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The Philippines

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF (LWR) has been working in the Philippines since the 1960s, reaching rural communities struggling to overcome poverty and marginalization. LWR’s current programming supports communities in Mindanao — the southernmost major island in the Philippines, where chronic armed conflict and limited opportunities for economic improvement have led to high levels of poverty — and the Visayas, an area severely affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Working in partnership with local organizations, we implement programming with a focus on agriculture and food security, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, emergency operations and peace building.


LWR uses Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) approaches to improve food security and increase income for smallholder farming families in the Philippines. We work to strengthen farmers’ resiliency to natural disasters and maximize food production for consumption and market by training farmers in livestock management and adopting environmentally sustainable practices for land cultivation and restoration.

LWR works with farming communities to better include them in the agricultural value chain for cash crops and products including abaca, cacao, coconut, vegetables, goats and poultry. We help farmers organize and join producer associations so they are better able to improve crop productivity, create value-added products and access new markets. We also engage association leaders in organizational management and collective marketing training so they are better equipped to advocate for local government support of agricultural development activities.


The Philippines is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries for natural disasters due to climate change and its geographic location in the Pacific Ring of Fire and Typhoon Belt. LWR promotes Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) in coastal fishing communities by supporting marginalized fisher-folk in diversifying their income sources, effectively managing the natural resources that provide their livelihood, and strengthening the collective bargaining power of People’s Organizations (POs). In Mindanao, LWR has worked with local fisher folk and municipal governments to establish fish sanctuaries, mangrove forests and conserve endangered marine species.

Working within the local barangay structure, LWR has helped establish several Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committees. LWR has assisted these committees in identifying potential risks, developing community-based disaster plans, and implementing strategies to minimize community vulnerability to disasters.


LWR helps communities experiencing poverty and marginalization to cope with and recover from emergencies in ways that promote lasting improvements in people’s living conditions. LWR has responded to several major emergencies in the Philippines, including Tropical Storm Washi in 2011, Typhoon Bopha in 2012, and Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Our response programs have included shelter rehabilitation, cash-for-work activities, the distribution of Quilts & Kits and commodity vouchers, Quality & Accountability training, early recovery and livelihood rehabilitation programming, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities. Since late 2013, LWR has been responding to relief and longer-term recovery needs of families and communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Visayas.

LWR believes strongly that those affected by disasters have a right to life with dignity, the right to receive humanitarian assistance, and the right to protection and security, in line with the Humanitarian Charter. Therefore, LWR provides appropriate and effective services to the communities we serve and is accountable to these populations, as well as donors funding our work. Since 2011, LWR has been the official Sphere Focal Point for the Philippines, convening trainings and leading an alliance on Sphere standards, conducting audits of Sphere adherence during emergencies, and participating with the Sphere community regionally and globally.