Zamboanga: Rebuilding Peace and Hope
Three years after the siege: "Hard days don't last, resilient people do"
For couple Guiamal and Julma Jawhali, recovery from a major disaster is possible through diligence. The couple lost their house and livelihood from the siege in September 2013. But that didn't stop them from getting back their feet. To recover, they rolled up their sleeves and started working together for the future of their growing family.
"You just have to move forward , even if you fail many times. Three years after the siege, we have proven that hard days don't last, resilient people do," says the 42-year-old mother who is due to give birth to her eight child. "Dealing with the challenges after the siege, we are now better prepared for anything that might happen, but I pray that won't happen again," adds Guiamal, 43.
Back to fish vending in early 2016, the Jawhalis' have put up PhP 8,000 as start-up capital in rebuilding their old livelihood—purchasing the needed tools for the trade and retailing various seafood harvest while the remaining PhP 100 was placed for the family’s protection through micro-insurance. “On a daily basis, when the catch is good, we earn around Php 500. From our earnings, about a hundred is put directly to our savings in preparation for the future," explains Julma. "There's no harm in trying again. This is what we know best, now we're bouncing back. We now have cash for life essentials—our children attending school and the family now enjoys healthy and nutritious food”, Guiamal shares.
Action Against Hunger Philippines and partners continue to provide a range of essential support to complement government’s efforts for the remaining displaced people living in transitory sites. In 2016, the organization has empowered 545 families or 2,725 people in building food security and resilient livelihoods through recovery assistance.
Action Against Hunger's food security and livelihoods projects for vulnerable families, like the Jawhalis’, undertaken with the support of European Union Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), foster entrepreneurial spirits and teach sound financial habits, while connecting the displaced families to social protection opportunities. At the height of the emergency crisis in Zamboanga, we supported the displaced families through access to safe water, improved nutrition and health, hygiene and sanitation practices with financial assistance of United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF).
In 2015, Action Against Hunger Philippines launched a customized cash transfer program in Zamboanga benefiting 7,328 people. In 2016, the cash-based intervention provided support to over 2,725 people staying at different transitory sites, among them are households with pregnant and lactating mother, single-headed households, households with malnourished children, or with disabled and senior citizens and those with chronic illnesses. The organization has also been conscious on the program's impacts on men and women by assessing the effect of cash transfer intervention on gender power relations. Women were encouraged to lead income generating activities to meet their basic needs.
In September 2013, fighting between a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) affected and forcibly displaced an estimated 118,800 people in Zamboanga City. The conflict destroyed homes, infrastructures, water systems, the facilities needed for safe drinking and sanitation, and thousands lost their livelihoods. Three years after the siege, over 14,000 IDPs in Zamboanga are still staying in temporary shelters.
Action Against Hunger has since advocated durable solutions to address the plight of internally displaced people from evacuation centers until their transfer to permanent housing, emphasizing the need to focus on the wellbeing of the most vulnerable. "The children under five, pregnant and lactating women, persons with disabilities, the elderly, single female-headed households, persons with chronic illnesses, and those without permanent source of food and income are the most vulnerable in this situation and their specific needs can be overlooked," Javad Amoozegar, Action Against Hunger Country Director for Philippines reiterates. In its range of support to the IDPs in Zamboanga, Action Against Hunger worked closely with Integrated Resource Development for Tri-People (IRDT), the city government of Zamboanga, the Philippines Health Insurance (PhilHealth), JABU-JABU, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development for the delivery of various educational social and economic services designed for displaced families.
Exhibit “Zamboanga: Rebuilding Peace and Hope”
Who: Javad Amoozegar, Action Against Hunger Philippines Country Director Representatives from the United Nations and from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, international organizations, the private sector, non-government organizations, civil society, internally displaced persons (IDPs)
What: Action Against Hunger Philippines presents “Zamboanga: Rebuilding Peace and Hope”, an exhibition on resilience of people living amid challenges in transitory sites.
Why: In celebration of the International Day of Peace on September 21, Action Against Hunger is organizing a three-day exhibition entitled “Zamboanga: Rebuilding Peace and Hope” featuring our humanitarian assistance to vulnerable displaced persons staying in temporary shelters three years after the siege. The activity speaks of the courage and resilience of people in developing sustainable livelihoods that lead to a food secure future. There will be onsite weaving of IDP, display of indigenous crafts for sale, and photos and videos of our humanitarian work.
When: Exhibition launching at 8:30 AM on September 21, 2016, and will be open until 23 September 2016
Where: Galleria Lobby, near Tower 1 exit, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Attention media/broadcasters: Recent photos, video stories and supplemental footage from Zamboanga available.
For further information and request to interview our spokespersons, please contact:
Rosa May Maitem, Action Against Hunger Communications | Mobile: +63 929 319 4607, firstname.lastname@example.org