In 2012, USAID launched the five year, $22.5 million Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program to help the Philippines conserve biodiversity, manage forests, support low emissions, and contribute to disaster risk reduction in seven protected areas in the country.
Joy*, 49, lived a basic, comfortable life in the remote, rolling hills of Ormoc City in the central Philippine islands. She and her husband made coconut wine and sold two barrels a week to support their family.
Fisheries help fuel the Philippine economy. The country ranks eighth globally in fish production, but overfishing caused the fish population to decrease by 90 percent in the last five decades. Meanwhile, 40 percent of Filipino fishers live below the poverty line. Poor and vulnerable, feeding their families is a daily trial.
In a field dominated by women, Jacinto “Ancing” Managbanag, 31, is among the 1 percent of male midwives in the Philippines, where about 11 women die every day during childbirth. He is one of the nearly 750 private practicing midwives that USAID trained there in maternal and child health between 2009 and 2013.
Mayor Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela City, located in the Philippines’ Metro Manila region, is a champion of improving children’s reading skills, especially since a National Achievement Test in 2011 revealed a citywide 20 percent drop in literacy among sixth graders.
Last updated: May 19, 2015