The Philippines: In Cebu, carpentry graduates rebuild homes

fisherman rebuilding a home
Raymond at work rebuilding a home in Cebu after Typhoon Haiyan. (Photo: Anna Mae Lamentillo and Lesley Wright/UNDP Philippines)

For as long as he can remember, Raymond Rodrigo has been a fisherman. Until recently, he relied on the sea off the northern coast of Cebu Province, one of the Visayas islands in the Philippines, to support his family of six.

Highlights

  • UNDP will help train more than 1,500 people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in carpentry, masonry, electrical wiring and plumbing to rebuild their communities
  • Each graduate will be provided with a tool kit and a National Certificate that they can use for future employment
  • The training scheme is part of UNDP’s total Haiyan programme, which will cost US $18.7 million, with contributions from the governments of Australia, Ecuador, Japan, Kuwait, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the Philippines, as well as the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and UNICEF.

But since Typhoon Haiyan struck the region in November 2013, Rodrigo, like most of his friends and neighbours, hasn’t put out to sea. Ninety percent of the boats in Daanbantayan municipality, where he lives on the northern tip of the island of Cebu, were destroyed, including the boat he shared with other fishermen in the area.

The storm also destroyed his home – and with no work, no income, few marketable skills aside from fishing and young children to feed, Rodrigo and his family have struggled.

“When our house was destroyed, we were all disheartened," he says." We were almost hopeless. There weren’t any jobs available”.

But a UNDP scheme is beginning to turn his life around. Recently, a friend told him about a UNDP training course that is teaching communities some of the skills that are now in high demand because of the reconstruction effort. He immediately applied.

“Now, because of UNDP, not only am I able to help, [with the reconstruction effort] but I’m also able to earn a living through carpentry,” he says.

In partnership with the provincial and central government, the UNDP scheme will eventually provide training and skills to more than 1,500 people from 15 different municipalities in the areas of carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring, and stone masonry.

Rodrigo was among the first group of 100 graduates, to finish the 20 day course and complete three model shelters. Graduates of the training were also provided with a tool kit specific to their competency and a National Certificate that they can use for future employment. The programme is expected to run until the end of 2014.

“This effort is part of UNDP's programme to support recovery and resilience in the Visayas," says UNDP Country Director Maurice Dewulf. "By expanding income opportunities, we help people and their communities become less reliant on a single source of income and thereby more resilient against future shocks."

The results of the project have already begun to show. While 95 percent of houses in Daanbantayan were partially or completely destroyed, the signs of recovery are now clear. Graduates from the UNDP programme have been hard at work helping to rebuild, repair, and rehabilitate their own homes, and eventually contribute to the rebuilding of the damaged community infrastructures in their area.

“If it weren’t for UNDP, we wouldn’t have addressed the shortage of skilled workers," says Augusto Corro, mayor of Daanbantayan. "Looking back, we didn’t know how to deal with the demand considering the magnitude of the damage.”

Along with the other 100 other graduates, Rodrigo is now in line and will receive priority when applying for government reconstruction jobs related to his training.

"Six months since Typhoon Haiyan destroyed my home and work, I have been able to not only rebuild my home, but I have also been able to help build new homes for other survivors as well," he says.