Fellows Lead Relief Operations for Typhoon Odette Victims

By Andy Alegre, Global Fellow from the Philippines

With support from Goldin Institute board member Nathan Shapiro, I joined forces with Goldin Institute associate Susana Anayatin to deliver critical food and supplies to 482 families who were impacted by Typhoon Odette in the Philippines.

Leveraging our local contacts and connections with the Humanitarian Order of Sierra Falcones, Inc. (SF), Eastern Samar Chapter, we were able to distribute 482 relief packages filled with food, supplies, clothes and toys to targeted households affected by Typhoon Odette (International name, Rai) in Barangay Lunas, Maasin City, in Southern Leyte.

Barangay Lunas is a small community affected by Odette within the overall area of Maasin, which has a population of 87,446. The city is one of the hardest hit by the typhoon in the disaster-hit region in the Visayas with power yet to be restored and intermittent communication service.

The SF members and volunteers were assisted by barangay officials in the distribution of relief supplies. The food and non-food items were prepared and repacked over a few days in Borongan City, Eastern Samar through the support and donation of various partners, organizations, individuals, and volunteers. These critical supplies were then loaded in a truck and sent to Maasin City. Coordination efforts were made by SF volunteer, Mr. Ariel Mendez of the Lunas Elementary School to the barangay council for the relief efforts.

The area remains in need of support even though the Typhoon made landfall back on 16 December 2021. It brought torrential rains, violent winds, landslides, and storm surges. UN OCHA reported on December 30, that over 6.2 million people were affected across 10 regions. About 580,000 remain internally displaced with 356,000 people staying in evacuation centres while 227,000 people staying with host families or friends. The total death count is 397.

SF continues to plan and coordinate relief operations to different areas through its members and volunteers located in various chapters. Apart from the ongoing relief operations, SF strengthens its education programs through book drives, provision of education materials and radio-based instructions to remote communities at this time of pandemic.

Again, thank you to the board and staff of the Goldin Institute, especially Nathan Shapiro, for standing with us in this time of crisis and rebuilding.


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Philippines Update: International Peace Day

 

[quote]Peace-building is a contextual paradigm. Whatever we learn and experience enriches our knowledge .... although it gets said frequently and sometimes casually, attending the Kerala Peace conference reinforced to me that in our every day lives, our actions can promote the words: MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH."[/quote]

 

In celebration of the 2016 International Day of Peace, The Goldin Institute Philippines partnered with two universities where I teach Peace Education: Mindanao State University and Catabato City State Polytechnic College.

This year to coincide with Peace Day, I was privledged to further my trainings as a Peace Educator by attending weeklong celebrations and instructional workshops In Kerala, India. The primary event was sponsored by the United Religions (URI) Traveling Peace Initiative.

One of the early highlights while in India, was taking part in an environmental awareness project to revive a local dying river on September 21st. 

During the same day as the river revival project, we joined the children of a nearby community school to celebrate the importance of the day with students and their teachers. The theme for this year was especially relevant in response to the call to save the Earth's natural resources - ensuring that the needs of the next generation are not compromised.

It was my honor to share the story of the Goldin Institute Philippines Access to Clean Water Project and our other Peace Advocacy projects, during a presentation to the URI and participants of the Traveling Peace Academy. Representatives from eleven countries were in attendance. During my brief comments, I highlighted our strategy on building grassroots communities through partnerships with direct stakeholders.

My colleague Jane Usop Abdul and I brought a tarpaulin collage, representing all our projects and community building activities in partnership with the Mindanao State University.  Our representative collage, along with others, was showcased on a main display wall. It was well received by the participants and organizers. The feedback was especially positive to the activities initiated by the Goldin Institute Philippines in partnership with my Peace Education students from the Mindanao State University and Cotabato City State Polytechnic Collage. The tarpaulin’s images served as talking points to highlight the student beneficiaries from the rural schools we serve in flood and conflict-affected areas , as well as orphans of the war. 

I am excited to have been invited to join the URI and look forward to the exchange of ideas and strategies in the sector of peace advocacy. I am especially honored because the Initiative has an international presence and a well-respected reputation amongst those who work in the inner-religious field. 

