MANILA – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with Japanese non-profit organization A Child's Trust is Ours to Nurture (ACTION) distributed hygiene kits to benefit almost 2,000 children and personnel in Residential Care Facilities (RCFs) in the Philippines.
These RCFs under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), non-government organizations, and local government units care for disadvantaged children. The partnership aims to boost frontline RCFs in continuing its services to vulnerable children during these difficult times from the pandemic.
The hygiene kits, that include thermometer, alcohol, bath soap, multivitamins, washable masks, and disinfectants, were distributed to RCFs in Region 3 and National Capital Region (NCR).
"With widely documented increase of cases of abuse and exploitation, many RCFs should currently be running on or above full capacity. This is expected to have adverse effects on both the residents and house parents. This cooperation with JICA will provide necessary interventions to help this sector in the context of ongoing pandemic," said Hajime Yokota, President and Founder of ACTION, Inc.
The project includes capacity building of house parents as well as social workers on hygiene and sanitation management as well as stress and anxiety management. The project is part of the JICA Follow-Up Survey Scheme under its Technical Cooperation for Grassroots Project that involves Japanese organizations, academe, or citizens in international cooperation.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned that the COVID-19 context has increased risk factors on the prevalence of violence against children. Further, ongoing lockdowns and other restrictions worsened the vulnerability of children globally.
In the Philippines, about 80% of Filipino children have been at risk before COVID-19 (Save the Children, 2016) and the number is seen to rise because of the current uncertainties from the pandemic.
JICA, ACTION, and DSWD have been working together for the past nine years to support at-risk children through capacity building projects for house parents in RCFs.
As COVID-19 pandemic triggered health crisis and other socioeconomic challenges all over the world, JICA has also actively supported the Philippines in recovery efforts. Aside from the support to vulnerable sectors, JICA also earlier disbursed a JPY50-billion COVID-19 Crisis Emergency Response Support to help the Philippine government in addressing the pandemic and revitalizing the economy. - PR