FundLife joins Local CSOs in Cebu, Philippines to Call for Greater Support and Direct Grassroots Funding from INGOs and Wider Humanitarian Sector
FundLife is proud to be a contributor and signatory to the following open letter. Since our inception in 2014, FundLife has campaigned and led bottom-up development, support local communities through direct programming, access to funding and knowledge sharing. We are proud to add our name to Zero Extreme Poverty (ZEP) 2030 Cebu Convergence Network. The full letter is shared below;
The Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 (ZEP) Cebu Convergence, consists of local Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), People’s Organizations (POs), private institutions, and sectoral groups, is requesting the support of international organizations, humanitarian funding institutions and networks to provide assistance to our collective actions in addressing the needs of the vulnerable communities in Metro Cebu amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increasing number of COVID-19 cases remains to threaten the country. As of July 21, there are already more than 68,000 confirmed cases and at least 1,800 deaths. The pandemic has become a major health crisis worldwide and in the Philippines. It has already caused detrimental effects to the country’s healthcare system and has exhausted the government’s resources. social distancing, self-isolation and travel restrictions – measures imposed to curb the outbreak have left at least 7.3 million Filipinos who lost their jobs during the lockdown (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2020). Seemingly, after months of quarantine protocols, many local government units have started to ease out quarantine restrictions – except for Cebu City.
As of July 20, 2020, there are 9,132 cases of COVID-19 in the major cities of Cebu, particularly in Cebu City, Talisay City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, and the Municipality of Cordova according to the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Tracker. While the rest of these cities are already under General Community Quarantine’ status, Cebu City is the only remaining local government unit in the country under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).Most of its barangays (villages) are under “localized hard lockdown” as a way to implement the stay-at-home rule to contain the virus. Albeit that businesses and public transportation are already allowed under this status, they are limited, and employment and economic activities of daily wage earners and informal workers remain affected.
In a recent survey carried out by ZEP Cebu Convergence in May 2020 to determine the impact of COVID-19 and the community quarantine protocols to families in Metro Cebu, 84% of the 6,616 surveyed households indicated that they had a decreased income during the lockdown, and 43% of them experienced skipping meals during the quarantine period. The survey result reaffirms the priority agenda identified by ZEP in improving the lives of severely affected communities due to COVID-19, to wit:
Nutrition and Food Security
Child Nutrition and Protection
Since the declaration of the state of public health emergency last March 2020 while many local organizations, including members of the ZEP Cebu Convergence, have been acting on-ground to supplement the government’s relief efforts in providing aid to quarantined families, isolated individuals, and frontliners. Yet the prolonged implementation of lockdown has exhausted the
resources available both from the government and the private organizations. With the uncertainties of vaccine development, and concrete plans for post-quarantine recovery, heightened insecurities especially among low-income families continue. If these are left unaddressed, these could push them deeper into extreme poverty and greater difficulty.
In this light, the ZEP2030 Cebu Convergence, calls for a more concerted effort in responding to the immediate and long-term needs of vulnerable families. In addition, the convergence requests the international and national organizations, humanitarian funding institutions, and networks to provide support and resources to enable local organizations to continue implementing initiatives that will make a positive contribution in building a more livable, safe, healthy and resilient urban communities.
The Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 (ZEP) Cebu Convergence, which was convened in Cebu last August 2019, aims to uplift 1 million families from extreme poverty to self-sufficiency. The convergence which started as a CSO-led national movement in the country in 2015, is working to continue the provision of support to the severely affected communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Metro Cebu.
ZEP2030 Cebu Convergence
July 20, 2020
Contributors and signatories to the letter;
FundLife Receives $20,000 Donation from BPI Foundation for it’s COVID-19 ‘One Bayanihan’ Emergency Relief Project
Cebu, Philippines – FundLife, a not-for-profit organisation that supports highly vulnerable children across the Philippines through play-based education and mentorship, is pleased to announce a charitable contribution in the amount of USD 20,000 (PHP 1 Million), from BPI Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). The commitment from BPI Foundation will directly support FundLife’s ‘One Bayanihan COVID-19 Emergency response to support the most vulnerable children and families hardest hit by the economic impact of the prolonged quarantine.
The ‘One Bayanihan’ emergency response is a locally-led initiative comprising several local NGOs working to reach the most vulnerable groups. The donation from BPI Foundation is administered by Bidlisiw Foundation and will directly support partners of ‘One Bayanihan’, which include Bidlisiw Foundation, Bayanihan Mission, Glory Reborn and FundLife.
“This support from the BPI Foundation is absolutely critical during this unprecedented and global crisis”, said Marko Kasic, Founder of FundLife. “This commitment will allow our partners to reach a further 2,000 families in desperate need of food relief and hygiene packs”
“Challenging times present greater opportunities to give back and provide meaningful impact to those who really need assistance. Being able to collaborate with organizations like FundLife to extend immediate relief and long-term COVID-19 recovery initiatives for badly affected communities in Cebu was a welcome and timely opportunity,” said Owen Cammayo, Executive Director of BPI Foundation.
