Women’s Rights, Protection and Resilience Network in the Philippines
The Women in Emergency Network (WENet) is a vibrant alliance of committed women human rights advocates and practitioners with a shared vision of working towards women-led and gender-responsive resilient communities claiming and defending the human rights of women and other vulnerable sectors in emergencies, particularly in disasters and conflict situations.
WENet is composed of 8 non-profit, non-governmental organizations and networks:
Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK) – (serves as the Secretariat)
Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights (LILAK)
Women’s Education Development Productivity and Research Organization (WEDPro)
Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA-Visayas)
Farmers Development Center, Inc. (FARDEC)
Pagtambayayong Foundation, Inc. (PFI)
Lihok Pilipina Foundation, Inc.(LPFI)
Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI)
We share a vision of women-led and gender responsive resilient communities claiming and defending the human rights of women and other vulnerable sectors in emergencies, disaster and conflict situations.
To engage with various stakeholders to increase women’s leadership, financing and humanitarian actions for women’s rights protection and resilience in emergencies, particularly in disasters and conflict in the Philippines.
The idea of organizing a collective movement for women’s rights protection and resilience emerged from the 24 months of key learning among ActionAid’s NGO-partners in Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) Response and Recovery Processes. These organizations worked in solidarity with most vulnerable women in 124 barangays in 12 municipalities of Leyte, Eastern and Western Samar, Iloilo, Northern Cebu and Antique. Over the 24 months of Yolanda response and recovery support, the organizations witnessed that:
Women are neither represented nor participating in various government structures (such as in DRRM, Bottom-up Budgeting, and Gender and Development budget and humanitarian planning and implementation;
Local organizations and communities have weak capacities on women’s rights protection in disaster preparedness, response and humanitarian action, mitigation, and adaptation;
Lack of women’s access to humanitarian services;
The DRRM plans are gender blind and women are excluded from its implementation. This is exacerbated by the weak gender mainstreaming in the DRR plan and budgets.
As such, a task force was created to commit and engage with member organizations to support deliberations on the key learnings and explore possibilities of developing a network to pursue the agenda for women’s rights protection and resilience in emergencies.
The Name: Women in Emergency Network (WENet)
In February 2016, the Women in Emergency Network (WENet) was born. This is a network of women’s rights advocates and practitioners partnered with Action Aid and who serve as a potential bridge between rights holders and duty bearers. It aims to serve as an effective and gender-responsive coordination hub among members.
WE NETWORK holds the following values at the center of their approach and as principles of engagement that will govern their work:
Hold the voices and leadership of the communities most directly affected at the heart of their processes and outcomes, measuring the impact of their work based on the changes in their lived realities
Focus on the issues defined by the community, especially by the women in poverty and exclusion, through their policy advocacy work
Center the voices of women and communities throughout the project cycle: planning, implementation and M&E
Habitually examine the ways the experiences, needs and issues of the most vulnerable (esp women, PWDs, children, elderly among others) are addressed in DRRM including emergency response
Respect cultural nuances and differences
Respect local knowledge and use as a guide in any programming
Work to increase dignity and decrease vulnerability, not only as an outcome of localized and individual dimensions like age, gender and marital status but as deeper relations with national and global powers who perpetuate institutionalized discrimination through multiple systems[i]
Be explicit in increasing resilience and strengthening protection mechanisms particularly when working with donors, partners and development workers
Ensure equal voice and decision-making powers between and among stakeholders
Accountable and transparent
Strive to share information regarding scope and scale of work, funding sources in order to avoid duplication, division and doubly burdening constituents. Partner members will work to support, enhance and add value to what partner organizations are currently doing
Be mindful of and recognize power relationships, even as it works in communities and within the Network
Ensure that decisions of the Network are a product of a negotiated process rather than an imposition when dealing with donors and other influential actors.
Centering a Human Rights Based Approach
Adhere to and advance the belief that “Women’s Rights are human rights”
Operationalize resilience and vulnerability from a rights-based perspective.
Integrate within all forthcoming disaster responses mechanisms that take into consideration human rights in emergency response situations, promoting rights-claiming process/mechanisms at the local and national levels.
Enhancing the capacities of the member organizations and vulnerable communities to disasters and conflict to promote women’s leadership
Influencing policies, programs, and practices on women’s rights protection, resilience, and climate justice
Improving the knowledge management system on women’s rights protection and resilience
Lobbying for increase financing towards women’s rights protection
Developing partnership and coordination among actors to enhance effective, timely and appropriate women-led responses in emergencies
Policy and Advocacy
Partnership and Networking