Breakout Sessions at the Conference: 

During sessions on Religion, Conflict Resolution and Transformation, I was also able to share my knowledge, experiences and teachings as a Peace Educator in the context of the Philippines. I was able to relate strategies and ideas on interfaith dialogue, environmental protection and building grassroot communities which I learned from my participation to various events sponsored by the Goldin Institute. 

Peace-building is a contextual paradigm. Whatever we learn and experience enriches our knowledge. The URI - Traveling Peace-building Academy offers great opportunities and resources where different religions and cultures engage and journey together to find a common ground for a dialogue towards peace. Although it gets said frequently and sometimes casually, attending the Kerala Peace conference reinforced to me that with each day, our actions can promote the words: MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH.

The following photos were taken during the Peace conferences at Kerala. I would like to thank my friend and colleague Jane Usop Abdul for use of those photos taken by her and also the organizers at URI for permission to include them here.   

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[img path="images/kerala_india2016/ariel_overview_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/award_at_dinner_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/awards_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/eye_for_eye_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/featured_tarp_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/formal_award_ceremony_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/fuller_riverceremony_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/group_wVic_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/jane_susana_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/kids_simplepeace_message_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/matthew_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/no_nukes_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/pro_environment_shot_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/susana_flower_parade_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

[img path="images/kerala_india2016/susana_girl_peacesigns_corex.jpg"]Kerala, India Peace Conference[/img]

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Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Philippines Update: Summer 2016

Global Associate in the Philippines, Dr. Susana Anayatin recently sent updates on the implementation of ten restored or newly installed Jetmatic Water Pumps in the South Upi District, made possbile by our partnership with Susana and her team in Manguindanao. 

In July, Susana expressed the challenges and obstacles to hitting their target goals and bringing the pumps online, but after the national presidential election which took priority for several weeks in the spring, and waiting out inclement weather that often washes out roads to the access points, Susana and her team were able to finish final installation at several of the sites, and complete new installations at others that had long been waiting to bring fresh drinking water to their students.

 

[quote]Our Election is over and rain has started to fall. This would mean that we can now proceed with our pending engagement with the World Food Program (on their Hunger Alleviation Program) and monitor the pumps previously installed in the schools affected by the long dry season. We have intensified our advocacy on environmental protection over the past months."[/quote]

 

For August, Susana has updated the project with the newest number of water pumps issued and either completely installed, or underway. These are reflected in the municipality section below in bold, but it is important to point out that with these new 39 schools, an estimated 16,509 students can be counted as now having access to clean water in this latest phase of the project!

 

[quote]We have targeted 40 water pumps for this year and I think we can still add 10 more units based on available funds."[/quote]  

With Susana's help (and Google Maps), we have been able to pinpoint the South Upi schools completed during this period and you can view them at our interactive map here. In the coming weeks, Susana will confirm the actual numbers of students and population being served by each completed water well - look for the growing number totals at our main page banner! We also continue to add new photos to each school that has had an opening ceremony to mark their new well coming online.

map banner for story

In addition to South Upi, below is the August 2016 status update to all of the municipalities currently being planned for future well restoration projects: 

1. Buldon:

As per confirmation with the PTA, TIC and district supervisor of the West District, Buldon is ready for installation. The PTA started digging for the installation of the hand pump. Individual schools which will be serviced in Buldon are waiting for the scheduled release of the materials. For the East District, the district supervisor will be confirming if the schools already prepared the needed counterparts. Update per August 2016: Seven units installed, bringing the total to 1,007 students benefited by our efforts in Buldon.

2. Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan:

As discussed with MPDC, final talks with the municipal and school administrators will be conducted and they have already extended invitations to the Institute and our volunteers to the handover ceremony. This will provide the opportunity for the Mayor to oversee the actual ceremony and allow for a photo opportunity of the actual installation in one or two schools. Schedules will be provided as they are confirmed. Update per August 2016: Nine units installed in Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan bringing total of students benefited in this region to 5,565.

3. Matanog:

The mobilization of additional materials and installation costs still needs to be discussed with the Mayor and the barangay chairperson. Discussions with the MPDC have already been made and met with their approval.

