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Disparities in Diabetes: Applying intersectionality to understand diabetes

  • CARE Philippines
  • Blog, Gender, Gender, Healthy Mothers & Children, Other Topic, Uncategorized

Written by: Juin Ancha (CARE Philippines)

November 14 — World Diabetes Day. Various health organizations and groups all over the country urge the Filipino community to take active measures to prevent this life-threatening illness. However, simple lifestyle and dietary changes may not be enough to comprehensively address diabetes, especially within the context of vulnerable populations. Pervasive gender norms and roles are also factors that influence the health and well-being outcomes of Filipino women and men. As we commemorate World Diabetes Day, we encourage the public to use an intersectional lens to understand diabetes.

Diabetes at a glance

Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic, and the Philippines is not exempt. According to the International Diabetes Federation, of the 64 million adults in the country, 4 million have diabetes. However, even with these high numbers, there could be more undocumented cases, specifically in low-income, rural, and armed-conflict-affected areas. Lack of health facilities in far-flung communities, lack of access to diabetes information, and lack of access to basic services continue to be major factors that prevent people, including the elderly, children, women, and men, from seeking timely health check-ups and routine monitoring. Socioeconomic constraints do not help either, and only contribute to a general reluctance among poor families to seek medical intervention.

Early detection of diabetes is hard when you are poor and internally displaced. In Lanao del Sur, many people did not know that they were diabetic until they saw CARE Philippines NCD-LOVE. NCD-LOVE was a three-year pilot project designed to introduce innovative approaches to address health issues, specifically non-communicable diseases, diabetes included. From providing technical assistance and capacity buildings to partner government stakeholders, augmenting NCD service delivery in project sites, and ensuring its sustainability through transition plans, the NCD-LOVE indeed provided strong advocacy on health and well-being. In 2023 alone, the project reached 15 municipalities in Lanao del Sur and served 7,031 patients, of which 67% were women.

Using intersectionality as lens to understanding diabetes

Lived experiences of diabetes can be best understood through an intersectional lens that considers the social identities of ordinary Filipinos. Due to deep-seated culture and gender norms, various gender biases have affected not only our behavior towards health but also our understanding of health. According to the World Health Organization, the majority of studies on NCD, diabetes included, have been undertaken on men, and women have been less diagnosed at early stages. As a result, even health interventions have placed women at the periphery of diabetes attention.

“No words could express how CARE helped us and made us happy, especially here in our community,” – shared Alma (not her real name), 58 years old, a woman with diabetes from Boganga Transitory site. That is why the NCD-LOVE project purposefully targeted not only low-income households in conflict-afflicted areas but, more importantly, women.

“We deeply appreciate the invaluable support from CARE and Abbott, which has been instrumental in propelling this NCD-LOVE program forward. Our steadfast commitment to prioritizing health and well-being remains resolute. As we look ahead, our focus remains steadfast on ensuring the sustainability of our NCD-LOVE program, guaranteeing that the progress achieved endures for the long term,” stated IPHO II.

Unlocking one of the key solutions, applying intersectionality in analyzing diabetes, opens discussions beyond the medical model of this life-threatening, non-communicable disease.

The NCD-LOVE project was funded by Abbott and the Abbott Fund.

Ten Years On: Typhoon Haiyan’s Legacy of Resilience and Renewal 

  • CARE Philippines
  • Blog, Disaster Response, Gender, Latest News & Stories, Stories of Change, Uncategorized

Written by: Reiza S. Dejito (CARE Philippines)

Ten years ago, Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda, roared through the central islands of the archipelago. It was a storm that would go down in history as one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded. Today, we stand a decade removed from the devastation, yet the memories remain, etched into the heart of every survivor and every humanitarian effort that rose from the rubble. Maria Theresa “Tess” Bayombong, a Program Consultant for CARE Philippines, offers a stirring retrospective of the resilience, recovery, and rebirth in the aftermath of the super typhoon. 

Tess’ Recollections: Solidarity Amidst Ruins: “When I first set foot in the typhoon-stricken village of San Miguel, Leyte, the destruction was unimaginable,” Tess begins. “But amidst this landscape of despair, what moved me were not the signs of destruction but the signs of unity and human spirit.” She witnessed a community coming together, embodying the Filipino spirit of “bayanihan”—helping hands and hopeful hearts working in unison to rebuild, even as they carried the weight of their own losses. 

In photo: Ms. Tess Bayombong

“Their gratitude for the simple necessity of roofing materials was a powerful reminder of human resilience,” Tess recalls. “Even when our resources could not reach everyone, the community took it upon themselves to share what little they had, ensuring no one was left unprotected from the elements. This collective sacrifice and kindness were truly inspiring.” 

