Recovery after Typhoon Urduja – Philippines

It is now 1 week ago that we flew by plane to Samar, city Tagloban and from there by bus to Biliran. It is a place located at the foot of the mountain, right on the beautiful ocean. During the ride I enjoyed the beautiful country, but it is also an island that is hit by typhoons every year. In particular typhoon Yolanda (2013 – 6,340 deaths) and 2017 typhoon Urduja (2017 – 27 deaths) left a lot of damage.

The project

Our destination was the 6 Barangays that are part of the PhilRads project: recovery from the effects of the typhoons. Our share – starting up small businesses – is financed by Dorcas in the Netherlands. 150 people participate in the project, under the supervision of 6 local pastors. The goal is to set up 30 companies (livelihood centers).
The unique thing about this is that each business is “owned” by 25 members and 2 to 4 people are the executive staff. Keeping in mind that a growing company can offer work to more people in the future. The members invest their share of the capital in the business, are in any case already customers and exert a positive pressure on the staff of the joint company.

How it came about

The project was set up together with Pastor Dante Sonido. His desire is to also tackle poverty, precisely in that area that suffers greatly from the ever-returning force of nature. In consultation with the local churches and leaders of the villages, and through the selection of participants, there is now a group that is committed to tackling poverty.

The strong point is that the 6 (5 female) pastors are so motivated and have transferred this to the participants. Each of them is responsible for 5 livelihood centers and also functions as a coach, for which they have followed the training for coaches of MBC. They have invested an enormous amount of time so far.

The business plans

The purpose of this visit was to train pastors to coach the businesses (Paul Casuga and Nick), and also to evaluate 10 business plans (Bronno and Nick). We were able to finalize the 10 business plans through individual discussions. We had to ask some of them to conduct another market survey. But in the evenings and weekends they worked hard together with the pastors, to get it ready on time.

What are the expectations for the future

When the 30 business plans have been completed (end of September), a first group of small businesses will start. The investment is a donation from Manila. This donation is made available to the companies as an interest-free loan, so that the next one can start after repayment (revolving fund).

A project like this is disaster recovery and will be completed by the end of this year. Then it is completely handed over to the local leaders. We would like to guide this project for a few years in starting up and running the businesses, so that the investments come back and can be used again for others. Also because in other disaster projects without further guidance, sometimes nothing remains.

Report in 2019 from Bronno Mulder, Foundation MBC in the Netherlands.