The Philippines being a lower-middle- income country is often faced with an array of problems ranging from armed conflicts to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. The resultant effects have often been internal displacements that have led to an overall deterioration of the overall living standards. The United Nations Children Emergency Fund and the World Food Program are some of the relief organizations that work in close cooperation with the Philippines government and the communities to support people from the affected regions. The World Food Program is mainly focused on increasing security concerning food and nutrition. It also concentrates on assisting the Philippine people and communities in rebuilding some sense of resilience so that they can have a better response to the consequences of natural disasters. UNICEF, on the other hand, seeks to help children whose lives are always vulnerable whenever disasters occur. It does this by expanding the scope of stakeholders who are involved in ensuring that the children are given the highest level of care and that their rights are also fulfilled.
Some of the current issues in the Philippines include armed conflicts that have displaced more than 40% of families especially in the Mindanao region and natural disasters that have in one way or another contributed to high levels of poverty. The World Food Program helps the affected people to rebuild their lives (WFP, 2010). They achieve this by giving people food or cash and in return for the residents participation in activities aimed at creating assets and vocational skills that ensure that they can be able to support their livelihoods. They are also very active in the Mindanao region where they provide nutritional support in the form of meals to the school-going children. With the help of their parents and teachers, children are now assured of healthy and satisfactory meals so that they can easily concentrate in their classrooms. The food outreach program also extends to pregnant and nursing women affected by conflicts and natural disasters. The organization also plays a key role in helping the communities prone to disasters in the preparation and response to shocks. They achieve this by rolling out community programs and also establishing emergency response centers.
Child protection and monitoring systems in the Philippines are lacking. The absence of such is to blame for the rise in the number of children who have become victims of violence, abuse, and exploitation. The UNICEF works with the children protections to provide a safe environment and also educate families on the effects of abuses targeted at children and how it affects their overall life. It also supports the Philippines government in its expansion of access and enhancing the quality of education. Children are often faced with many obstacles that include poverty, disabilities, gender, and the lack of awareness concerning the importance of education. As such, they fail to start school at a right age leading them to have difficulties in learning and end up dropping out of schools. UNICEF as an organization mainly focuses on the areas that have been identified by the government as marginalized and therefore the children are excluded from accessing quality education (UNICEF, 2016). In addition to ensuring that the nutritional levels for children and pregnant women have been addressed, they also play a vital role in ensuring that children have the best possible start for life. They carry out immunization programs through mobile clinics as a way to make sure that all children are immunized.
Both the two organizations have employed professionals who help them in realizing their goals of reducing the poverty levels and also increase the number of children who have access to proper nutrition and healthcare. They also recruit volunteers both from the native country as well as other countries whom they allow to interact with the different communities. Their employees who deliver food and medical supplies in the field and are also tasked with monitoring how they are being utilized. Their funding is mostly through voluntary contributions which they depend on to fund their projects. The contributions made may be regarding cash, food, medical supplies or even other essential items that are needed to cook food. They also get some of their funding from individual governments, for example, the United Children Emergency Funds receives much of its funding from the United States government. The beneficiaries of their programs are usually victims of natural disasters, young school-going children, internally displaced refugees and the poor people who are faced with food shortages.
UNICEF and the World Food Program have been widely successful in giving hope and a second chance to children from low-income families. Before the organizations rolled out their humanitarian programs, many children suffered from acute malnutrition that delayed the growth and development in children. They have now partnered with the International Medical Corps to provide young children, pregnant and lactating mothers in with ready-to-use food supplements. Currently, UNICEF supports, Kokkyo Naki Kodomotachi, one of the local non-governmental organizations in providing alternative learning lessons for the children drawn from low-income families whose parents cannot afford to send them to schools. The center also caters for victims of disasters by providing them with food and shelter. The organizations work in the country as has already been mentioned focuses on upholding the rights of children. This includes their rights to have a basic education and also a healthy childhood.
The relief organizations working in the Philippines are often faced with a lot of challenges. It is important to note that the country is prone to calamities such as earthquakes and typhoons. Such incidences worsen the living conditions of people who are prone to contagious diseases. The country has also undergone years of internal conflicts that make it difficult to distribute relief food to the affected areas. When offering humanitarian assistance, making ethical decisions is quite a challenging task. While addressing the different needs faced by populations, the aid workers may choose to refrain from saving lives in conflict-prone areas due to the lack of adequate security (Clarinval & Biller-Andorno, 2014). There can arise some dilemmas, especially when allocating resources because the humanitarian aid is often a limited resource. As such most of the decisions to be made by the program are often based on the needs that are yet to be met.
A lot of measures still needs to be put in place especially in ensuring the safety of relief workers. Also, more people need to commit themselves to giving donations so that the different organizations can support the needs of their aid programs adequately. The supporting governments should pledge to support the relief programs regarding transportation and also providing security for the workers affiliated to the aid programs.
Clarinval, C. & Biller-Andorno, N. (2014). Challenging Operations: An Ethical Framework to Assist Humanitarian Aid Workers in their Decision-making Processes. Plos Curr, 10(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/currents.dis.96bec99f13800a8059bb5b5a82028bbf
UNICEF (2016) Humanitarian Action for Children - Philippines. (2016). Unicef.org. Retrieved 28 June 2016, from http://www.unicef.org/appeals/philippines.html
WFP (2016) The Republic of the Philippines | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide. Wfp.org. Retrieved 28 June 2016, from https://www.wfp.org/countries/philippines
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