In observance of International Women’s Day and the Philippines’ National Women’s Month, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippines Mission Director Ryan Washburn visited Marawi City, Iligan, and Cagayan de Oro to highlight USAID’s partnerships advancing women’s and youth empowerment and gender equality, and aiding the Marawi recovery and pandemic response.
“In our work in the Philippines and across the world, one of the paramount ways we achieve development is by advancing the rights and expanding opportunities of women and girls,” said Mission Director Washburn. “When women have better chances of getting well-paying jobs, the economy grows. When more women are involved in negotiations, peace agreements are more likely to be lasting. When girls go to school, they are able to secure a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.”
In a Women’s Day event on March 8, Mission Director Washburn awarded the 1,000th microgrant of USAID and Plan International’s Marawi Response Project. The grant will help Pakaranon Women, an association of women volunteers displaced by the Marawi conflict, strengthen response to gender-based violence. Mission Director Washburn also handed over tilapia fingerlings to a USAID-supported milkfish and tilapia farming and processing facility that supports the livelihoods of people displaced by the Marawi conflict.
To support the region’s healthcare systems and bolster its pandemic response, Mission Director Washburn turned over COVID-19 supplies and adolescent reproductive health communication materials to the Lanao Del Sur provincial government. USAID is partnering with Catholic Relief Services to deploy mobile vaccination teams to geographically isolated areas and provide medical supplies to support the province’s testing capacity and treatment facilities. He also gave COVID-19 supplies to Cagayan de Oro’s J.R. Borja Public Hospital, which USAID has supported in both its family planning programs and COVID-19 response.
Mission Director Washburn also visited Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology, which USAID has supported with four research grants amounting to Php20.8 million; handed over materials to a USAID-supported Regional Inclusive Innovation Center, which helps drive local enterprise development and growth in Cagayan de Oro; and joined a mangrove planting youth civic engagement activity with USAID-supported Youth Development Alliance, which helps out-of-school youth in Cagayan de Oro.
Mission Director Washburn also met with local government officials to discuss key issues such as Marawi recovery, pandemic response, and energy security.
For the past 60 years, USAID has worked with the Philippine government and local organizations to achieve shared development goals, investing more than Php247.5 billion ($5.1 billion) to support the Philippines.