Manila Water Foundation, DSWD partner on WASH for Nutrition
Manila Water Foundation (MWF) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an important partnership for Filipino children.
On September 14, MWF President and Manila Water CEO and President Jocot de Dios and DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian formalized the start of the synergy of support to highlight the importance of water access, sanitation, and hygiene in communities to prevent stunting among children — an irreversible condition which affects not just physical growth but cognition and brain development.
In the same event, DSWD signed an MOU with Gawad Kalinga to tap their communities of volunteers.
WASH for Nutrition supports the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project which aims to increase the utilization of a package of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions known to reduce child stunting in target local government units.
Children stunting and hunger due to extreme poverty are the complex issues that the country is faced with. Thus, more synergies need to be formed around the components of the solution such as access to proper clean water and sanitation facilities that are crucial investments for improved health and nutrition.
DSWD Sec. Gatchalian shared that they are revitalizing the strategies for ending the problem. “The department cannot end hunger and stunting by itself. We want to turn the fight into a movement where all of us are going to take arms and put in our best initiative to once and for all make a dent on the number of stunting, an issue we have faced for almost 20 years,” he stated.
An ally for transformative change through WASH
MWF, along with its private and public sector partners, has been at the forefront of delivering positive change for communities and institutions through programs on water access, sanitation, and hygiene or WASH and the environment.
The goals for WASH are realized through the construction of multi-faucet hygiene facilities, safely managed sanitation facilities, and hygiene advocacy campaigns.
In his message, DSWD Secretary Gatchalian shared that he saw MWF as a valuable project partner. “When I went to the League of Corporate Foundations event and I saw the award being given to you, I intentionally sought the table of Manila Water (Foundation) because I know for a fact that you will have a very big role to play in one of our key programs, the PMNP,” he said.
WASH for Nutrition will support the KALAHI-CIDSS program impacting 12 regions, 26 provinces, 235 municipalities, and 5,936 barangays in the country. MWF will be providing technical assistance to understand the WASH needs of priority communities with high incidences of malnutrition and child stunting.
“We are very happy that we are partnering with Manila Water Foundation on the technical side of it, our communities will probably get the grants but sometimes they would not know to use it properly, not for lack of desire to do so but simply because of lack of technical know-how and that is where I think Manila Water will come into play,” Gatchalian added.