Aid workers --- stories of humanitarian workers (Mahja)
Meet Mahja, a Community Development Facilitator from Plan International Philippines, and a real-life hero for many communities.
With the humanitarian aid sector also gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mahja is among those enduring its brunt.
With over 7 years spent as a humanitarian worker, she admits that the current global health crisis has posed new and huge challenges in her work.
“As a community development facilitator, my work revolves around interacting with people, building relationships, and listening to communities. I need to have a deep understanding about the issue or problem in a community so I can recommend and work on the right interventions,” shares Mahja.
With local travel bans, country-wide implementation of community quarantine and other COVID-19 restrictions and measures in place, Mahja is faced with unforeseen roadblocks to reaching the communities she serves and delivering essential services to those who need them the most.
Mahja is part of the North Cotabato Earthquake Response team. Being disaster survivors, the communities they serve are having it worse as the pandemic continues to increase their vulnerabilities and exacerbate the impact brought by the series of earthquakes that hit Cotabato in 2019.
Mahja knows that now more than ever, they cannot leave these communities behind. “We have to overcome the challenges and think of new ways for our interventions to reach communities,” says Mahja. “It is when crises like this happen that humanitarian workers like us are needed the most.”
Strictly observing preventive measures and physical distancing protocols, the North Cotabato Earthquake Response team was able to continue and even strengthen their interventions. Working with local governments and partners, the team was able to distribute hygiene kits and provide multi-purpose cash assistance to earthquake- and pandemic-hit families. Read the full story here: https://plan-international.org/blog/2020/08/what-it-takes-be-communitys-reallifehero-during-covid-19