To address anxiety and stress related to the outbreak of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched a series of training programs for house parents and social workers to benefit 1,607 children in some of the Philippines’ residential care facilities (RCFs).
JICA, in partnership with Japanese non-profit organization A Child’s Trust is Ours to Nurture (ACTION), is working to build the capacity of workers in RCFs on anxiety management and in teaching children how to cope as part of interventions to support children during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has severely affected residential care facilities for children. With a widely-documented increase of cases of abuse and exploitation, many RCFs should currently be running on or above full capacity. This is expected to have adverse effects on both the residents and house parents. This cooperation with JICA will provide necessary interventions to help this sector in the context of the ongoing pandemic,” said Hajime Yokota, president and founder of ACTION.
The webinar-trainings were partly based on an existing house parenting standards manual that JICA, ACTION, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) developed from 2013-2019.
About 489 house parents, who are trained professionals supervising disadvantaged children in RCFs, joined the webinars.
For the past nine years, JICA, ACTION, and DSWD have been working together to support at-risk children through capacity building projects for house parents in RCFs.
JICA Senior Representative Aya Kano said by working closely with different stakeholders like government agencies and Japanese organizations like ACTION, “we can all play a pivotal role to protect vulnerable sectors in these challenging times.”
Aside form the training, JICA has also actively supported the Philippines in recovery efforts as it earlier disbursed a JPY50-billion COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support to support the Philippine government in addressing the pandemic and revitalizing the economy.