people live in Manila
of households live in informal settlements in Barangay 775
of families living in slums in the city of Manila live in areas at risk of fires and flooding
Médecins du Monde is empowering the communities of Barangay 775 in Manila City
The people of Barangay 775 live in one of the poorest and most densely populated parts of Manila which is regularly afflicted by disasters. Since 2001 three major fires have partially destroyed the barangay and the area is often flooded. The residents are not sufficiently well-informed to be able to take appropriate measures in the event of disasters. In addition, some areas are inaccessible or difficult to reach for emergency vehicles.
Waste management and access to sewage systems and hygiene are extremely limited. Furthermore, the poorest families are not automatically enrolled in PhilHealth, the Filipino health insurance system. This means they are even more vulnerable if they become ill.
In 2018, Médecins du Monde developed a pilot project entitled AYOS ! (‘Let’s go!’). Through AYOS !, we are seeking to facilitate social change and work with the community to improve living conditions. Residents are helped to reduce their exposure to health risks and to improve their health. This community approach helps to encourage the residents of Barangay 775 to come together to take action, and also strengthens the capacity and good governance practices of the local authorities.
Developing momentum within local communities
The community approach adopted by the project has helped to develop a real momentum within communities by giving them the power to take action themselves and influence their environment and their health. In the Philippines, Médecins du Monde looks at health from several angles:
- reducing the risks of natural and human disasters,
- capacity-building and empowerment of the population and local authorities,
- reducing environmental health risks,
- improving access to healthcare.
The residents and local authorities in the barangay receive training in disaster risk reduction and first aid. Médecins du Monde also offers training in leadership, management and financial literacy
to the local authorities and members of the community. In addition, we work with the community to run information campaigns on waste management in Barangay 775 and are involved in the establishment of a solid waste management committee in the area.
A project with informal electronic waste recyclers
From 2012 to 2016, Médecins du Monde in the Philippines ran a project supporting informal electronic waste recyclers in Manila. In particular, our work involved officially establishing four community organisations and reducing the individual and collective risks of electronic waste management.
Support for these four organisations continued between January 2017 and December 2019, thanks to backing from the Fondation Médecins du Monde. This support helped to strengthen the capacity of the organisations and their members, and to improve the health and livelihoods of the informal electronic waste recyclers.
The organisations received training and financial support to enable their members to develop new income-generating activities. Thus, the organisations were able to organise themselves better, recruit more members, meet with the local authorities and develop alternative income-generating activities less harmful to health than dismantling electronic waste.
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