The challenge brought by the pandemic is still not over.
Despite this seemingly insurmountable challenge, more and more individuals have come up with plans to reach communities most vulnerable to the coronavirus and the plaguing economic consequences it brings. In an unexpected shift of the Peace Promotion Fellowship (PPF) Program of the Equal Access International set to culminate in July 2020, 11 Peace Fellows redirect their final activities by conducting relief efforts to their chosen communities.
Towards the end of June, fellows started organizing one of the last activities they are to complete in their fellowship journey. Two fellows completed their relief efforts at the end of the month.
Nishreen Hashim went back to the partner community where she implemented her PPF project, in Barangay Butiren, Kabuntalan, Maguindanao. Thirty-five families of the said barangay received food and hygiene kits. According to Hashim, due to the travel restrictions, community members have difficulty accessing supplies. To reach the mainland, community members must travel by boat along the Ligawasan Marsh. On top of that, several livelihoods limitations have been affecting the community. The relief efforts headed by Hashim went smoothly through the help of volunteers and partners.
In Tawi-Tawi, 30 Sama Dilaut (Bajau) families at the Bajau Floating Village, Sanga-Sanga benefitted from the relief efforts led by peace fellow Nurul-Aine Eldani. The families received food packs and basic hygiene kits. As an educator herself, she also took the opportunity to raise awareness on the coronavirus and how community members can protect themselves from being infected. Eldani’s team distributed posters highlighting tips on how to avoid COVID-19 presented in their local dialect as part of her project’s information-drive initiative.
Before fellows finalized their activity plans, EAI-Philippines conducted an online orientation on precautionary measures that need to be observed when conducting relief efforts. Physical distancing and complying with necessary travel documents where emphasized.
Other fellows have started implementing their relief efforts to other communities in Mindanao. The fellowship continues to work hand in hand with the OURmindaNOW COVID-19 Updating Platform that regularly publishes relevant updates on the current pandemic situation and stories from the ground.