4. South Upi:

Per feedback from the district supervisor, the schools within the district are digging for the installation and as mentioned earlier, materials have been fully released and the process is underway. We are still waiting for further feedback from our colleagues that have been deployed to South Upi for verification on the status of the installation. With South Upi and all the municipalities, we will be updating the status of progress as we enter the next stages. Update per August 2016: Ten units (8 installed, 2 currently underway) bringing students served in South Upi to 5,369. 

5. Talayan:

Update per August, 4 units (2 installed, 2 currently underway) bringing the number of students served in this municipality to 1,408.

6. Sultan Sa Barognis:

Update per August, 9 units (8 installed, one on-going) bringing the number of students served in Sultan to 3,160.

 

[quote]Today we officially mark the turning over of installed water pumps to ten schools in South Upi, Maguindanao. Our partners on the ground here are the UN World Food Programme, Local Government, the Department of Education and several community volunteers."[/quote]

 

Dr. Anayatin Reminds us of the ongoing Conflict in Maguindanao:

The South Upi District is home to one of the most diverse populations in Maguindanao. Christians, Muslims and an indigenous peoples tribe called the T'duray all makeup the overall population. But being diverse, also has brought conflict - the same conflict that has impacted the entire southern Philippines for four decades. We continue to monitor the ongoing struggle for peace in the country, especially because as Susana has pointed out with each new effort to restore clean drinking water to another school, violence in the region makes the task that much more difficult to do.

But there is new hope in the Philippines. The International Crisis Group just released a report stating that "the southern Philippines is potentially closer to peace than at any time in the four decades since the Muslim insurgents started fighting for independence, but the substantial progress over the past six years is also fragile." Susana concurs with much of the ICG Report:

 

[quote]With the advent of new leadership in the country, as usual we are optimistic that changes will take place. The Peace Process requires a wait and see attitude ... but the Peace Pact signed between the MNLF and MILF are good working starting points. What is important at this time is to uphold the ceasefire agreement between the insurgent groups and the government. New approaches and strategies to achieve a sustainable peace must be the road map ... people are already tired of this four decades-long armed conflict; the longest now in the the world."[/quote] 

 

It is worth reminding all those who follow our progress in Maguindanao, that the ongoing effort to bring clean water to the schools and communities of the province, would have been a lot more difficult without the power of social media - and the support made possible by you. The generosity by those who support us as we continue to share our stories of struggle and progress online, are the lifeblood to what we do. Please share our progress with your friends and colleagues - join us in our fight to solve the water crisis in Maguindanao! 

 

[slide] [img path="images/Looy_for_map.png"]Team members check newly restored well at Looy Elementary School[/img] [img path="images/gunsi2.png"]Ceremonial opening of new well at Gunsi Elementary School[/img] [img path="images/kuya_for_map.png"]Volunteers prepare new well for ceremonial opening at Cuya Elementary School[/img][img path="images/Datu_Abolais_Primary2forsite.jpeg"]Susana, right in red cap, at Datu Abolais opening with kids[/img][img path="images/Datu_Abolais_Primary_turnover.jpeg"]Fresh drinking water is flowing at Datu Abolais![/img][img path="images/august_update_water.jpeg"]Volunteers test one of the newest pumps on location[/img][/img][img path="images/donation_gunsiforsite.png"]A new pump is readied for use in Mindanao, 'Golden' = 'Goldin'![/img][/slide]


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Philippines Update: Spring 2016


Our Global Associate in the Philippines, Dr. Susana Anayatin brings us up to date on plans for newly restored water wells in the four primary municipalities she and her team are working in within Maguindanao. 

Specifically, the commitment for the school year 2016-17 is to have ten fully restored water pumps in each municipality, for a targeted number of 40 total by the end of the school year. This is an ambitious plan, but in-line with previous years numbers.

To accomplish the goal, already in this calendar year, we have released installation materials to South Upi - the first of four targeted municipalities.

We are happy to report that those schools that have already been beneficiaries of the water pump restoration project in previous years, have seen the majority of their pumps still in good function and delivering clean water supplies to their communities. See the full map here

Below is a brief status update to each of the four municipalities: 

1. Buldon:

As per confirmation with the PTA, TIC and district supervisor of the West District, Buldon is ready for installation. The PTA started digging for the installation of the hand pump. Individual schools which will be serviced in Buldon are waiting for the scheduled release of the materials. For the East District, the district supervisor will be confirming if the schools already prepared the needed counterparts.

2. Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan:

As discussed with MPDC, final discussion with the municipal and school administrators will be conducted and they have already extended invitations to the Institute and our volunteers to the handover ceremony. This will provide the opportunity for the Mayor to oversee the actual ceremony and allow for a photo opportunity of the actual installation in one or two schools. Schedules will be provided as they are confirmed. 

3. Matanog:

The mobilization of additional materials and installation costs still needs to be discussed with the Mayor and the barangay chairperson. Discussions with the MPDC have already been made and met with their approval.

4. South Upi:

Per feedback from the district supervisor, the schools within the district are digging for the installation and as mentioned earlier, materials have been fully released and the process is underway. We are still waiting for further feedback from our colleagues that have been deployed to South Upi for verification on the status of the installation. With South Upi and all the municipalities, we will be updating the status of progress as we enter the next stages. 

 

[quote]The generosity by those who support us as we continue to share our stories of struggle and progress online, are the lifeblood to what we do."[/quote]

 

It is worth reminding all those who follow our progress in Maguindanao, that the ongoing effort to bring clean water to the schools and communities of the province, would have been a lot more difficult without the power of social media - and the support made possible by you. The generosity by those who support us as we continue to share our stories of struggle and progress online, are the lifeblood to what we do. Please share our progress with your friends and colleagues - join us in our fight to solve the water crisis in Maguindanao! 

 


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Interfaith Groups Work Towards Peace in Mindanao


This story summarizes the hopes of interfaith groups dedicated to building peace in the southern Philippines. These peace activists, including our friend Father Angel Calvo, continue to advocate on behalf of the peace process that would bring an end to the decades-long conflict between the Muslim and Christian populations of Mindanao.

The sentiment of those quoted in the story, closely reflects that of our Global Associate, Dr. Susana Anayatin. Although not in attendance at the gathering in Zamboanga City, Dr. Anayatin added her viewpoint:

 

[quote] I agree that Peace in Mindanao remains elusive despite our peacebuilding efforts. It is very complicated now because of the election campaign period and effects of the long dry spell. We cannot just preach peace to empty stomachs ... many people are hungry because they cannot plant food crops. Poverty in rural and urban areas increases. Issues of global terrorism attributed to Muslims is also affecting our peacebuilding efforts as some crimes committed here are allegedly committed by ISIS sympathizers. [/quote]

 

For more on this issue, and to see how Susana's work in rebuilding the water supply to school children and the wider-population of Mindanao goes hand-in-hand with furthering the peace process, visit our issues page here

 

 

 

 

 


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Philippines Accomplishment Report: 2015


The words driving our mission, Building Grassroots Partnerships for Global Change, were put into practice over the past year in the Philippines. And after another year building capacity in the southern Philippines, we can modestly say that we were successful in this endeavor, sustaining our presence in flood and conflict affected areas in Cotabato City and the Maguindanao Province. Through developing partnerships with local communities, the Department of Education, local government officials, and the Filipino military, the Goldin Institute was able to successfully implement the following projects from January to December 2015:

1. Access to Clean Water:
The Goldin Institute installed a total of 18 water pumps; (12) in public schools in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Province, (3) Division Traning School, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, (1) Cotabato City, (2) Markatz Orphanage, Sultan Kudarat.

2. Promotion of a Culture of Peace:
Part of gaining access to safe and clean drinking water is promoting an environment of peace in the community. The Goldin Institute Philippines accomplished this task by conducting a series of twenty lectures and orientations on a wide array of subjects. The 2,000 participants from various sectors and communities in Cotabato City and the Maguinadanao Province learned of environmental protection, gender and cultural sensitivity, alternative conflict resolution, and human rights. These lectures were integral to maintaining civil peace between the citizens and paramilitary forces, the root of previous unrest.

