Ardy, 44 years old, lives in Carles, a municipality famous for its rich fishing grounds. Ardy used to earn money by planting and selling bananas in the local market. He also bought fish from ports and sold it in their community for a higher price.
But Ardy lost both means after Typhoon Haiyan hit. All banana trees in his backyard were uprooted.
“After Typhoon Haiyan, I did not have any money left to continue my business. I had to work as a manual labourer for a government housing project. I used the money from that job to keep my two children in school and to repair our house,” Ardy said.
“I stopped reselling fish for a while because I needed to find enough money for the business capital. When I finally saved some, I continued to buy and sell fish for a living,” he added.
“Every morning, I take a 15-minute motorcycle ride to buy freshly caught fish. I usually buy two different varieties of fish, and when money is quite good, I buy three. I then sell them at a higher price in my community because we are quite far from the coastline. Most of the time, my neighbours find it difficult to travel to other barangays [community], and since I own a motorcycle, reselling some fish in our community has been a good source of money.”
According to studies conducted by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and World Food Programme (WFP) in the Visayas region, including Panay, during the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan in 2013, a total of 1,167 households were assessed as low income households. It was also found out that Estancia and its neighbouring municipalities are among the most vulnerable communities within the affected populations of the typhoon.
“Most families here in our barangay find it hard to look for stable livelihood, like me, most of them either work as contractual labourers, or depend on farming. I heard about the livelihood project of Save the Children from our local barangay [community] leaders. They told us about the criteria and told me that I can apply. I knew that the cash grant from the project can help me improve the quality of life that I am giving my children. I immediately applied to the program, and when I was chosen, I eagerly participated in every workshop and trainings, knowing that these will help me in in improving my livelihood. I have four children, two of them did not finish their studies, and they now work as contractual labourers in a nearby housing project, while the other two are still in grade school. My two sons are helping me cover our day-to-day expenses since my wife left us and no longer visits me and the kids. It’s really hard to raise four children alone, and now that Save the Children and the Big Lottery Fund has given me money for the capital of my buy and sell micro business, I think that life will be easier and better for my family.”
The project, Building Sustainable Livelihoods and Resilient Communities, aims to enable 2, 500 typhoon-affected household beneficiaries to protect and restore their livelihoods, as well as to expand and diversify their livelihood practices, and build resilience to future hazards. The project aims to provide households with assets, skills and financial training, building their social capital, and increasing their awareness of reproductive health services and disaster risk reduction (DRR) to help to improve their standard of living and empower them to become more resilient to future disasters. Ardy is one of the 1,250 household beneficiaries that the project has helped in its first year. The project aims to reach and additional 1,250 household beneficiaries residing in the areas of Panay by 2017.
“Since I received the 10, 000 peso (around USD 200) cash grant, I was able to continue my fish business, but now I buy them in bigger quantities. Before, I could only afford to buy at most, three varieties, now I am buying five varieties of fish every day. My neighbours are very supportive of my livelihood, aside from the fact that I am the only one who sells fish in our barangay, I think my neighbours buy some fish because they know that this will help me provide for my children. I was able to earn 20, 000 pesos (around USD 408) after several weeks of receiving the first tranche of the cash grant that amounted to 7,000 pesos (around USD 143). This means that if I am to set aside 7,000 pesos for my capital, I have gained a total of 13, 000 pesos (around USD 265) in a few weeks’ time. This is actually the biggest earning I had since I started to buy and sell fish. Most of my earnings always go to our day-to-day expenses, food, and my children’s school allowance and school projects. I also used some of my savings to buy a television set for my children, because they used to go to our neighbours to watch some TV shows, and I have also bought a storage cabinet where we put some of our clothes and important documents.”
“The training and workshop that I attended helped me understand more about my livelihood. Before I joined training, I did not know how to properly calculate my earnings and how to separate it from my business capital and savings. Under Save the Children, I learned that it is important to have a budget for my family’s savings and separate it from my expenses and business capital so that we will still have money for emergency purposes. We were taught during training that we should have a journal where we would list down our daily cash flow. This way, I am able to closely monitor where my money is going, and since I cannot read and write properly, I ask some help from my children and my sister to help me record my daily cash flow. For me, the workshop and training like financial literacy, and business management, are very important in improving my livelihood because they have improved my skills and understanding on how to keep my livelihood resilient and effective."
By 2018, the three year project aims to directly support 2,500 household beneficiaries from 60 barangays. Aside from this, the project also aims to indirectly support the whole population (at most 51, 000 people) of the 60 covered barangays, as the project plans to improve each barangay’s capacity and plans of disaster risk reduction management, improve ability of health workers to increase awareness of reproductive health services, and improve the barangays’ early warning systems.
“I thank Save the Children for helping me and other families who are in need. I am really glad that I was able to be a part of this because it helps me provide for my children. As a father, I don’t want my children to experience heavy hardship in life, and I am thankful that I can now buy what I couldn’t give them before. Our lifestyle has really improved because of this livelihood project, and I promise that I will continue to work hard for the sake of my children and their future.”