Building Resilient Communities in the Philippines, Together

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan ravaged Central Philippines, displacing entire communities in its path. The catastrophic destruction drew a tremendous outpouring of support from around the world, and immediate relief efforts ensued.

When I recently visited Tanauan, Leyte—one of the three municipalities hardest hit by the typhoon—driving through the streets, it was apparent that the task at hand shifted to long-term recovery. This focus on rebuilding has now placed us in a position to think about how we can best support and coordinate efforts to bring together private, governmental and humanitarian sectors to transition efforts from relief to the complex task of rebuilding lives, homes and communities.

As public and private funders consider how to best leverage resources, Citi and the Citi Foundation’s work with the Skoll Foundation is an excellent example of how thoughtful private-social sector collaboration can bridge immediate relief to long-term economic recovery while also responding to the challenges of building resiliency in the face of disasters and climate change.

Shortly after the typhoon hit on November 8, the Skoll Foundation contacted Gawad Kalinga (GK), a Filipino community development organization, to assess their needs in launching an effective relief and rebuilding plan. Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally Osberg approved the plan within days, and ${esc.dollar}250,000 was made available to GK just days later. This timely support made it possible for GK to act quickly, respond to people’s needs as the situation unfolded, and target the hardest-hit communities.

“Skoll’s relationship with Gawad Kalinga is built on their long history of impact and also on trust—the trust we have in their proven track record of building strong communities by working effectively with the public, private, and civil society sectors in the Philippines,” said Osberg. “We knew that the best way to get urgently-needed relief to those whose lives had been shattered by the typhoon was to give GK immediate and unrestricted support.”

The Skoll Foundation laid the groundwork for the grant investments that followed from the Citi Foundation. In early 2014, the Citi Foundation approved a 24-month, ${esc.dollar}320,000 long-term recovery program with GK. The program aligns with the three-year disaster recovery plan established by the municipal government of Tanauan, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the National Housing Authority. Private, public and social sector efforts came together in a way that will provide efficient and strategic resources for long-term recovery efforts to help affected families, rebuild communities, and restore the livelihoods of people impacted in the coastal town of Tanauan, Leyte.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation (link opens in a new window)

Impact Assessment
Base of the Pyramid, rural development