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Photo credit: Mercy Corps

News and
Case Studies

Humanitarian relief & emergencies

28 Sep 2022

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world: it sits on the Pacific “rim of fire” – a volcanically active earthquake zone – and is prone to devastating tropical cyclones that, often in rapid succession, disrupt livelihoods and damage homes and basic infrastructure. This results in frequent and protracted internal displacement (5.6 million people were displaced in 2021 according to IOM’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Service), disproportionally hitting the most vulnerable, including women, children and indigenous communities.

ECOWEB provides these highly vulnerable communities with support that responds to short term needs and builds longer-term resilience through a survivor/community led response model, putting communities in control of programming that affects them, emphasising the power of partnership and the importance of dignity.

The Vitol Foundation made a grant to ECOWEB in the aftermath of the Category 5 Super-Typhoon Odette/Rai that swept through the Philippines in December 2021. The trail of destruction caused over US$500MM in damage and affected over 10.5 million people. ECOWEB responded by distributing micro-grants to formal and informal community groups to meet their immediate needs. In this way, groups representing over 5000 households were able to access resources in many cases weeks before any formal aid could reach them. With their knowledge of local markets and their collective bargaining power, households could procure what they required in the short term, quickly getting back on their feet, and they were then able to use wider national and international aid to recover destroyed livelihoods and repair damaged infrastructure.

The ECOWEB model is particularly suited to working at scale and preparedness in the face of climate change, by promoting collaboration and partnership among local and national organisations and with local authorities. The active participation of communities in decision-making about allocation of public funds enhances accountability.

Since the Typhoon Odette/Rai response, the foundation has committed to a two year programme, in partnership with other funders, to expand ECOWEB’s survivor/community led response approach to support the continued recovery of communities and as a tool to respond to future events, most recently Severe Tropical Storm Nalgae/Paeng.