Asia West Pacific

COVID 2019:  How caring are interventions, really? 

By Kins Aparece

Carmela Ariza, a peace advocate and independent consultant, joined the Cultures of Peace Transforming Power Workshop Series.  Carmela invited Kins to co-facilitate with her a Do No Harm Orientation for the Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture (ISACC) Operations Team, because we understand that “aid is not neutral in the midst of conflict.” It was held via zoom on 29thApril 2020 from 9.50 am – 12:00 noon and 3:00-5:00 pm. We recommend everyone in the Friends Peace Teams community become familiar with Do No Harm

The eight participants were together in their office in Quezon City.  Carmela is based in Cebu City, while I am in Tagbilaran City. We gave instructions and inputs virtually. The participants went into small discussion groups and completed the workshop questions and activities. They realized that stopping was essential in their work.  Also, they needed to start checking if they could apply the Do No Harm Principle to their communities and themselves.  One participant realized how essential self-care was in becoming an effective front-line worker. 

When the Philippines declared Enhanced Community Quarantine, it restricted the movement of 12.8 million people living in Metro Manila. It was a move to contain the spread of COVID-19.  However, this strategy doesn’t fit well with the poor, whose livelihoods were stopped, causing hunger and distress. Moreover, rules on social distancing, nutrition requirements, and sanitation are too challenging for some people.

ISACC is one of the many groups that assisted in distributing relief goods to the most impoverished communities to cope with their lost income. They scheduled a Do No harm Orientation for the team to widen and deepen their understanding of relief services.  Support and assistance to the poor are now not limited to the distribution and delivery of goods.  If they genuinely commit to building direct relationships with the communities, they need to be guided with the Do No Harm principle.

The presentation of the output for feedback. Photo by: ISACC team