“BPI Foundation is committed to create sustainable positive social change for underserved Filipino communities.”
FundLife estimates that over 150,000 people from across Metro Cebu have been left without or pay since March 28th and are without access to financial and/or food support. Since launching the ‘One Bayanihan’ relief project on March 16th, FundLife and it’s local partners have reached over 20,000 people through food assistance, hygiene and vitamin packs as well as health awareness to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
FundLife is a Philippine registered NGO that was created after Super-Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) to restore hope to survivor children through play and experiential learning. It’s mission is to protect, educate and empower children from highly marginalised communities by increasing their access to mentors and opportunities.
FundLife’s regular programming includes marginalised children and youth from Leyte and Samar, Lanao del sur, Bukidnon and Cebu. In 2019, FundLife launched a girls’ protection project called ‘Girls Got This’ to team up with global champions to advocate for the safeguarding, access to education and dignified opportunity for all girls. To find out more about FundLife visit www.fundlife.org and www.girlsgotthis.org
About BPI Foundation
The story of empowerment is at the center of BPI Foundation’s work. We envision a financially inclusive Philippines where every Filipino is empowered to live a better life. Our mission is to create a culture of financial wellness and be agents for sustainable positive social change for underserved Filipino communities.
It is our commitment to enable underserved communities with financial knowledge and access to spur responsible and sustainable growth and progress for Filipinos. For more information please visit https://www.bpifoundation.org/
May 25, 2020 - FundLife through its partnership with Gawad Kalinga initiated a feeding program for children from more than 200 households in the Gawad Kalinga Pedrosa AFC Village resettlement area. Through the efforts and support of the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) and AFC village leaders, children from 2- 19 years old were provided with nutritional hot meals. In addition to the healthy food that was prepared by volunteers, FundLife also provided the youth mentors who delivered play-based workshops to raise awareness about COVID-19 and teach children how to protect themselves and their family from the threat of COVID-19 infection.
“We need to wash our hands properly and more frequently now because of COVID-19,” said one child when coach John Paul asked about the importance of hand washing. The play-based workshop also aims to help children understand the importance of following community protocols in line with the current General Community Quarantine, as well as checking in on their well-being after being under house quarantine since March 29th.
The activity helps to provide a safe space for children and mothers to share their feelings about the current conditions of their families, friends and community in a safe environment and without fear of judgement.
The FundLife supported Soup Kitchen of freshly prepared meals will last for three weeks, once every Tuesday and Thursday (May 25 - June 11, 2020) and is part of FundLife's 'One Bayanihan' COVID-19 Emergency Response, which to date has supported over 20,000 people from highly vulnerable communities. To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/covid-19-relief-response/
FundLife, in collaboration with local CSOs, Bayanihan Mission, Bidlisiw Foundation, Gawad Kalinga and Glory Reborn, has successfully delivered food relief, hygiene packs and health education to 20,000 children and families who were hit first and hardest by the Philippines COVID-19 Enhanced Community Quarantine.
The emergency response has focused on providing relief and raising awareness to stop the spread of COVID-19 to the poorest and most vulnerable communities that have been left without income and that are often outside of Government support since the ECQ was announced on March 16th in Luzon and March 28th in Visayas.
Operating out it's COVID-19 Satellite Office in Cebu City, FundLife has worked with actors to identify and reach communities in need of immediate assistance. One of the communities that Bayanihan Mission (FundLife' implementing partner) identified as 'high-risk' was Sitio Marna, a 550 household informal settlement located directly opposite one of Cebu City's largest shopping malls. It is home to 2,100 people, many of whom are daily wage earners such as security guards, massage therapists and construction workers who have been with income or support since March 28th.
In addition to supporting Sitio Marna, One Bayanihan has extended support to communities across Mandaue City, Talisay City and even to the coastal community of Moalboal, which employs 90% of people in the tourism industry, but has been closed to domestic and foreign tourists since March 27th. One Bayanihan has also focused on helping women, including those that are pregnant or have new-born babies but do not have resources to purchase basic but vital essentials for their babies.
The impact of COVID-19 on communities such as Marna goes beyond immediate emergency. FundLife is already working on recovery planning that aims to support already vulnerable young people and help them to cope with a post-COVID reality, which is certain to be even more difficult. One of these young people is Nina (15), who despite the challenges she faces is optimistic. She hopes to return to school soon and continue with her education. You can view her full interview here.
As mounting evidence and reports show, girls and women are disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19, projects to plan recovery projects to support adolescent girls and women. Working together with actors from business and government, FundLife is creating training programs and direct income workshops for women from vulnerable communities.
FundLife is already adapting it's 'Girls Got This' projects to a new COVID reality and is actively looking for partners to make sure the new-normal is able to provide every girl and women with an equitable opportunity for education and dignified employment, regardless of anything else.
Local NGOs and community volunteers mobilise to deliver emergency food relief for vulnerable families in Cebu, Philippines