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Mainstreaming Peace Education in Caraga

  • CARE Philippines
  • Featured Stories, Gender, Latest News & Stories, Press Release, Uncategorized

Agusan del Sur and Norte, March 2024 — The BRIDGE Project capped off the month of March—National Women’s Month—with workshops to help educators integrate peace education and peace-promoting values in their learning curriculum, conducted in collaboration with Common Reference Educators Workshop (CREW) and the Department of Education.

Held on March 21, 2024, in Agusan del Sur and on March 22, 2024, in Agusan del Norte, the activities gathered a total of 103 primary and secondary school teachers, teaching personnel, and administrators. 

Not just about conflict

A key takeaway is that peace “is not just talking about conflict or the absence of war,” as one female educator and workshop participant describes it. “It also talks about gender, the environment, health, and values. Peace is about accepting our diversities,” she says.  


The role of women educators

The BRIDGE Project believes that women educators and women’s civil society organizations (CSOs), along with youth CSOs and national government agencies like the Department of Education, play important roles in peace education and can lead the process of promoting a culture of peace. This entails enabling the meaningful participation of women and girls in peace education activities in school, which must be designed to empower them.

Gender and peace also need to be contextualized in learning tools, especially those highlighting indigenous communities’ peace-promoting practices.


Advocates of peace

“As duty bearers, we have the responsibility to nurture young people, our students,” says a participant.

Another one echoes this sentiment, saying, “We teachers are advocates of peace. We need to cultivate empathy in our students. [Because] most of the learners are very vulnerable and prone to negative coping mechanisms, we should be there to support [them].”

Addressing educators’ challenges

The workshops were designed to address four specific issues that educators typically face when trying to mainstream peace education:

  1. Messaging: how to discuss the subjects of peace, rights, and citizenship in a comprehensive and comprehensible way
  2. Adaptability: how to introduce these topics into the present curriculum of all levels in a non-ladderized, flexible platform
  3. Acceptability: how to integrate these into a framework or one common reference that various audiences will find helpful and fair
  4. Sustainability: how to sustain peace, rights, and citizenship education

It covered these in three sessions, including one on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and another on peace and diversity.


A holistic approach to peace education 

Apart from being informative and engaging, participants appreciated the breadth of the workshop topics. Says one participant, “At first, I thought we would be talking about the social injustices. But our discussion went beyond that. [We talked about how] health issues, persons with disabilities, cultural diversities, and environmental concerns are part of peace. Peace Education is a holistic approach. This training [can guide us on] the topics we can use in our lessons.”

Investing in women

In succeeding activities, BRIDGE will further highlight how gender is an important component of peace education, and how empowering women is central to promoting a culture of peace.

As the 2024 International Women’s Day theme reiterates, “If we invest in women, we accelerate progress.”


The “Civil Society, Women and Youth Promoting Culture of Peace in Mindanao” (BRIDGE) Project is funded by the European Commission and implemented by ACCORD Incorporated, CARE Philippines, Community Organizers Multiversity, and Oxfam Pilipinas.

Building Back Safer After Super Typhoon Egay

  • CARE Philippines
  • Disaster Response, Featured Stories, Gender, Latest News & Stories, Shelter

In a northern Philippine province, a woman and her community’s story of coming together and rebuilding safer houses

When Super Typhoon Egay (international name: Doksuri) struck the Philippines in July 2023, its rapid intensification took many by surprise. It dumped more than a month’s worth of rain in two days, damaged some 56,000 houses, and affected three million people. 

Miriam Bisares, 31, lost her home and almost all possessions. She lives with her husband and three children in a barangay (village) by a river in Abra, one of the worst-hit provinces. Running to safety that day was not easy. Her two older kids, ages 14 and 12, were ill with chicken pox and had to be carried. The flood submerged the paths to higher ground, so they had to cut a way through a thick tangle of grass and shrubs.

Today, her community remembers it as a difficult time, but alongside memories of the trials are ones of coming together and rebuilding. And despite the challenges, women like Miriam demonstrated capable leadership, playing a crucial part in helping her community learn how to become more resilient by building safer homes, with support from the European Union Humanitarian Aid and the ACCESS Project.

In the 14 years Miriam’s family had lived in Barangay Sao-atan in Bangued, Abra Province, they hadn’t experienced flooding as destructive as Super Typhoon Egay.

Their old shack—made of light materials and located a few meters away from the edge of a river cliff—was swept away completely. 

Recovery was hard. She occasionally finds work in sales as a “push girl” and “promodiser;” her husband is a merchandiser at a food manufacturing company but is not yet a regular employee.

That Barangay Sao-atan lies next to a river is both a blessing and a burden: on the one hand, residents get to plant crops on its fertile banks; on the other, it makes the village flood-prone.

