Bringing Hope to Communities after Major Disasters : DEEL Project

Action plan project by HANDs! Fellows2014/2015 from Thailand and Philippines


The DEEL Project (Disaster Education through Experiential Learning)is an action plan established by JK Anicoche and Jen Culibar (the Philippines) and Panida Tancharoen (Thailand), three HANDs! fellows from the 2014/2015 period. The project is currently ongoing as the only action plan with participation from fellows from multiple countries.

Leveraging Fellow Talents

During the HANDs! study tour in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Japan that the three attended, the three hit it off and decided to combine their various experiences to create the action plan, which they were then able to implement.

The DEEL Project itself reflects the backgrounds of the three. JK is active as a writer, stage director, and performer, while Jen has experience as a social worker in international NGOs, and as a toy designer, Panida searches for ways to apply toys to solving social problems.

In addition to Jen’s experience in providing disaster relief, workshops under the project include dance performances by JK and disaster prevention games using toys created by Panida, resulting in a project with more creativity than is found in normal disaster prevention education.

The massive damage caused by typhoon Haiyan

The project has been held five times for the Santa Cruz section of Tacloban city on Leyte Island in the Philippines. The community was one of the most severely damaged by Typhoon Haiyan that struck in November 2013, during which there were approximately 8,000 people killed or missing throughout the Philippines overall.

Facing the ocean, the damage due to the massive eight meter tide to the Santa Cruz area was immense, and approximately 200 people in the area, or almost 20% of residents, lost their lives. Despite this, residents employed as fishermen continue to reside in the area. Jen, JK, and Plan chose the location to carry out the project because they felt that disaster prevention education for the locals was necessary for limiting the damage when similar typhoons occurred in the future.

Communicating disaster prevention knowledge through community leaders

In the project, Jen used her experience as a social worker to communicate information to participants on the care required for disaster survivors during and after disasters. Meanwhile, JK reflected on the changes in the awareness of the survivors by performing dances with the participants, while Panida ran games to increase disaster prevention awareness using the toys she created. The workshops, which lasted from around 9:00am to 7:00am each day, were carried out primarily for community leaders consisting of women and youths recommended by the community.

During the project held on February 21–22, 2016, Jen took the lead in sharing information about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and on psychological first aid.

Jen used craft paper to explain the UNCRC. Rather than teaching, she worked with the residents to think together about such questions as the definition of psychological stress, possible causes of stress during disasters, and how those might be dealt with, in order to reach conclusions that were beneficial for the community.

Following this, the residents carried out role playing after being divided into child and adult roles. Participants learned the importance of concisely and quickly providing information on children in the community to organizations tasked with protecting them, such as aid organizations and the police. One participant explained that “not many people understood this information when Typhoon Haiyan struck, so this project was very meaningful.”

The disaster prevention games created by Plan were well received at other implementations of the project, with participants saying that they “want to participate every time because the games aren’t difficult and you can learn while having fun.”

In April, residents were given the opportunity to present a hazard map, a map of evacuation routes, and a game they had created to their community. Thus the aim of the DEEL Project is disaster prevention edification and to communicate disaster prevention knowledge to the community via the leaders of that community.

The meaning of the community based approach
Ralph Martin P. Redona

Ralph Martin P. Redona, a university student who participated in DEEL, lost his father during Typhoon Haiyan. He participated as a representative of the community in order to change the situation that “almost nobody in the community has any knowledge about disaster prevention.”

Ralph explains that “In the Santa Cruz area, where many have not received a proper education, it is important for the young generation to learn first. Many residents will listen to what other residents have to say, so our future activities will be very important.”

The youths who participated intend to leverage the knowledge they learned through DEEL by giving regular lectures for the community on disaster prevention knowledge and carrying out drills to practice it.

The importance of post disaster care

Numerous rescue and aid activities were carried out in Tacloban by domestic and international organizations and NGOs after Typhoon Haiyan struck. Jen, originally from Tacloban, was working for Save the Children at the time and gained experience in rescue activities. However, regarding the conditions at the time, she explains that “it was difficult to gather the information needed for rescue and aid, and I saw many organizations were unable to operate effectively.”

Furthermore, Jen saw that because the disaster prevention knowledge and awareness of the locals was limited, the damage became greater, and made it difficult to carry out effective aid and rescue activities. Jen also heard that “there were members of aid organizations that demanded sex from children in exchange for emergency supplies”, adding that “in addition to preventive measures, post disaster care for the vulnerable, such as children, is also required in times of disaster.”

She explains that much of the disaster aid was temporary, and there are fewer aid activities that are still being carried out. Jen explains that “few aid organizations try to communicate disaster prevention knowledge in addition to providing temporary aid, so I feel that the DEEL project is very meaningful.”

DEEL Project

Participating fellows: JK Anicoche and Jen Culibar (the Philippines) and Panida Tancharoen (Thailand)

Location: The Santa Cruz Tanauan community in the Santa Cruz section of Tacloban city on Leyte Island in the Philippines

Project dates: Held five times between October 2015 and April 2016

Scope of outreach: Approximately 30 participants. Total community population is about 600 people.

Project Contents: Gamification, lectures, role playing etc.

Coming soon….

Like what you read? Give HANDs! PROJECT a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.