A force to face nature’s fury

The Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world, next to Vanuatu and Tonga, according to the 2011 World Risk Index.

In a report, it said that the Philippines is at risk to a wide range of climate change impacts, including changing rainfall patterns, temperatures, and increased extreme weather events.

With or without global reports like this though, the country has already been feeling the impact of climate change for many years. Last year and this year alone, the Philippines experienced several extreme climate-related disasters. According to the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the typhoons Pedring and Quiel which flooded 35 provinces in Luzon, claimed 100 lives and damaged US$100 million worth of agriculture and livelihood; typhoon Sendong which buried villages in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, killing 1,200 people and damaging US$34 million in livelihood, agriculture, and infrastructure; the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Negros Oriental in February, with a death toll of 51 and US$9-million damage to infrastructure; and most recently, the southwest monsoon in July which flooded several areas in Luzon and Metro Manila, killed 118 people and destroyed US$75 million worth of infrastructure and agriculture.

Realizing that nothing can no longer be done to control nature's fury, three international non-government organizations has decided to partner and come up with a program to empower and increase the resilience of children and communities, and help them adapt to climate change.

MULTI-STAKEHOLDER APPROACH

The consortium, composed of Plan International, Save the Children, and the Institute of Sustainable Futures of the University of Technology in Sydney will undertake the Child-Centered Community-based Adaptation (CC-CBA) Project over a 30-month period in the provinces of Aurora, northern and eastern Samar, and southern Leyte, which are considered highly vulnerable to typhoons, storm surges, and flooding.

Carin van der Hor, country director of Plan International in the Philippines, said that the project will benefit more than 150,000 people in 40 barangays in the four provinces. Of this number, about 15,000 children in elementary and high school as well as out-of-school youth will be tapped to participate in the project.

"As the Philippines is extremely vulnerable to these kinds of disasters, it is important that we ensure the safety of children and the youth. Therefore, we hope that these people who will directly and indirectly benefit from the project will keep the ball rolling, so to speak, and influence other provinces to adopt similar programs," says Van de Hor whose organization has long been involved in educating communities and children in Samar and Leyte on disaster risk management.

According to Save the Children, over 175 children around the world will most likely be affected by climate-related disasters by 2015.

THE POWER OF THE YOUTH

While the project will rely on the support of government and local leaders, school heads, teachers and partners like the Department of Education, the consortium will also use the power of the children in coming up with their own ideas, strategies, and activities for climate-change adaptation in their communities, as well as in influencing their parents, families, and community leaders to enact policies and laws concerning it.

"Children are the best agents of change. In the identified provinces, these children are mostly the victims of these disasters so they are really passionate in voicing out their concerns, needs and problems to their community and local leaders. They talk to their local councils, produce public service announcements and even make a video relating to climate change," relates Rachel Nuestro, head of the consortium.

Plan International Communications officer Mardy Halcon recalled how one group of active high school students in southern Leyte who underwent training on disaster risk management, have worked to transfer their school to a safer place.

"After an earthquake hit their province, the students who come from a school near a landslide-prone area, lobbied to have it transferred, against their parents' and elders' wishes. Their parents didn't want the school to leave its original venue due to its rich tradition and memories. But with the help of Plan International, they were able to hold meetings with their local leaders who eventually heeded their call. So through the children's initiative, the school was finally transferred to a safer place," shares Halcon.

AusAID senior program officer Anne Orquiza echoes this initiative, saying that they see strong merits in putting the children and the youth at the center of community actions to prepare for disasters, adapt to climate change, and build resilience. AUSAID is a major supporter of the project. It will provide small grants initiative worth P100,000 each to groups for the implementation of local CC-CBA action plans.

Unlike Plan International's Disaster Risk Reduction activities, Nuestro says the project now aims to equip children, youth, communities and local governments with the right knowledge in adapting to disasters.

"It's a proactive stance for climate change, not reactive. It's more of what we can do to prevent disasters. For instance, to mitigate storm surges, we must plant more mangroves, and avoid building houses along the shore," says Nuestro.

Activities of the project include the enhancement of existing educational and awareness materials for climate change for children; creation of a trainer's program on use of Child-Centered Climate Change Risk Assessment Methodology; training of teachers on the use of these materials; compilation, packaging and dissemination of resources; and evaluation of lessons and documents produced on use of climate change educational resources.

Children and the youth will also be encouraged to come up with climate change activities and risk assessments in their communities, as well as the creation and implementation of local CC-CBA action plans. Finally, the consortium hopes child-centered adaption programs and policies will be institutionalized at the local level.

Moreover, the consortium also aims to strengthen the evidence base of a CC-CBA program to encourage replication and support. The Department of Education, a partner in the project, is expected to continue the program in the schools in other parts of the country.

"The children are the most vulnerable when it comes to disasters. We want to lessen their vulnerability and increase their resilience. Through the project, they will know what to do in emergency situations. Instead of waiting for help, they will be able to help themselves and their families," Nuestro concludes.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • 15 wounded in attack on Philippine mosque
    15 wounded in attack on Philippine mosque

    Fifteen people including 10 police officers were wounded in an attack on a mosque on a remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, officials said on Saturday. Successive blasts targeted a mosque on the island of Jolo -- an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said. "It seems the (first) explosion was set up to draw responders as the target," the provincial police chief Senior …

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. However, there is no word yet if the Philippines will specifically ask Tokyo to join calls for China to stop its massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. …

  • CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike
    CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike

    The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) appears to have released erroneous data on the allowed tuition and other fee increases in Metro Manila for the incoming academic year. On the list of the 51 approved higher education institutions (HEI) allowed to impose hikes, CHED pegged the average increase in tuition at P32.34 per unit and the average increase in other fees at P34.79. However, a Philippine STAR re-computation showed that the actual average approved tuition increases in Metro Manila …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options