Stories of Health Champions: Health is the Priority
Gloria, 19, is processing her passport and work papers in Metro Manila when the Philippine Government declared a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At a young age, she seeks work opportunities abroad to support her two-year-old son and her parents. Trapped in the capital region, Gloria decided to go home to her family in Sultan sa Barongis (SSB), Maguindanao. Later on, through the HBCC project, she became one of the Mum's Magic Hands (MMH) Champions.
Before the HBCC project, Gloria is a nutritionist in SSB. The lack of knowledge on proper handwashing and improper disposal of garbage leads to the surge of diarrhea and fever cases, particularly among children. A positive change happened when the HBCC project, a COVID-19 response, was implemented in the community.
"The project significantly affected the decrease in the number of fever cases and elimination of diarrhea cases reported from the 4th quarter of 2020 until to date. People learned about proper handwashing and segregation of trash."
Gloria is one of the ten MMH champions in the community. Every MMH session in the community, her confidence in teaching increases.
"Before, I am embarrassed to speak in front of a crowd, but through the MMH intervention, I am now encouraged to teach more."
As an MMH champion and a nutritionist, Gloria hopes that women choose to be leaders in the community and share their knowledge.
"I am happy with the project because this is the way I can help my community. I hope there is a second part of this project."
Gloria is willing to suspend her plans on working abroad to assist her community in having a healthier and safer environment.
###This story is written by Princess Taroza and is part of the UNILEVER/DFID Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) Project implemented by Oxfam, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), United Youth of the Philippines - Women (UnYPhil-Women), and Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS, Inc.) in Maguindanao.
Gloria Dagandal, one of the Mum's Magic Hands (MMH) champions, facilitates the kids for the HBCC session at Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao. (Photo: Princess Taroza/Oxfam)
Sayr Unti, one of the students in Dar Al-Ziker Holy Qur'an Memorization Center, volunteers for the proper handwashing at Shariff Saydona Mustapha. (Photo: Princess Taroza/Oxfam)
During the HBCC session, Gloria Dagandal, an MMH champion, teaches Johanna Sarip the importance of handwashing using the HBCC storyboard at Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao. (Photo: Princess Taroza/Oxfam)