An initiative for smart humanitarian aid.
START HERE... is an international network of events that aim to raise funds, foment dialogue and build awareness for the long-term problematics of the triple disaster in the Philippines.
Supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda)
12 million people affected, especially in the areas of Northern Cebu, Samar and Leyte islands in the Visayas.
Bohol Island Earthquake
1.3 million people affected in the Visayas.
Zamboanga City Siege
100,000 people affected in Mindanao.
START HERE... is a think-and-do tank that collaborates to create long-term aid programs focused on shelter and livelihood for the over 13.4 million people affected by all 3 disasters.
A list sent by health workers on Bantayan Island. They needed to restock basic items at the local pharmacy of Madridejos. This list has since been covered by private donations.
2) EMPOWERING LOCAL LEADERSHIP
(TWO-WAY, EAST-WEST COLLABORATION)
There is a chain of well-known frustrations in the disaster response community: "first" aid pours in, western systems or pet technologies are set in place, local leaders feel slighted, uninvolved or unappreciated, uphill battles ensue, international aid pulls out after 12 months, the systems set in place fail to take root. What may result is a growing communication barrier between east and west, with each side carrying unresolved grievances into the next disaster situation.
START HERE... believes that Eastern knowledge is as valuable as Western, moreso because it comes from an innate understanding of complex local situations: from environmental to social to logistical. If international aid is to succeed in empowering communities in crisis, it must partner with locally-grown initiatives, businesses and leaders by giving them an equal place at the work table. So that tailor-made solutions, and not one-sided impositions, can be implemented with lasting effects.
Another list by Tacloban journalists who wish to resume their professional activities. Contact us at office[at]officeocd[dot]com to send cash or gear directly to these journalists.
3) BEST PRACTICES IN THE POLITICS OF GIVING
(SMART GIVING VS. BINGE GIVING)
Giving without knowing exactly what a disaster-affected community needs, the social or lifestyle nuances that donations must fit within, or the impact that aid will have on local economic or political structures is not the best approach. Everyone giving immediately, instead of scaling donations over time to ensure distribution over the mid and long term, can be wasteful. (For example, surplus aid can negatively affect local economies in ways similar to illegal price-dumping of goods, as explained by Walden Bello in his book The Food Wars.) Giving without understanding why we are giving, or to whom we are giving, breeds misunderstanding. What may result in donors is a culture of binge-giving prone to narcissism or fed by misinformation. What may result in recipients is a culture of an aid-dependence rooted in opportunism or steeped in servitude.
START HERE... understands that goodwill and generosity can backfire if not accompanied by due diligence research into the local situation. START HERE knows that would-be donors want to be informed—as much as field workers and survivors want to share information—but that it is not easy to find information sources that are comprehensive and easy for non-humanitarian workers to understand. This is why START HERE has chosen to compile information that puts forth a straight-forward local approach to disaster response in the Philippines. So that "smart" giving and "seamless" reception cycles may take stronger root.
Lists. Make one. It's the best way to start solving a huge problem. The power of the pen is something we strongly believe in.
More lists that have been filled. Town hall repairs for a small barangay and home repairs for 24 loom-weaver and 5 fishing families, all earthquake survivors from Bohol.
Many more families are still in need. Contact us at office[at]officeocd[dot]com if you are a human being that wants to make a personal and direct contribution to families from Tubigon, Bohol. We are just the middle men. All private donations go directly and in full to those affected.