As with so many countries around the world, the Philippines is on a lockdown in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Yet, thanks to your support of our relationship-building approach to peace, our teams are still in constant communication with villages across the island of conflict-affected Mindanao. The trust we have built over the past 13 years since this program started is key to our work in protecting civilians during COVID-19.
You have made it possible for our teams to act as a liaison between all groups involved in and affected by the fighting. This impact on cooperation and partnership is incredibly important to sustainable peace and a quick response in a crisis such as COVID-19. For example, for years we have been a key member of the partnership for peace in the Philippines. Now, using this same partnership that was set up for peace, people are rapidly responding to COVID-19.
Your impact is evident: rather than not knowing who to turn to when faced with threats of violence, and now the virus, communities know they can reach out to Nonviolent Peaceforce for support and open communication. Recently in one village, community members were staying home to stop the spread of COVID-19, but the government food rations had not yet arrived. The community members were not able to leave, but they were getting desperate for food. They trusted and contacted Nonviolent Peaceforce, and our teams were able to bring their message to the government, so they could bring food to the village safely. Communication is key to making sure people can access basic resources, especially during a crisis.
Thank you for standing with civilians in the Philippines, especially now.