Impact and Adaptation: The CARE Response: Tess reflects on the long-term impact Haiyan had on the people’s livelihoods, especially in areas like Leyte where coconut farming was not just a job but a way of life passed down through generations. “Seeing the women of these communities, who had lost the very tools of their trade, come together to learn new skills and rebuild their livelihoods was a testament to their indomitable will,” she notes. 

CARE’s adaptive humanitarian response played a pivotal role in this transformation. From immediate life-saving assistance to supporting long-term self-recovery, CARE’s three-phase approach was not only practical but deeply empathetic. Tess speaks proudly of the organization’s efforts in providing technical assistance, training, and financial support that empowered women and rejuvenated local economies.

Lessons Learned: Shaping Future Responses: The greatest lessons come from the hardest experiences. Tess emphasizes that the most crucial takeaway from the Typhoon Haiyan response was the effectiveness of a phased, adaptable approach in emergency response. “It was about listening to the needs of the community and responding in a way that supported not just survival but sustainable growth and self-sufficiency.” 

This experience has indelibly shaped CARE’s approach to disaster preparedness and response. Gender-responsive strategies and financial assistance have helped pave the way for a future where communities are not only ready to face emergencies but are also equipped to thrive afterward.

A Beacon of Hope for Tomorrow: As we commemorate the ten-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, we don’t just look back; we look forward, carrying the lessons and stories of strength with us. Tess’ account is a beacon of hope—an illumination of the path forward marked by solidarity, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to empowerment and preparedness. 

“Typhoon Haiyan was a story of loss, but more importantly, it was a story of hope, of communities coming together, of women taking charge of their destinies, and of an organization that stood by them,” Tess concludes. “Today, we remember, we honor, and we continue to build a more resilient future.”

Bangsamoro women and youth: emerging leaders from the ground up

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

Photo: A young Bangsamoro woman participates in one of the series of gender-sensitive conflict and resilience analysis and capacity-building sessions among women and youth civil society organisations, gender and peace advocates hailing from Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi Tawi (BaSulTa).

Witten by: Juin Ancha and Winonna Fernando (CARE Philippines)

SULU, PHILIPPINES Since the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in 2019, there has been increased attention to the differentiated impacts of decades-long conflict on Bangsamoro women and girls. However, for most, justice, healing, and reconciliation remain elusive. As we commemorate the 11th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl, women and youth-led CSOs in Sulu are retelling their history to every Moro woman and girl, one story at a time.

“The youth of today are fortunate to not witness the suffering and pain of conflict and war in Sulu following the declaration of Martial Law in the 1970s… But now, I have learned about the impact of historical injustices on communities and how the presence of conflict and war over the past 50 years has contributed to the province’s present condition.” – Woman youth leader whose name was withheld.

Although BARMM has been admired for its efforts for better women’s representation, and has progressed in pushing for laws and initiatives promoting the Bangsamoro’s right to know, right to justice, right to reparation, and the guarantee of non-recurrence through Transitional Justice and Reconciliation, along with other normalization initiatives, the Bangsamoro youth, particularly women and girls, in the isolated segments of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi remain sidelined and without means to access basic services, comprehensive education, and violence prevention programs that can facilitate and sustain their meaningful participation and leadership in formal or informal spaces and letting their voices be heard.

Life amid constant displacements

Sulu is ranked second-third to lowest in the 2019 Provincial Human Development Index by the Philippine Statistics Authority. Decades of evolving conflict have resulted in a vicious cycle of poverty, systemic exclusion, and sociocultural marginalization and discrimination affecting vulnerable populations including youth, women, and children. Surviving in these situations comes in many forms. To some youth it means resorting to other forms of self-preservation such as involvement in crime and illegal activities, violent extremism, and other negative coping mechanisms. But for some women and youth-led CSOs, surviving also means thriving. Despite constant displacements, many women and youth-led CSOs believe that harnessing collective power, claiming space and amplifying influence, and becoming positive agents of change can promote recognition, reconciliation, and healing.

“Justice has not been served to benefit all the abused, displaced and dispossessed. As women youth leaders, we want to be deeply involved in claiming our rights and ensuring that injustices do not happen again.” – Woman youth leader in Sulu whose name was withheld

Engaging young women and girls is key

Apart from conflict, deep-seated cultural norms and beliefs about what women and girls should be and how women and girls should behave have shaped the lives of young Moro people for generations. These norms drive many girls out of school, to forced marriages, and expose them to gender-based violence. However, recent developments have served as proof that reshaping cultural norms and engaging women and girls is key to achieving peace, reconciliation and healing.

