Marawi returnees express need for livelihood support
Joy Maluyo, Emergency Communications Specialist
38-year old Amir and his family are back in Marawi City but their struggle is far from over.
“We are happy to be back but this doesn’t change the reality that I haven’t had income since we went back in November 2017 and that I have a family to feed,” he says.
Most of the Marawi returnees like Amir now rely on aid from the government and other organizations. Without income, however, parents are unable to provide their families with other foods except for the rations like sardines and rice.
Amrina, his 10-year old daughter shares, “There are times when I skip meals because we’ve been eating the same thing since we arrived in Marawi. Ummi (mother) is just changing the recipe.”
As a father, Amir feels bad for his seven children and he worries about their nutrition. Since the Marawi crisis broke out in May 2017, they had to be content with what is given to them. The fighting forced them to evacuate in Piagapo, a nearby town. There was no available job for him and they had to live with 40 other relatives in a cramped house.
“We also had to walk at least an hour to reach the school – no allowance, no packed foods. It was difficult,” adds Amrina.
When the government declared that it was already safe for them to go back to their village, they were determined to rebuild their lives in Marawi.
“I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I trust that help will come for us. I want to send my children to school, give them nutritious food to eat but we need all the support we can get to rebuild our livelihoods,” Amir reiterates.
To complement the government-led recovery efforts for the affected families, World Vision launched a 10-day cash-for-work (CFW) program which aims to provide income to affected families in return of their labor. Each beneficiary will get P250 for four hours of labor per day, which is above the minimum daily wage in Marawi. The cash will be given through a partner financial service provider.
“The cash support will help us buy other basic needs. I also appreciate how our community was involved and consulted from the selection of beneficiaries to the works that we will do. Personally, it enabled me to see the needs in our barangay and knowing that I’ll be able to help address those makes me feel good,” Amir shares.
Felix Cinco, World Vision’s Cash Preparedness Officer explains, “This was implemented after our assessment showed the need for such intervention. Prior to the actual work, we’ve had several community consultations to determine which community projects they would be working on. This process allows the members of the barangay to own their recovery and it also gives them the dignity to decide on matters that affect them.”
We are advocating for their income to be used primarily for food and livelihood but we emphasize that the decision is still theirs, depending on what they need most, adds Cinco.
“When I get the money, I’ll buy my children chicken and fish. They will be very happy,” Amir smiles in excitement. He also plans to use some of the income to start his sari-sari store anew.
World Vision, in partnership with Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefit (Ecoweb), Mindanaw Tripartite Youth Core (MTYC), Tapukan Farmers MPC (TFMPC), Lanao Youth Council (LYC), and Ranaw Watch for Empowerment Network (RAWATEN), Inc. will initially cater to 1,000 families in five of the cleared barangays. The organization also continues to work alongside the government and other humanitarian organizations to find more sustainable income for the people. Aside from livelihood programs, World Vision has set up child-friendly spaces in the five villages to provide psychosocial care for the children still reeling from the aftermath of the armed conflict.World Vision/April 4, 2018
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.