3. Child Soldier Prevention:
The four decades of armed conflict between the government and rebel forces in Maguindanao have increased the incidence of child soldiers amongst government and rebel forces. Children under 18 are forced to join rebel groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf, and government forces. Ordered by teachers or leaders to support a side of the conflict, it is not uncommon for students to disappear from classrooms. The Goldin Institute carefully advocates for child soldier prevention in the following ways:

  • Through our School Brigade, we distributed school supplies, hygiene kits, provided food, and free haircuts to 300 elementary students at Mother Kabuntalan, Maguindanao, for the start of the 2015 school year. We partnered with teachers, parents, military personnel and officers, as well as members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Goldin Institute is proud of the fact that, for the very first time, Filipino military and rebels worked hand-in-hand, face-to-face, to serve a future generation of leaders. Mother Kabuntalan is a place of both armed conflict and a region prone to natural disasters like floods. It is one of GI’s adopted “Schools of Peace” in the Philippines. We provided schools in this region with water pumps, conducted peace seminars for parents, teachers and students, and facilitated the construction of brand new school buildings equipped with six classrooms, which was funded by the Japanese Embassy.
  • Since September of 2015, Dr. Susana Anayatin’s graduate students from Maguindanao State University (MSU) initiated a visit to Markaz Aytam Orphanage in Gang, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The orphanage consists of 280 male Muslim war orphans ranging from seven to eighteen years old. The Goldin Institute provided them with food and sports equipment and took the opportunity to survey their needs, such as hygiene, sanitation, food, dormitory repairs, and availability of water facilities. GI provided (2) water pump units as well as infrastructure repairs to make sleeping arrangements more comfortable. Dr. Anayatin’s graduate students provided provisions for rubber slippers as most orphans were bare-footed during the initial visit. Through a generous American donor, a set of garments are being sewn for each orphan during prayer.

Dr. Susana Anayatin with members of the military

This project would have been a lot more difficult without the power of social media. After sharing our stories of struggle and progress online, we were assisted with basic needs for the children, both by government and private sector donors. These needs included bedding, dormitory repairs, medical and dental assistance, food, and some television sets for the children’s enjoyment.

Reflecting on our accomplishments for 2015, we can humbly say that we were effectively and carefully able to impact the peace process in Mindanao. Through our local grassroots movements, we hope to continue this progress and contribute to offsetting the impact of climate change.


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

The Water Ladies of Navajo and Mindanao


Perhaps we like this story so much about one woman making a difference by bringing fresh water to her extended community, because it reminds us of our own global associate working in similar ways for her own people.

Both Darlene Adviso and Dr. Susana Anayatin share the common goal of ensuring that those in their communities without clean water don't continue to fall through the cracks of government bureaucracy. They both have taken matters into their own hands to serve a population that has been largely overlooked and forgotten. 

Recently, CBS News featured Darlene and her story of driving a water tank truck daily to deliver clean water to those in the Navajo Nation near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Shockingly, an estimated 40% of people living there do not have access to clean water. They have to bring water into their homes bucket by bucket, because even if their homes are plumbed to bring running water in, they are off the 'water-grid' and there isn't a supply even available to them. Much of this is because Indian water rights were an after-thought to agreements between the U.S. government and the Navajo Nation and the only water that they legally have access to is 'ground-water'. Complicating the issue, are accessibility challenges, because even at 600 ft. deep, much of the water underground is contaminated by uranium. Engineers and dedicated non-profit leaders are working on a solution to provide a system of water to the population that will go deeper – deep enough to make sure that the water supply will be drinkable and clean for in-home use. This could be years away and until then, Darlene makes her daily rounds in her water truck to bring her community the water it needs to sustain life.

Akin to the Navajo clean water issue in New Mexico, the Goldin Institute's own Dr. Anayatin has cut through bureaucratic red tape and assembled those in the community on both sides of the civil-conflict in Mindanao, to work together in restoring safe drinking water to elementary schools serving both the children who attend and the communities at large in these rural areas. Just like Darlene and her water truck, Susana and her team have found a way to get around obstacles and negotiate a harsh environment and often harsher political climate, to make a difference in these communities. Susana and her story are profiled at our new microsite which can be found here.

Although one woman is in the southwest U.S. and one is in the southern Philippines, Darlene and Susana are connected by the common mission they share and the passion they bring to helping their communities. 

Darlene Adviso in New MexicoGoldin Institute's Susana Anayatin in Mindanao, Philippines

 


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Water on our Mind

Water Crisis Declared in Mindanao

Officials of Butuan City in restive Mindanao have declared an unprecedented "state of water crisis" after more than a month of severe water shortage that has affected the lives of the more than 200,000 residents.