CARE Philippines sees gender equality, synergy and complementation in humanitarian-development-peace nexus spaces, as key to ending poverty and social injustices.

In February 2023, CARE Philippines launched the “Civil Society Women and Youth Promoting Culture of Peace in Mindanao” (BRIDGE) Project, funded by the European Commission, aimed at reducing the drivers of conflict through strengthening women and youth CSOs, and working with various peacebuilding actors in Mindanao – complementing its existing humanitarian and disaster preparedness programming in the island.

In partnership with Nisa Ul Haqq fi-Bangsamoro (Nisa) – a women’s rights organization, small-scale women and youth-led CSOs hailing from Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi are capacitated and linked with relevant BARMM ministries and commissions with initiatives on peacebuilding and Transitional Justice and Reconciliation. Women and youth-led CSOs from Sulu are committed to increasing their involvement in community memory projects, narrative documentation activities, and rights awareness and information drives that will facilitate communities’ access to services ultimately aimed at addressing drivers that perpetuate conflict in the communities.

Peacebuilding by women, with women

Anything is possible. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the first woman to sign a major peace agreement in the world and led the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and human rights lawyer Raissa Jajurie, co-founder of Nisa and current minister of the Ministry of Social Services and Development of BARMM became an inspiration to many Bangsamoro youth and girls to pursue peacebuilding initiatives using nonviolent collective power.

For many women and youth-led CSOs, retelling their history would mean constantly defying cultural norms and beliefs that have curtailed women and girls’ rights. Through BRIDGE, they are positive to pursue peacebuilding initiatives involving more women youth and girls in the process. True enough, when youth and girls are recognized as equal citizens towards peacebuilding, meaningful participation arises.

As we observe and celebrate the International Day of the Girl, may we continue to seek and maximize avenues that amplify her-stories that promote genuine representation of youth, young women, and girls and ensure that no one is left behind.

World Humanitarian Day 2023 Message

  • CARE Philippines
  • Blog, Featured Stories, Latest News & Stories

This message was delivered by CARE Philippines’ Program Manager for ECHO Actions, Ansherina Talavera on the Worl Humanitarian Day 2023 commemoration at the Peoples’ Palace in Cotabato City.

“Globally, and here at home, we face a new norm marked by increasingly frequent and devastating disasters. Natural hazards, armed conflict and violence, climate challenges, and environmental crises are realities that confront us now and in the future. 

As humanitarians, the context we work in and the challenges we face in delivering life-saving humanitarian aid are also evolving and becoming more complex. 

On this World Humanitarian Day, we reaffirm our commitment to the values and humanitarian principles that guide us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the communities and people we serve, no matter who, no matter where and #NoMatterWhat. 

#NoMatterWho – We commit to continue to provide humanitarian assistance without discrimination, recognizing that each life is of equal value. WE are committed to deliver humanitarian assistance regardless of nationality, religious belief, gender, class or political opinion. We reach out and provide assistance to people affected by disasters and who are most in need. 

#NoMatterWhere – We deliver humanitarian aid no matter where, giving priority to last mile communities. We remain steadfast with our mission to alleviate human suffering and provide aid where it is needed the most. We deliver support to last mile communities, the most affected, the most vulnerable, the hardest to reach, and receiving less assistance or none at all.  

#NoMatterWhat – We deliver assistance no matter what the difficulties we face. As humanitarians, we ensure the safety of staff and disaster-affected populations, and that no harm befall them. And this means careful planning, diligent implementation, and unwavering dedication to overcome these challenges, to provide humanitarian assistance – no matter what.

In the context of localisation, #NoMatterWhat signifies our resolve to invest in strengthening local capacities, ensuring that the burden of risks is not shifted to local partners and humanitarian actors.

Placing people and communities at the core of our humanitarian work, and our unshakeable commitment to uphold the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, we have developed strong partnerships with local NGOs, and key duty-bearers, foremost the government at local, subnational and national levels, and the donor community. As we face more complex situations ahead, we will hold on to the humanitarian principles as the solid foundation of our partnerships with rights-holders and duty-bearers alike, believing in everyone’s humanity. #NoMatterWhere, #NoMatterWho and #NoMatterWhat.  

CARE and its partner ACCORD set up a photo gallery in commemoration of WHD2023 in Cotabato City.

CARE, partners prepare for STS Egay as it intensifies into a typhoon

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

Manila, Philippines (July 23, 2023)- CARE and its local partners prepare for Severe tropical storm Egay (international name “Doksuri”) as it has further intensified while moving west-northwestward over the Philippine Sea and is forecasted to reach typhoon category within 24 hours and may become a super typhoon on Tuesday.  

