The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands
between the Philippine Sea and the West Philippine Sea (also known as South
China Sea), east of Vietnam. Located in the “earthquake belt” and “typhoon
belt” of the Pacific Rim, it is highly susceptible to horrific storms as well
as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides and more life-threatening
As a country with one of the highest birthrates in Asia, the
Philippines is home to more than 36 million children, more than a quarter of
whom live in poverty and are vulnerable to sickness, malnutrition and human
ChildFund has served children in the Philippines since 1971.
To ensure healthy beginnings for children in the Philippines,
ChildFund emphasizes the integration of maternal and child health, integrated
management of childhood illnesses and early childhood stimulation and development.
Now, more than 8,000 preschool-age children have greater access to
home- and center-based Early Childhood Development services. Trained community
volunteers use ChildFund-created health modules to train parents and caregivers
in responsible parenting and nutrition.
Poverty is a barrier against many children completing grade
school. Not all villages have secondary schools, and transportation costs are
high. Of the nearly 5 million Filipino children ages 6-24 who are out of
school, more than half of them fail to attend because they have to earn a
ChildFund’s educational assistance has kept in school more than
16,000 who had been at risk for dropping out. In partnership with the
Philippines’ Department of Education, ChildFund has also trained peer tutors to
provide support in science, math and English. School improvements have made for
more child-friendly environments, which also aid retention.
Combating Child Labor
About 60 percent of the nearly 5 million economically active children
in the Philippines are exposed to hazardous working conditions. The government
of the Philippines aims to reduce this number by 75 percent by 2015.
To support this endeavor, ChildFund joined with other partners in
a four-year project, called the ABK 2 Initiative, to reduce the incidence of
child labor in the Philippines by improving the quality, relevance and
accessibility of educational services. It also raises people’s awareness on the
risks and losses of human potential caused by the worst forms of child labor,
including sugarcane farming, child domestic work, commercial sexual
exploitation, pyrotechnics, mining and quarrying, deep-sea fishing and
scavenging. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, the ABK 2 Initiative aims
to withdraw and prevent 30,000 children from engaging in these activities by
ChildFund’s services for youth include livelihood initiatives, as
well as education on reproductive health, life skills and counseling — youth
are trained to go forth and share what they learn with other young people in
their communities. A task force that includes ChildFund and various Filipino
government bodies provides policy support and fosters a youth-friendly
community through dialog between young people and adults.