As the story reports, this crisis was brought on by the last natural disaster that struck the southern Philippines in December, the tropical storm "Seniang."

Our own Global Associate, Dr. Susana Anayatin continues to bring clean water to residents and school children in the same region, by maintaining the water wells restored by the Goldin Institute in recent years. We will continue to monitor the official announcement from Butuan City with Susana and post up-to-date developments on how she and her community is being impacted by the current crisis. The interactive map demonstrating our work with Susana in the region can be viewed here

Clean Water Not Just an Issue in the Philippines

In Zambia, this recent story points out their own crisis. Over 5 million people are thought to be without clean drinking water. Directly from the piece, WaterAid country representative Fatoumata Haidara commented on the how this impacts Zambia:

 

[quote]A lack of sanitation is a public health issue as people are affected by their neighbours and communities' sanitation status as well as their own. The implications of not improving access to clean water and good sanitation will have a spiral effect on all the other sectors such as health and education."[/quote]

 

In a related story, a public health consultant furthers the case that sanitation efforts would lead to cleaner water on the African continent and cites the serious challenges that need to be addressed:  

Africa has the lowest water supply and sanitation coverage of any other region in the world. It is estimated that one in three Africans has no access to improved water or to sanitation facilities and the number of people lacking those basic services is increasing. The majority of those lacking basic services live in informal or suburban areas and rural communities. Unless actions are taken now, the absolute number of people lacking basic services will increase from 200 million in 2000 to 400 million in 2020.

New Standards Being Set - New Breakthroughs Being Made

The Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation or (JMP), recent research published online, recommends a new standard for how "we measure progress toward universal access," said Jamie Bartram, the Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the Water Institute. "Drinking-water and sanitation are essential for good human health and the benefits are maximized when delivered at home." See more on this story here.

And in this recent editorial by a former U.S. policymaker and physician, Bill Frist speaks to 'clean water as a currency for peace' and why we should legislate towards helping achieve clean and safe water around the world:

 

[quote]In my own experiences as a physician regularly leading medical mission trips, I am constantly struck that providing medical assistance and public health services to others is interpreted as a currency of peace and ultimately as an aspect of public diplomacy. Our assistance to other nations in these areas seems to accelerate in impact when it provides tangible benefits to everyday people. The Water for the Poor Act has been proven."[/quote]

 

Finally, we found this story about a Haitian-American janitor at Princeton working singlehandedly to help bring clean water to his home village. Here is an excerpt from the full piece

water shortageAs a young boy growing up in La Source, Lajeunesse and his brother Chrismedonne would make the treacherous three-hour climb up and down the side of a mountain to reach a spring. It was the only way they could get clean water for their family. They watched as their fellow villagers got sick from drinking contaminated water from the river below or injured themselves climbing the mountain trying to do the same ... it was after the 2010 Earthquake that he would take action, and Lajeunesse raised $38,000 with students at Princeton to build the pipeline that would bring clean water to La Source. Raising the money was only the beginning. Building the pipeline would prove immensely challenging and take the strength of the entire village to accomplish. Yet eventually, it came to be.


Goldin Institute grassroots social change

Pope Francis and the Philippines

Pope Francis Supports the Peace Process in Mindanao

Although scheduling constraints prevented a direct visit to the Southern Philippines, Pope Francis made it clear that he endorses the ongoing peace process between the government and the Philippines' largest organized armed group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  

This came as very good news to our Global Associate Dr. Susana Anayatin, who has made it her work as one of the region's premiere peace activists to build and connect communities in Mindanao wishing to end the decades-long conflict. 

His Holiness Pope Francis gives the Apostolic Blessing during the General Audience of senior Government Officials and members of the Diplomatic Corps at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace for the State Visit and Apostolic Journey to the Republic of the Philippines.<br>Photo Credit: Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau

Despite recognition of the accomplishments and hopes for an ultimate end to the conflict, in recent days there has been an uptick in violence between the National Police (PNP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This new outbreak in the southern province of Maguindanao, threatens passage of the Bangsamoro law, which many leaders feel would aid in bringing an end to the conflict. More on the current violence and the details of the law at jeopardy can be found here.

As always, we will continue to monitor the situation and provide insight from Dr. Anayatin directly.