In its 5 p.m. weather bulletin on July 23 the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) forecasted STS Egay to bring heavy rainfall in Catanduanes, Cagayan, the eastern section of Isabela, Polilio Islands, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Albay. The forecasted rainfall is generally higher in elevated or mountainous areas. And under these conditions, flooding and rain-induced landslides are possible, especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards as identified in hazard maps and in localities that experienced considerable amounts of rainfall for the past several days.

In the next three days, STS Egay may also enhance the Southwest Monsoon, bringing occasional rains and gustiness over several areas in the country.

CARE and its partners, Leyte Center for Development and Tarabang para Bicol (TABI) prepare and are ready to respond to the combined effects of STS Egay and the Southwest monsoon and the needs of vulnerable communities that would be affected in Catanduanes, Eastern Visayas, and Bicol Region respectively.

“We have a field office in Catanduanes and ongoing humanitarian programs with our partners in the areas that would be potentially affected by STS Egay. We are ready to activate assessment and quick response mechanisms in coordination with our partner organizations and local government units on the ground”, said Jerome Lanit, CARE Philippines’ Emergency Coordinator.

CARE has been working in the Philippines since 1949, helping communities prepare for disasters, and providing emergency relief and recovery when disaster strikes. It has responded to major disasters such as typhoons and super typhoons, conflicts, and seismologic and health emergencies with focus on the needs of women and girls.

Contact Person:

Jerome L. Lanit, Emergency Coordinator


Briefer: Women Lead in Emergencies Polling Research

The Women Lead in Emergencies (WLiE) is a Research Project of CARE Philippines, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the National Society of Informal Workers in the Philippines (PATAMABA) that will last six months from May to November 2023.

Hot meals comfort 4,276 Mayon Volcano evacuees

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

Mothers line up to get goto for their family to eat at the San Jose National High School evacuation center in Brgy. San Roque, Malilipot, Albay.

A total of 4,726 evacuees temporarily staying at eight evacuation centers in Camalig and Malilipot, Albay enjoyed the comfort that hot goto or organic rice with meat porridge provides on June 17, 18, 25 and 26.

The Tarabang para sa Bicol (TABI), with support from CARE Philippines, mobilized the members of the Tarabang Youth volunteers (TYVs), Sining Banwa, Disaster Preparedness Committees, barangay officials, private individuals, and some evacuees in preparing, cooking, and distributing the hot meals.

The evacuees who hailed from 6 barangays have been displaced from their communities since the start of the volcano’s magmatic unrest early in June. TABI observed that the affected population struggles to cook for their daily sustenance and survives on canned food. Meals like goto made with organic rice and protein provide nutrition and a break from the usual canned or instant meals they receive.

“Cooking together also helps them, especially, the mothers, ensure that their children will have something delicious and healthy to eat”, shared Arlo Brizuela, TABI’s Office-in-Charge.

In these feeding activities, their group observed how the displaced endured the uncomfortable spaces, tents, and classrooms, especially with the intense heat brought by the hot weather. Water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities are also lacking which brings various concerns on the safety of drinking water, and the possibility of related diseases.

Jocelyn Naga, a member of the Disaster Preparedness Committee in Brgy. Tumpa, Camalig, and an evacuee staying at Taladong Elementary School mentioned that some people are already getting sick, especially the children, due to their current living conditions.

The situation remains uncertain. On July 4, the DOST-PHIVOLCS reiterated that Alert Level 3 (increased tendency towards a hazardous eruption) still currently prevails over Mayon Volcano. It is strongly recommended that the areas inside the 6-kilometer-radius Permanent Danger Zone remain evacuated and that communities within the 7 and 8-kilometer radius be prepared in case the volcanic activity worsens.

Several of the evacuated rely on farming as their source of livelihood. They fear that they will not be able to go back immediately to tilling and providing their families with the necessities to recover because of the losses that their displacement brought about.

TABI staff and volunteers after a successful feeding activity at Malilipot Central School, Malilipot, Albay

CARE Philippines and TABI work together to come up with a more comprehensive humanitarian response to address the immediate needs of the most vulnerable affected population. Food, water, sanitation and hygiene, health, and non-food items such as kitchen and sleeping kits are some of the basic essentials that evacuees aspire to make their living conditions inside the evacuation centers tolerable.

“We plan to source support from our global partners for a humanitarian response that is also geared towards recovery, especially, of those who will have the most difficult time to bounce back and resume their livelihood”, said Jerome Lanit, CARE Philippines Emergency Coordinator.

