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Training on humanitarian action and protection in the ARMM highlights critical role of women

COTABATO – The Consortium on Humanitarian Action and Protection (CHAP) had its first “Training of Trainers on Rights-based Approach on Humanitarian Action and Protection” in Kidapawan City last March 6-10, 2017. The training aims to enable disaster risk reduction practitioners in the ARMM region in humanitarian response in the local and global disaster contexts and disaster risk reduction and management framework. The training was facilitated by the member organizations of the Consortium or CHAP, namely, the Center Disaster Preparedness, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Buklod Tao Inc., and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) of Camarines Norte.

A total of 40 participants are present in the training, 33% of which are women. They are composed of representatives from the Office of Civil Defense in Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Administrative Officers of the ARMM –Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART), municipal officers from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), and Municipal Secretary of Shariff Aguak, and Mamasapano of the Maguindanao Province and its Barangay Council Officials, which are mainly composed of Brgy. Captains, Brgy. Kagawad, Brgy. Treasurers, Brgy. Secretaries and Community Affairs Assistants of Libutan, Lusay, and Tukanalipao.

The significance of the training and the need for women’s involvement could not have been underscored by one of the participants from the municipality of Shariff Aguak who described the struggle of setting in motion humanitarian activities in ARMM as extremely difficult and mentioned the pervasiveness of armed groups setting up road blocks to call a halt to their humanitarian operations. "May nangyari nga noon na hinarang ang grupo namin. Ako lang ang babae noon sa operasyon. Ang mga lalaking kasama ko, walang lakas ng loob ng bumaba ng sasakyan. Ako na lang ang bumaba. Nakipag-usap ako sa mga armadong kalalakihan at nakumbinsi ko naman sila na kami ay padaanin (There was an instance where we were stopped on the road. I was the only woman in that operation. The men who were with me did not have the courage to get off the vehicle. So I was the one who stepped off. I talked to the armed men and convinced them to let us pass through),” she recalled during one of the sessions in the training.

Yet even on the receiving end of the aids being handed over by humanitarian groups and non-government organizations, a staff from the Municipality of Mamasapano, mentioned her organization’s practice of inviting women members of households, instead of the male head of families, during relief delivery operations. Noting that ARMM is home to a sizeable Muslim population, she explains that, “Madalas kasi, hindi lang isa ang asawa ng mga lalaki, minsan pa nga apat. Mas masisiguro kasi na mabigyan ang lahat ng pamilya kapag babae ang pinapila (In most cases, men have more than one wife. Sometimes even four. We can better make certain that all families are given the help they need if we ask the women to receive them).”

The Training of Trainers (ToT) covers the review on the basic concepts of community-based disaster risk reduction and management (CBDRRM), humanitarian principles, core humanitarian standards, and rights –based approach in humanitarian work including the processes of emergency assessment, humanitarian response programming and emergency response management. It is part of the CHAP’s project entitled, “Up Scaling Humanitarian Action: Utilizing Good Practice Model and 'Whole of Society Approach' in Rights-Based Humanitarian Action” and is supported by the START Network, Christian Aid, Tearfund, Oxfam, and UK Aid.

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