Stronger Together: Finding Hope in the Midst of Crisis (The MOVE UP Project Coffee Table Book)

Introduction (Excerpted from the book)

The Moving Urban Poor Communities toward Resilience (MOVE UP 4), in its 4th iteration, continuously aims to build on the important work of resilience building. In the middle of its implementation, the world changed as we know it as the pandemic ravaged the country and affected the lives and livelihoods of our people. This pushed us to ask, what is the relevance of MOVE UP in this time of pandemic? What is the importance of resilience-building in this new normal?

MOVE UP is a consortium of international humanitarian organizations Action Against Hunger Philippines, PLAN International, CARE Philippines and its local partner ACCORD, Inc. Funded by the European Union, the project aims to aims to contribute in building the resilience of urban poor populations to withstand and manage the impact of natural and man-made disasters by strengthening urban disaster preparedness, response and management capacity of the National, Sub-national and Local government units, and other stakeholders through the adaption and/or replication of tested Urban Resilience strategies. When we say our urban resilience strategies are tested, we mean it as, MOVEUP’s Urban Resilience Framework and its interventions come form tried and tested implementation experience since 2016. Every iteration, we try to improve and enhance what we have been doing to better serve our communities. In MOVE UP 1 we piloted these strategies in Malabon, Quezon City and Valenzuela. Coming from that experience, we expanded to include Navotas and Caloocan in 2017, to consolidate and refine these strategies. We proved the effectiveness of these and we realized that it can be scaled-up, so we did MOVE UP 3 to cover Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cotabato City in 2018. Now in MOVE UP 4, we focused on Mindanao
to further expand beyond disasters to consider the conflict setting and also adapt our strategies to make it flexible in different cultural contexts. Moreover, we strengthened our national advocacy and partnered with DSWD through the Sustainable Livelihood Program and DILG’s Local Government Academy.

The impetus for resilience-building is a no-brainer for a country like the Philippines. We are one of the countries most affected by the impacts of climate change. Located at the western side of the Pacific, we are at the Pacific Ring of Fire and is known to be an ‘exporter of typhoons’. Socio-economic and political risks abound which led to instability, armed conflict, and inequality. The National Government and local government units, albeit trying their best to respond to these issues, are overwhelmed with the enormous challenges. And then came the pandemic— years of economic growth and efforts in lifting people out of poverty are erased.

We are firm when we say that MOVEUP’s resilience strategies work and are applicable in different contexts. But adapting to the novelty of the pandemic? How do we do that? Through grounded risk assessments and working together with our partner communities and government agencies, we have identified strategies and approaches to respond to the different effects of the pandemic. Originally meant for safe and secured shelters for families in evacuation centers during disasters, our Alternative Temporary Shelter Systems have been used as Community Quarantine Facilities helping LGUs better manage COVID transmission in their localities. Our Resilient Livelihood strategies continuously help vulnerable and at-risk households access social and financial capital, through diversified livelihood activities, promotion of savings, and building linkages to government programs and services. This is more relevant now as MSMEs and the informal labor economy, sectors where a majority of vulnerable people are involved, are greatly affected by the pandemic. The Consortium is also active in pushing for a better way of identifying vulnerable and at-risk populations so that when there is a need to provide immediate support in response to disasters and pandemics, like the Social Amelioration Program, local government units will have a database of affected individuals and households based on an integrated and holistic vulnerability targeting system.

Integral to resilience-building is capacity development. Being at the forefront of responding to disasters, we help our partner local government units improve their systems, structures, and processes to make it more responsive and effective. We implement projects together and nourish our partnership to form new champions of resilience-building inside the government. We influence national policies and programs based on our experience working with the local government units. With this approach, we ensure that the gains of MOVE UP in resilience-building will be localized, replicated and sustained in the long term.

At the heart of our work is building resilience in our communities. We put value in working with them as they are the ones experiencing all the effects of natural and human-induced disasters. With that, they are also the primary agents in responding and adapting to these shocks and stresses. We try to create an enabling environment by working with local government units, national government agencies and other organizations, so that people can thrive to reach their potential and their aspirations for their communities. We build their capacities so that they can
improve their social positions and engage with individuals and organizations that can support them.

At this crucial juncture, we should put more effort in resilience-building. This is a collective endeavor, and so we work closely with national government agencies, local government units and various institutions and agencies. Lastly, the key to the effectiveness and relevance of MOVE UP’s resilience strategies is a belief in our communities’ collective struggle in building their resilience and thriving amidst all the challenges.

Beyond MOVE UP, we have our local government units and our communities in resilience building in the new normal.


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MOVE UP- Mindanao is funded by the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid and is implemented by a consortium of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which include CARE Philippines, ACCORD Incorporated, Plan International Philippines, and Action Against Hunger Philippines.