018, MIHANDs Visayas Satellite Office transferred to Bacolod City because of the opening of the same types of interventions which needs more times of personnel in organizing the women’s sector in Brgy. Banago, Bacolod City and Construction of School Building, water system and children’s playing equipment in Brgy. Catmon, Altavas, Aklan.

MIHANDs in Bacolod City and Altavas, Aklan, Visayas, Philippines:

1. Project at Bacolod City, Negros Occidental:

Bacolod City is one of the highly populated City in the Philippines, specifically located in the western island of Negros, Visayas, Philippines. It was known as the “MASKARA” capital of the Philippines where Maskara Festival celebrated every month of October.

In partnership with WEGA and Philippines Luxemburg Action for Development (LPAD), MIHANDs facilitated the organizing of women at Brgy. Banago, Bacolod City. The main component of this intervention was empowering women with livelihood support thru Microfinance project operated and manage by the association. There were 50 individual women members of the newly created Purok Langis Banago Women Empowerment Vendors Association (PLaBWEVA). All members engaged in different income generating activities in the neighborhood as primary and secondary source of living of their families.

Organization Management and Leadership Skills Training conducted to capacitate the association on how to develop unity among women in a common cause. It helps them to understand the importance of collaboration to avoid competition considering that they were belongs to one neighborhood. It was facilitated by Kaagapay, Incorporated a women’s NGO based in Cotabato city and member of MIHANDs.

A formal induction of officers of PLaBWEVA happens with the presence of LPAD President as the inducting officers. The activity attended and witnessed by the Local Government Officials (LGUs) of Brgy. Banago, Bacolod City which committed to fully support the association because this is the first association created within their barangay that assisted by non-government partners.

The association had also made a courtesy meeting with Vice Mayor Edcyl Familiaran of Bacolod City. The purpose was to formally introduce the association in the city level LGU hoping for possible support in the future. The Vice Mayor committed to provide support and open the association for visit in his office anytime for any concerns and whatever he (vice mayor) can do to support the association.

On June 2018, training on finance management conducted by TRIPOD – founding member of MIHANDs based in Cotabato City. The activity facilitated by Yennah Torres (MIHANDs Chairperson) and Edna Delangalen (TRIPOD Bookkeeper). Although this is the first time of the members to attend the type of training, the activity successfully done and significant learning acquired by the participants.

Income generating activities engaged by PLaBWEVA members includes the following:

1. Variety Stores

2. Hog Raising

3. Charcoal Vending

4. Food Vending

There were other types of IGPs of members that regularly provided additional incomes of members and additional support thru microfinance project manage by PLaBWEVA. WEGA and LPAD provided the seed capital of the association for their microfinance project and the members thru policies created and agreed by members, individually members avails the support from their association. Currently, the roles of MIHANDs was very important particulalry in teaching and guiding them how to operates and sustain the project.

Project in Brgy. Catmon, Atavas, Aklan:

Brgy. Catmon, Altavas, Aklan is one of the 5th class municipalities in the island of Panay. Of about 3 hours travel from Iloilo City, Philippines, gateway towards the famous Boracay Island. MIHANDs project was located in Brgy, Catmon specifically in the Catmon Integrated School and component includes the construction of one classroom school building, level 2 water system for the schools and installation of children’s outdoor playing equipment. This project was also in partnership and support from WEGA-LPAD which completed within 6 months period from February to August 2018.

School building was intended for the laboratory of senior high school and the construction directly managed by MIHANDs. According to school administration and Department of Education (DepEd), this is the first time that their school acquired standard quality school building project and which working forces coming from the community participated by direct stakeholders. Unlike with their previous buildings that implementation thru contractors from the donors, it resulted sub-standard quality and school administration had no participation in the decision making.

MIHANDs in-house project engineer and personnel directly supervise the entire construction to ensure good quality of works and motivating stakeholders to take part in the implementation and not plainly receiver of the project but a legitimate owner.

The actual construction of the school building, installation of water system and children’s outdoor playing equipment started in May 2018 and finished on August 2018. Turn-over of the project done on September 21, 2018 with the presence of all stakeholders and MIHANDs personalities.

MIHANDs Project Coordinator Arlieto “Boboy” Berlan and Catmon Integrated School Principal Emilyn Tungala made an actual monitoring of the construction.

Construction in progress and working forces coming from skilled workers in the community recommended by the school administration, Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) of Brgy. Catmon, Altavas, Aklan.

On September 21, 2018 turn-over ceremony was conducted attended and witness by all stakeholders of the school. Representing the donors (WEGA-LPAD) and MIHANDs, Goldy Luck Omelio (MIHANDs BOT Treasurer) and Samuel Delima (MIHANDs Staff) were present. Other significant stakeholders attended including the School administration, DepED, BLGU, PTA, Municipal Council Members of Altavas and parents.

Children’s Outdoor Playing Equipment installed

Level 2 water system installed for the purpose of school usage since the community’s don’t have enough supplies of water extended to school and children forced to fetch water in far distance outside the school and very risky for them.

School Principal Emilyn Tungala and School Admin Personnel Joven Flores during actual supervision of the installation of water system.

Engr. Rey Datan and Project Coordinator Arlieto “boboy” Berlan during actual inspection of the newly installed water system.

The level 2 water system provided easy access for school usage. The problem of access to safe and regular supply of water of the Catmon Integrated School was solved thru the project.

MIHANDs expressed sincere gratitude to partners local and international for such achievements in year 2018. The trust and continuous supports make MIHANDs competencies known in different fields beyond humanitarian interventions but also to community development works. It’s our pleasure to share our expertise but only done thru support of our generous funding donors.