The river also serves as a source of water for household use. During the rainy season, however, the water becomes murky and unusable. During dry spells, the river contracts, and residents have to climb down and up the steep river cliff while balancing one or two buckets.

At around 10 A.M., the water rose quickly. Amidst heavy rain and howling winds, Miriam’s family left their house and sought temporary shelter in this hut, which sits on slightly higher ground, further away from the river. 

By 6 P.M., the water was at their feet again. With a big knife, they slashed a path through the bushes to escape.

Months after the typhoon, damaged plastic “durabox” cabinets, scrubbed clean of mud and left to dry out in the sun, still litter the village.

Miriam’s family lost almost everything. Fortunately, her eldest had the presence of mind to save important documents, such as birth certificates, and even her parents’ high school diplomas.

When the floodwaters receded, cleanup—a collective community endeavor—commenced. Miriam and her family stayed with a relative for one month. Thanks to another relative, who owned an unproductive lot in an elevated part of the village and who let Miriam and other neighbors rebuild their houses on it, those affected by the flood were able to start anew in a safer location.

Through the ACCESS Project, Miriam and other residents severely affected by the typhoon received shelter assistance through repair kits and training sessions on how to build back safer. The project encouraged the community to work together to rebuild each other’s homes.

It also formed a shelter roving team, a group of community members that ensured houses were repaired or rebuilt properly. As part of the team, Miriam became well-versed in Building Back Safer (BBS) principles. She can explain why having strong bracing, interlocking joints, anchored posts, and other BBS techniques are key to building safer homes.

Miriam and her family moved into their new house a month before Christmas. 

Malaki ang pagbabago. Safe at komportable kami dito. Hindi na kami nangangamba na maaabutan ng tubig kung sakaling may bagyo (It’s a huge difference. We’re safe and comfortable here. We don’t worry about the water reaching us in the event of a typhoon).”

– Miriam (Bangued, Abra)

The project also provided water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance by building a water system and holding hygiene promotion activities. There are shaded benches near the water system where women sometimes congregate, working on chores together, or just staying for a chat.

“Sabi ng mga matatanda, himala daw na may tubig na kami dito. Dati na kasing problema yan (The elders say it’s a miracle we now have water here. That was always a problem),” says Miriam. 

These days, Miriam and her husband are focused on taking care of the children. He cooks for them before leaving for work; she walks them to and from school.

Asked what aspirations she has for the family, she says, “Pangarap ko na mapatapos silang tatlo sa pag-aaral para maganda ang kinabukasan nila (I hope we can support the three of them so they can finish school and have a better future.”

ACCESS gave shelter assistance to some 1,650 individuals and repaired 530 houses across the provinces of Abra and Cagayan. The project is funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and implemented by ACCORD Inc., Action Against Hunger Philippines, Humanity and Inclusion Philippines, Community Organizers Multiversity, and CARE Philippines.

The Wave of Women-Managed Enterprises after Typhoon Rai: Shimalyn’s Story

It was lunchtime and Shimalyn Flores, 48, rushed to display the last tray of food she cooked to sell at her carenderia or roadside food stall in San Isidro, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte. Soon, people will eat or buy food for their lunch. Some of them are those who tour the island and find themselves hungry along the highway.

She noted that small businesses like hers have sprouted now that tourism has become vibrant again since the onslaught of Typhoon Rai (Odette) in 2021. When the typhoon hit, most of the small businesses were destroyed. She used to cook hamburgers and viands that she peddled in different areas of the town. The typhoon damaged all her cooking equipment which made it even more difficult to start cooking and selling again.

As the sole breadwinner for her child and elderly parents, she was at a loss as to how to provide for her family. They relied on the relief goods and assistance given by the government and non-government humanitarian organizations to survive daily.

When the relief operations ended, she loaned from a financial service provider and invested in a small pushcart which she filled with rice-based delicacies, shaved ice dessert, burgers, viand, and other street food. She sold these around town in areas where foot traffic is heavy. She had to make sure that all her goods were sold so that she could pay her loan and provide for her family’s needs. Some days are good, and some days are bad for business, hence, she dreaded the times when her income was not enough to pay even the loan’s interest.

When CARE Philippines came and presented the WAVES (Women Adding Value to the Economy in Siargao) project to her community, Shimalyn was one of the participants who were selected to receive livelihood support from the project. Along with other small women entrepreneurs, she was trained by technical experts from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Surigao del Norte on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. She then received the project’s 15,000-peso cash grant for her livelihood recovery after the training.

I became confident again to take the risks of improving my business because of what I learned on business and finance management and because I have the capital to use,” she shared.

