Church’s social arm uses ‘participatory’ Yolanda approach

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MANILA, Nov. 17, 2014 — For long-term recovery to happen, the local community needs to actively  participate in rehabilitation. This is the approach the Catholic Church’s social arm, National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP – NASSA), uses in typhoon Yolanda affected areas.

According to Fr. Edwin “Edu” Gariquez, head of Caritas Philippines and executive director of CBCP – NASSA, it is better to adopt a “participatory” rehabilitation and recovery intervention, which includes the community’s active involvement.

Livelihood is just one of the concerns addressed by CBCP – NASSA's post-Yolanda recovery program. (Photo: CBCP – NASSA)

This explains the various designs of shelters, which are literally built by the beneficiaries themselves.

Helping all, not just Catholics

He said CBCP-NASSA does not adopting the usual top-to-bottom approach and has done away with contractors.

Gariguez cited coordination as an initial challenge that the CBCP-NASSA had to face in relief and rehabilitation operations.

He said that it is precisely in calamity-stricken areas where people need a quick response to needs that poor coordination occurs.

The streamlining of procedure helped produce a better system of help distribution in the nine priority dioceses covered by CBCP-NASSA’s recovery program.

He also disclosed that the CBCP does not extend assistance only to Catholics but to everyone in need of help, especially the “poorest of the poor.”

Gariguez reported that from November last year to March this year, the CBCP-NASSA received  EUR 5.6 million (around Php 300 million) in donations has already been used for relief assistance.

Total transparency, accountability

In the first year of the rehabilitation phase, which will be until March 2015, NASSA has a total budget of EUR 9.7million (around Php 900 million).

He disclosed that CBCP-NASSA intends not only to provide shelter to the survivors, but to implement a total human development program, which will include livelihood, psycho-social intervention, ecosystem rehabilitation, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and a combination of community-managed disaster risk reduction and community organizing.

CBCP-NASSA’s help also includes the reconstruction of chapels, which according to Gariguez proves that the spiritual side is not neglected in the rehabilitation program with EUR 1 million from Germany specifically earmarked for this purpose. These chapels are spread throughout the nine priority affected dioceses in Leyte, the provinces of Samar, Northern Cebu, Panay Island provinces and Palawan.

He said, CBCP-NASSA also ensures that it is fully accountable and totally transparent with the funds received for relief and rehabilitation programs. (CBCPNews/Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros

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