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The joint initiative is envisioned to enhance the health, protection, wellness and other complementary support to conflict-affected and displaced Bangsamoro women and youth to empower them to effectively participate in sustainable and resilient agricultural livelihoods and better their lives.


Metro Manila, The Philippines -- UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have signed a partnership agreement to jointly implement the “Resilient Livelihoods Development for Women and Youth Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maguindanao” project, an initiative that will provide enhanced health, protection, wellness, and other complementary support to conflict-affected and displaced Bangsamoro women and youth to empower them to effectively participate in sustainable and resilient agricultural livelihoods. The project is supported by the Australian Government.

The agreement was signed by Dr Leila Joudane, UNFPA-Philippines Representative, and Ms Kati Tanninen, FAO Representative in the Philippines, on 12 April 2022 and witnessed by Mr Thanh Le PSM, Counsellor for Development of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.

Under the project, UNFPA and FAO will provide IDPs with agricultural inputs and technologies, as well as skills training to enable conflict-affected women and youth to establish and effectively run agriculture-based livelihoods or enterprises, as well as collaboratively build their capacities to improve their access to the appropriate protection and social support services and safely implement agri-enterprise development activities. The two agencies will also work with relevant national and local government entities to promote and develop gender-responsive, inclusive, and culturally sensitive policies and approaches to community-based disaster risk reduction and management, with the aim of building the resiliency of communities, boosting local food security, and safeguarding agriculture-based livelihoods and enterprises.

“This initiative highlights the importance of joint programming among Philippine-based UN agencies and is in line with the peace and development plans of the national government and that of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” said Ms Joudane, emphasizing the significance of the partnership and the initiative.

“We cannot attain true and lasting peace and progress without engaging women and youth. And this requires that women and youth be appropriately capacitated to be effective agents of change. To this end, we thank the Australian Government for supporting this important initiative,” she added.

“FAO is proud and honored to work with UNFPA, Australia, and our partners in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in this initiative that will benefit more than 1,500 conflict-affected households in Maguindanao,” said Ms Tanninen.

“This joint initiative is testament to our continued and unwavering commitment to working hand-in-hand with partners to help achieve true and lasting peace and development in Mindanao by supporting conflict-affected communities to get back on their feet by building sustainable and resilient agriculture livelihoods”, she added.

In response, Mr Le said that Australia is proud to support this initiative, especially that it exemplifies regional equity, which is absolutely necessary if conflict-affected and displaced communities are to move forward.

“I am particularly impressed by how this project is structured to deal with the various layers of vulnerabilities in the affected communities. We are looking forward to what this initiative will accomplish,” he concluded.

Local partners in the initiative include the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), the Ministry of Social Welfare and Development (MSSD), and the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the BARMM regional government, as well as local NGOs in Maguindanao.