Strengthening the capacities of children-led organization to advocate and initiate collaborative actions on the right to food and health in times of pandemic and disasters through innovative community gardens
Salinlahi Alliance For Children's Concern (SALINLAHI)
Marikina, Metro Manila
With global warming and environmental degradation coupled with the health and economic crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation of children in the face of disasters will likely worsen if no appropriate measures are put in place. In Marikina, where the project will be implemented, thousands of families have lost their livelihood due to Typhoon Ulysses and massive flooding last year. More than 40,000 houses have submerged in floodwaters, and the damage brought by the typhoon has reached 30 billion pesos. Since the storm happened during the pandemic, the situation has increased hunger, malnutrition, and infectious diseases among children of low-income families. Children also experience extreme fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about their future.
Given this background, the proposed action intends to enhance the capacities of child-led organizations to advocate and initiate collaborative actions on rights to food and health in times of disasters through innovative community gardens that will both resolve critical problems arising from the pandemic and disasters, including food insecurity and poor mental health status among children in Barangay Malanday, Marikina City. The innovative community garden, which a child-led organization will set up in Sitio Libis, Barangay Malanday, Marikina City, will directly benefit children and community members in the process of their recovery from disasters and pandemics. It provides them with an alternative source of food, additional physical activities, more vital community bonds, and a green space that positively contributes to their mental well-being.
At the same time, the proposed action aims to address the lack of opportunities for children to participate in the development, scaling up, and replication of community-led responses to disasters. The innovators believe that children should be given a platform to express their unique ideas and participate in implementing projects and programs relating to the right to food and health during disasters and pandemics.
Specifically, the action intends to advocate for substantial involvement and inclusion of children in the DRR programs of the community by having child and youth representative/s in the DRRM offices at the Barangay and city level. Through the strong participation of children combined with collaborative and innovative efforts between their organizations and other local actors such as the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) and Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management (BDRRM), a child-centered disaster risk reduction program shall also be developed.
Awareness-raising and capacity-building activities on children’s rights, child-centered DRR program, food security, urban vegetable gardening, and peer-to-peer counseling will be facilitated for children, community members, and officers of BCPC and BDRRM.
Giving children a vital role in mitigating, preparing for, and responding to disasters and their impact on the affected populations, particularly in claiming children’s rights to food and health, provides them with the opportunity to prove that they can do something for the benefit of their respective communities. More importantly, the proposed action will contribute to the overall efforts to strengthen programs at the community level concerning promoting the rights of children and scaling and innovating measures relating to pandemics and disasters.