June 15-17, 2016 – Partners composed of the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center Foundation, Inc. (CDRC), Southern Tagalog People’s Response Center (STPRC), Center for People’s Resources and Services (CPRS), Panay Center for Disaster Response (PCDR) and action medeor gather at the CDRC Conference Room for a three-day Interim Workshop which aims to share and monitor each regional center’s (RC) project direction and implementation, discuss and resolve hurdles in implementation and to receive input in Community Engagement which will help in each partner’s program task and responsibilities.
On Day 1, RC representatives presented activities implemented, challenges faced and overcome and adjustments in schedules done. To facilitate sharing of best practices among regional partners, a cross-visit to Negros’ model community with strong PO and health committees was planned for the third quarter.
The RCs also gave their feedback on the monitoring and evaluation tools developed from the tools presented during the Project Management Training (PMT) and Project Kick-off in March 2016. The attendees also agreed on the monitoring and evaluation plan where the schedule and frequency of data gathering and the people in charge of collating the data were identified.
Before the day’s session ended, Ms. Katharina Wilkin of action medeor underlined the organization’s key messages which included the importance of training disaster risk reduction (DRR) “based on skills rather than on theory.”
“Otherwise, lifesaving behaviours and actions will not be applied in case of emergency,“ she stressed.
Ms. Wilkin also underscored involving children in DRR initiatives and their involvement needs to start in their own homes and schools.
Another key message which Ms. Wilkin emphasized was the significance of focusing on the people’s rights and the government’s responsibilities as opposed to relying on international/non-government organizations (INGOs/NGOs). She said that advocacy of their land and health rights, for example, is more effective and more sustainable than NGO-based activities. She assured the participants of action medeor’s support for advocacies and campaigns which “can result in major changes in the long run.”
For Days 2 and 3, Training Officer Ms. Teresa Quinawayan and Advocacy Officer Ms. Kei Bughaw gave inputs on Community Engagement.
Ms. Quinawayan highlighted the importance of sending relevant and practical messages to communities, and encouraging feedbacking “to better understand and respond to [their] needs.” Communications which capture the imagination of target audiences are effective and will move them to act positively on the messages they receive. Workshop results also highlighted the need for sustained information on prevention and preparedness which was lacking during the Yolanda experience in 2013.
Ms. Bughaw’s workshop stressed on the use of the internet and social media for advocacies and campaigns. She underscored the limitless potential of the internet and how it can be used” to organize and mobilize offline forces.” Recognizing the practical reality in the communities, participants made general campaign designs using both online and offline components. The attendees were entertained by PCDR Executive Director Armie Almero’s sample of funny Hiligaynon binalaybay (poetry) which she identified as one of the traditional components they will use in their campaign for WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene).
Ms. Bughaw also discussed why documentation of best practices should be done by community development workers. Reasons include increased chances of success when using programs or methods proven effective, partner motivation and support when presented with feasible programs and goals, and reputation and credibility boost for organizations.
Ms. Quinawayan ended the workshop with the key message that humanitarian accountability is “seeing to it that communities and people affected by crisis are not harmed by what we do.”
“By providing information to the communities, consulting and promoting their participation, and setting up a feedback and complaints system, we give back power to them,” she emphasized.
She accentuated that by concluding with “respecting the people’s needs, concerns, capacities and disposition and by answering for our actions and decisions, we do the right thing in the right way.”
CDRC, STPRC, CPRS and PCDR are action medeor’s local partners in the implementation of the project Improving Health Care and Disaster Response Capacities in Community-Level in 11 Typhoon-Affected Communities in Negros Occidental, Mindoro Occidental, and Iloilo, Philippines. action medeor and back donor Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH) support this project.