Contact Person:

Jerome L. Lanit, Emergency Coordinator

jerome.lanit@care.org, +639175109417

Arlo Brizuela, OIC


Building a Safer Home after an Earthquake: Jemalin’s Story

Jemalin and her husband Mark were all smiles after reinforcing their house with Build Back Safer techniques. (Photo: CORDIS RDS)

“It is important to make our house stronger and well-built so that if ever an earthquake or typhoon strikes, it will be sturdy due to its good foundation. It is also crucial for a house to have good bracings and blockings so that it will be secure against quakes and strong winds”.

This was what 36-year-old Jemalin shared. Her family’s house was damaged by the magnitude 7.3 earthquake in Tayum, Abra in July last year.

Their house was made of semi-concrete materials with a poor foundation. So, when they felt the first tremors of the quake, she immediately grabbed her children and moved out of the house. The earthquake cracked their house’s walls and rendered it unsafe to live in.

The NDRRMC reported a total of 574,367 individuals or 155,911 families were affected by the earthquake. A total of 12,802 damaged houses were reported: 12,645 partially damaged and 157 fully damaged. And many of the affected stayed in open areas exposed to the monsoon rains, in evacuation centers, or with host families as their houses were not habitable or were in unsafe areas.

A makeshift shelter made from GI sheets replaced the damaged house of a family in Tayum, Abra after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. (Photo: MNorbe, CARE Philippines)

For Jemalin and her family, the greatest impact on their lives was the loss of income of her husband because construction works stopped for months and the main irrigation canal for their fields was destroyed so all rice fields were not planted for one cropping period. Much more, it was planting time during the occurrence of the earthquake, so all the preparation done was wasted.

She is a Barangay Health Worker (BHW) earning Php 700 in a month.  Aside from being a housekeeper, she raises pigs and do farm works to add to their family income. She is married to Mark, 42 years old, a farmer and laborer for construction works. They have three children ages 15, 13 and 9. They are studying in a nearby school, yet they have to spend daily for their fare.

When the team of CARE Philippines and its local partner, the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CORDIS RDS) arrived in their barangay through the REACH 3 project, she volunteered to join the team after a courtesy meeting with barangay officials. Together with other two barangay health worker, rain or shine they assisted the project team roam the barangay for damage assessment and interviews up to late afternoon. She was thankful that her house was also visited and interviewed. Her family was qualified as a beneficiary.  

During beneficiary meetings to prepare for the actual construction, she helped in mobilizing other beneficiaries to attend. Being a Barangay Health Worker, she was able to provide necessary information and shared the situations of the other families in her barangay. She got more inclined during the
discussions of the core shelter design and Build Back Safer Orientation. She studied the core shelter design and frequently asked questions on behalf of other beneficiaries who were timid to ask, she became the spokesperson of other beneficiaries.

During the implementation, Roving Shelter Teams (SRT) were organized to help the staff, especially in mobilization and ensuring that theBuild Back Safer (BBS) techniques are observed. She was chosen as a member of the SRT and she was glad to do her assignments and always visited the ongoing construction
works. She frequently argued with the carpenters who were not following the BBS techniques. She persistently provided updates and feedback to the project team especially the problems that needed to be addressed.  As a member of the SRT, she listened to the troubles of the beneficiaries concerning their

To be chosen as an SRT member, she earned the trust of other beneficiaries and gained knowledge on building a simple yet durable house that she would share with her family and other community members.   Through her efforts and the persistence of the SRT, 30 units of core shelter with BBS techniques were built in her barangay.

Being a core shelter beneficiary, her family is starting to regain courage and is more hopeful to recover and face the challenges of life. For now, she feels protected and happy that her family is together in their new house.

With support from EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid, the #REACH3 Project through provided Build Back Safer and Better Shelter training and support to build core shelters to families whose houses were totally damaged by the #AbraEarthquake.

This is part of the ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Populations in Mindanao and the Province of Abra Affected by Conflict, Disasters, and the COVID-19 Pandemic’ or REACH 3 Project implemented by ACCORD Incorporated, Action Against Hunger Philippines, CARE Philippines, Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services, Community Organizers Multiversity – CO Multiversity, IDEALS, Inc., Nisa Ul Haqq Fi Bangsamoro, Oxfam Pilipinas and United Youth of the Philippines-Women; and funded by the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid.

Project Briefer: WoMen Adding Value to the Economy in Siargao (WAVES)

The project, WoMen Adding Value to the Economy in Siargao: Building Resilient Livelihoods for Typhoon Odette Affected People in Community-Based Tourism Value Chain aims to assist typhoon-affected families of Siargao in community-based tourism value chain recover their livelihoods and increase their resilience within 2 years.

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