She bought cooking equipment and ingredients and rented a space where she would sell her goods. She also included some groceries to diversify her products. She shared that having a rented space made selling easier for her than before when she went from one community to another carrying her goods.

I have increased my income. I am also paying up my loan. And I was able to provide better for my family,” she added.

CARE Philippines works with 1,175 women and men entrepreneurs in Santa Monica, Burgos, San Isidro, Pilar, Del Carmen and Dapa municipalities in Siargao in recovering and sustaining their livelihood and increasing their resiliency through the WAVES project supported by the Tijori Foundation.

150 million more women than men were hungry in 2021 – CARE analysis finds

  • CARE Philippines
  • Blog, Featured Stories, Food & Nutrition, Gender, Gender, Latest News & Stories, Press Release

An analysis by humanitarian organisation CARE highlights, for the first time, a global link between gender inequality and food insecurity. Analysing data from 2021, the report shows that across 109 countries, as gender inequality goes up, food security goes down.

Christine Campeau, CARE’s Global Advocacy Director – Food Systems, said, “Between 2018 and 2021, the number of hungry women versus hungry men grew 8.4 times, with a staggering 150 million more women than men hungry in 2021. And the implications of the escalation of conflict in Ukraine will make the situation even worse for women, who play a crucial role across food systems and in feeding their families and communities. Gender equality is highly connected to food and nutrition security at a local, national, and global level. To put it simply, the more gender inequality there is in a country, the hungrier and more malnourished people are.”

Of the four major global datasets on gender, including the World Bank’s Gender Data Portal, the only sex disaggregated food indicators reinforce women’s role solely for their importance in reproduction: measuring anemia in women of childbearing age and counting stunting for children.
Most food security datasets are strangely silent on gender. And, despite women being responsible for 90% of preparing and buying food, they are eating last and least.

Even when both men and women are technically food insecure, women often bear bigger burdens. For example, in Somalia, while men report eating smaller meals, women report skipping meals altogether.

Aisha, who lives in a village in eastern Somalia said, “I don’t remember how old I really am, the drought has affected me mentally and physically so much that I can’t remember. Most days we don’t get anything to eat, other days we eat one meal.”

In the World Bank Gender Data Portal on food and women, the only sex disaggregated food data is related to the number of women who believe, or do not believe, that a husband is justified in beating his wife when she burns the food.

Ms Campeau said, “As women keep feeding the world, we must give them the right space in our data collection methods and analysis to make the gaps they encounter visible and work with women themselves to find solutions to those gaps. Global datasets should be publishing sex disaggregated data on food—whether the focus is on gender or on food. It is time to update our global understanding of food security and gender inequality, and, local actors, including women’s organisations in crisis-affected communities, need to get the flexible funding and support desperately needed to protect women and girls from hunger-associated gender-based-violence and protection risks.”

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care-international.org  

For media enquiries contact:

Suzy Sainovski
Senior Humanitarian Communications Coordinator, CARE International
Email: suzy.sainovski@care.org
Skype: suzy.sainovski

Contingency Planning Checklist

  • CARE Philippines
  • Education & Work, Reports & Publications, Tools

The Contingency Planning Checklist for Typhoons during a pandemic has benefitted from the experience of different national and local government agencies, development and humanitarian organisations, and the collective insights of the participants of the RILHUB Webinar, Planning for Typhoons during a Pandemic: A Practical Guide.

Women Lead in Emergencies

  • CARE Philippines
  • Healthy Mothers & Children, Impact Reports, Reports & Publications

When women’s voices are not heard, women’s rights and needs are often not adequately met, and emergency response can reinforce gender inequality. Women’s equal voice, leadership, and participation challenges and transforms the root causes of poverty and injustice. Globally, it is part of a larger Women Lead in Emergencies initiative present in Colombia, Tonga, Uganda, and Niger.

Gendered Implications Of COVID 19 Executive Summary

  • CARE Philippines
  • Impact Reports, Other Topic, Reports & Publications

CARE’s analysis shows that COVID-19 outbreaks in development or humanitarian contexts could disproportionately affect women and girls in a number of ways, including adverse effects on their education, food security and nutrition, health, livelihoods, and protection. Even after the COVID outbreak has been contained, women and girls may continue to suffer from ill-effects for years to come.

Capacity Statement: Livelihood Recovery

CARE has supported in recovering and enhancing livelihood options as well asimproved food security and resilience to climate change for some 54,780 participants, 52% of whom were women and girls.

Capacity Statement: Health in Emergencies

CARE provides Philippine women and girls of reproductive age with comprehensive quality sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, addresses non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in internally displaced communities and strengthens public health sector capacities in SRHR health care and NCD management including in emergencies.

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