A new ILO-Japan project will focus on community-based water supply development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The US$2.6 million (¥300 million) project aims to reduce poverty in areas prone to conflict. It will help organize communities, provide skills training, create jobs, and promote better working conditions. Local communities will be involved in developing, constructing, operating and maintaining water supply, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
“Using a peace lens, the project will reach out to returning combatants, vulnerable youth, indigenous peoples, and women and men displaced and vulnerable to conflict. Water is life and the project focuses on providing one of the most basic needs – safe and reliable water supply,” said Khalid Hassan, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.
Despite having vast water resources, the majority of households in the ARMM still have inadequate access to safe water. Most communities are vulnerable to water-borne diseases, with many poor families still relying on unprotected and contaminated water resources.
In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), only 53 per cent of families have access to safe water. This is lower than the national average of 85 per cent, based on 2016 data from the Philippine Statistical Authority.
Most communities are vulnerable to water-borne diseases, with many poor families still relying on unprotected and contaminated water resources
The new ILO-Japan project will improve community access to safe and reliable water supply for domestic consumption and agricultural production. The project will construct water supply and recovery systems using local workforce.
Over 1,800 workers and almost 12,000 households in conflict-affected communities will benefit from the economic activity entailed by the one year project. The project will integrate environmental standards and conservation measures promoting green jobs and providing immediate income.
The project will also contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation, and Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth.
Over the years, the ILO has developed and applied practical tools in marginalized communities to generate jobs, improve living conditions, transfer skills and enable access to livelihood opportunities. This year, the ILO also marks 100 years of advancing social justice and promoting decent work. It will build on its vast experience in water supply infrastructure development not only in the Philippines but in several other countries.
The ILO-Japan project will complement other peace and development projects of the Japanese government in Mindanao with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Economic and Social Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Japan is a key partner of the ILO in the promotion of social justice and decent work, especially in the Asia and the Pacific region. The Government of Japan has a longstanding cooperation with the ILO dating back to 1974. In the Philippines, the Government of Japan has supported a number of projects including on disaster response, sustainable livelihood, peace and security, local economic development, social protection, and human trafficking.