In the course of its work in the Philippines, the World Food Programme has crossed paths with many women who have shown strength and leadership in their respective communities in order to achieve Zero Hunger. This March -- Women's Month -- be inspired by their stories.
Lizpeth Nicolas - Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Officer
Lizpeth leads the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office of the Municipality of Juban, a fourth class municipality in the Province of Sorsogon, Philippines. She started the disaster risk reduction office of Irosin from the ground up, with disaster preparedness response activities in partnership with WFP and the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Lizpeth brings Irosin closer to Zero Hunger as she and her team help vulnerable families become more resilient in coping with possible hazards in their community such as typhoons, floods, and volcanic hazards.
“For me, being a woman is not a hindrance to my position as the Disaster Risk Reduction Officer; rather, it is an advantage. Women have proven themselves to be adept at planning, decision-making, and other initiatives so we are not left out, we show strength. Now, we have gained respect. No one disobeys especially since we push for the general welfare of the people. My advantage is that I know my work and I know the characteristics of each barangay(village) when it comes to disaster risk reduction and management.” – Lizpeth Nicolas
Nimfa Ferolino - Municipal Agriculturist
Nimfa heads the Municipal Agriculture Office of the Municipality of Irosin in the Province of Sorsogon, Philippines. She led the development of the Climate Resiliency Field School, where they help give technical agriculture and climate information to the farmers in Irosin. With her leadership, farmers are closer to Zero Hunger as they become more resilient and have increased rice yields.
"Being a woman has been a huge advantage to this project because I, in turn, help encourage more women farmers."
“Being a woman has been a huge advantage to this project because I, in turn, help encourage more women farmers. Women are no longer confined in their houses. Instead, they now assist in the farming activities. We currently have 30% women farmers, but I would like to see an increase in women’s participation because if you take a look at it, mothers, women, are the ones that support the family. So women become more empowered once they are part of development.” – Nimfa Ferolino
Evelyn Alibadbarin - School-in-Charge, Tomicor Elementary School
Evelyn has been school-in-charge for nine years in Tomicor Elementary School (ES) in the Municipality of Ampatuan, Maguindanao. As the school-in-charge, she helps lead the school children towards Zero Hunger through the school feeding programme in partnership with the World Food Programme, the Department of Education, and the Parent-Teacher-Community Association. She has also steered the school to excel in several competitions with other schools in Mindanao.
“Most of our students walk three hours to get to school since they live about four kilometres away. The school feeding programme encourages them to come to school. At present, we have zero dropout rate. The provision of daily hot meals also results to active participation of students in class and because of this, our school has been able to join various district and division competitions with other schools. We are also proud to say that in Tomicor ES, our students’ reading performance is very good and last year, we were the top performing school for Mathematics during the National Achievement Test in Mindanao!” – Evelyn Alibadbarin
Archie Judal, Julie Cubo, Concheta Oronan, and Marivic Panocial - Women Seaweed Farmers, Bantay Dagat Organization
Women seaweed farmers of the Bantay Dagat Organization work together towards Zero Hunger by securing their livelihood in Barangay Simbuco in the Municipality of Kolambugan, Province of Lanao del Norte. Seaweed farming, supported by WFP and the European Union, is an alternative source of income for the community aside from fishing. It provides steady communal income for the women and their families which they spend on food and their children’s schooling. In addition to growing seaweeds, the women also actively participate in the mangrove reforestation project to help protect their village’s coastline.
“Through seaweed farming, I can now ensure that there is food on my family’s table every day and can support our other needs like my children’s education. Aside from that, I believe that we are all responsible in protecting our seas and oceans because this is where we get our food and source of our living. In our own little way, we joined the mangrove association so that we can continuously plant mangroves as part of marine protection.” – Archie Judal, beneficiary of Cash-For-Assets (Seaweeds Production Training) and participant of Food-For-Assets (Mangrove Reforestation Project)
Edna Junio - Provincial Administrator
Edna started work in the Provincial Government of Cagayan as a social worker in 1973 and rose through the ranks until she became the Provincial Administrator. She is also a professor who teaches social work in a local university. Under her helm, Cagayan prioritized disaster preparedness and response in the province, in partnership with WFP. Edna brings the Province of Cagayan closer to Zero Hunger as they help their constituents cope with disasters through capacity building trainings, early warning systems, and improvement of disaster response facilities.
“Being a woman is an advantage. Women have a certain kind of charm to mobilize people and a nurturing and caring attitude. As a teacher and a provincial administrator, I noticed an increase in women students in terms of social work and women who are attending trainings like leadership trainings. So maybe they see in some of their women leaders that women can do something, maybe even better than men in some fields.” – Edna Junio
Perla Visorro - President, Cagayan Valley Partners in People Development
Perla is the President of the non-government organization Cagayan Valley Partners in People Development (CAVAPPED). Under her leadership, they have organized socio-economic development initiatives in various municipalities in the Cagayan Valley region, which brings these communities closer to Zero Hunger. One component of CAVAPPED’s programmes include community-based disaster preparedness and response programmes with WFP and funded by USAID/OFDA.
“We are engaged in rural development work to assist the marginal families, depressed communities, and indigenous peoples from the coastal areas up to the upland areas. In the course of pushing for rural development, we have seen that it’s important to include the biodiversity conservation and environmental protection dimension because it is the resource base that, once depleted, will give people difficulty in survival in life. When you speak of socio-economic development activities, we have done the gamut of that. From reef to ridge, and from ridge to reef, so to speak.” – Perla Visorro