“I am a homemaker and also a warrior. I love, I challenge, I win”
This case study, produced on International Women's Day 2017, focuses on Millet Morante from Philippines. She is a member of the Kaisa Ka organisation (volunteers who seeks to advance the rights of Filipino women) and of the People-Based Humanitarian Action Consortium (PBHAC).
The Philippines is ranked third in the world for its propensity to disasters. Due to climate change and rapid urban growth, hazards are steadily increasing. Management of such regular and extreme disasters needs a lot expertise and engagement with community members.
Start Network coordinates 13 projects under the UK aid funded Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP), one of them being the Financial Enablers which is based in Philippines. The project seeks to promote locally driven, collaborative capacity strengthening. It aims to implement a practical and sustainable approach to “shifting power” towards local and national groups in emergency preparedness and response.
One part of the Financial Enablers project engages with local civil society consortia to increase capacity. Among these is the PBHAC consortium, composed of three local organisations - Concern Inc, Assert and Kaisa Ka – which agreed to significantly improve the speed and delivery of humanitarian assistance communities affected by disasters.
What has this project achieved?
The project was recently put to the test when a recent fire destroyed the homes of 15,000 people in the Parola, Tondo and Catmon neighbourhoods of Manila – including more than 2,000 Kaisa Ka members. Immediately, PBHAC was able to draw on women that were organised by Kaisa Ka to mobilise support among local networks.
Kaisa Ka sent urgent appeal letters to its own networks within the country and abroad. To date, almost P300,000 (£10,000) has been raised in cash and in kind, and is being used to support the community response at the community level. Kaisa Ka is handling the relief operations, accessing local resources, consulting with the local government and undertaking other work for a speedy delivery of services.
More generally, being a women's organisation, Kaisa Ka has integrated its gender lens into the framework of the PBHAC consortium – and the results of that can now be seen in emergency training and response. It developed a training module, Gender in Emergencies, to be delivered alongside others in the project areas. Other consortium members shared their own competencies with Kaisa Ka. Assert has expertise working with children and young people suffering psycho-social stress; Concern Inc shared its expertise in disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness and response.
Millet Morante said: “The first time I attended a meeting of the People-Based Humanitarian Action Consortium (PBHAC), I was star struck by the big names and persons behind the project. I was asking myself, what I was doing there? Shouldn’t somebody else from my organisation sit with these Emergency Preparedness and Response experts?
“Now, after many meetings with funders, with the consortia and within our very own PBHAC, my questions have been answered.
“The project is less about ‘the experts’ and more about engaging ordinary frontline responders, half of whom are women, in more enhanced capacities. The project is about me and my organisation, Kaisa Ka, having the knowledge, skills and structures to mobilise when emergencies arise.”
She added: “I am a homemaker and also a warrior. I love, I challenge, I win.”