December 2015

Merry Christmas from the Philippines!

As our President could witness after having spent the last period in the Philippines, Filipinos love Christmas. In fact, it is not uncommon to see Christmas trees along the streets already in September, or waitresses wearing Christmas hats and spreading artificial snow at the restaurant.

Surely one of the reasons this celebration is considered to be the most important in the country is the high percentage of Catholics living there, which is the highest among all Asian countries, reaching more than 80% of the total Philippines’ population.

However, even though Christmas habits in the Philippines have been widely influenced by western customs, the Asian archipelago still has its own way to celebrate it.

Simbang Gabi and Noche Buena are some of the most peculiar Christmas dates. The first one ushers the Christmas season in by opening it with a nine-day series of masses celebrated at dawn. In fact, this tradition originates from the rural areas, where in the past masses were taken at 4 o’ clock in the night because farmers would have not been able to participate otherwise, being December the harvest period. This custom still is observed also in the urban areas today, where people use to attend night masses.

On the other hand, Noche Buena is how they call the Christmas Eve party.

In this occasion, houses stay open for friends and neighbours popping in to wish a merry Christmas and eat one of the several tasty dishes are traditionally cooked.

A number of people consider the Philippines to have the world’s longest Christmas season… and Kito Onlus agrees! Merry Christmas to everyone!


Building Disaster Resistant Homes

As we already know, the Philippines are very prone to events such as typhoons, but also earthquakes hit the archipelago over the time: both the happenings can destroy houses and other buildings, among their terrible effects. Everybody can at least image the seriousness and hardship of loosing a home, but what if would it happen several times? This is the risk Filipinos take by rebuilding their homes without observing standard for disaster resistant houses, and this is what Kito Onlus is trying to avoid.

First of all, we are going to observe strict rules in the building of the new Health Center in San Francisco Camotes Islands in order to make it typhoons and earthquakes resistant. Secondly, we take the advantage of this opportunity to offering Preparedness Earthquake and Typhoons Trainings also to men involved in the construction: they will learn how to build earthquake and typhoon resistant adobes.


Building houses safer and sounder is an essential aspect of the disaster prevention, and Kito Onlus project will not only positively affect the response of the Barangays to disasters, but it will also give to these men an important skill they will be able to spend in several ways.

This project is part of the usual Kito Onlus’ Disaster Prevention Trainings. One of them was taken on December in an elementary school and included several demonstrations on how to behave in case of natural disasters.


The COP21’s conclusion

COP 21 finished on December 12th with the Paris International Agreement. It is an international not-binding agreement, which will enter into force from 2020 if ratified by 55 Countries producing at least the 55% of greenhouse gases.

The agreement represents a historical moment. In fact,  even though the distrust in the conference was widespread, the debates took place day and night coming to an unforeseen political compromise.

The agreement’s objectives are several. First of all, the limit temperature rise shall be 1.5°C, with a maximum of 2°C. It is recognized to the Parts the responsibility of implementing national plans of action, which is particularly important due to the fact that the climate change phenomenon has different impact on different communities, and consequently need to be treated using a local-based approach. The plans should be review every 5 years, but an international body to verifying their validity and results has not been set up.

Moreover, the “Loss and Damage” question, which refers to adaptation and climate mitigation in the most vulnerable countries, is included in article 8, and improves the already established L&D Warsaw Mechanism. Nonetheless, it will not be possible to use it in order to ask for a financial compensation to industrialized countries, which are considered to be the main responsible ones of climate change.

Considering the financing aspect, 100 billions are expected to be invested by developed states for the implementation of environmental policies, which is a number way higher than what has been invested till now.

Finally, the Paris Agreement undoubtedly came to an admirable result, but the discourse on its implementation still is open. Remarkable investments on green energy and renewable resources will be needed, together with a significant decrease in fossil fuels use. Above all, time will have a key-role: being fast in implementing these policies is inescapable.

To conclude, the consumer society’s style of living has to be revised, in order to draw a new path for safeguarding the future, or the mere existence, of the coming generations.


The Nona Typhoon

Its name is Melor, but it is commonly known as Nona in the Philippines. It is the last typhoon that hit the Asian archipelago, making landfall in Northern Samar on December, 14th. It is not the first time Philippines are hit by a typhoon in this period of the year, but what makes this event rare is that traditionally November and December are the beginning of the dry season. Since the number of such events has increased in the last years, it would be automatic to think that this is nothing else than an effect of climate change.

So, since they are always potentially and unpredictably in danger, the Philippines are improving their disaster management system, in order to be able to act quickly and efficiently in the evacuation and rescue operations (read this article).

Once again, the most interested area has been Northern Samar. In fact 724,839 people had been evacuated before typhoon Nona’s arrival, but the number of casualties still is uncertain. What is sure is that the Philippines’ inhabitants’ lives are constantly at stake.

Nona Typhoon

The second mission of the year!

Kito Onlus President came back from the Philippines, were she went for the second Kito Onlus mission of the year, just a few days ago. During her stay, she had the occasion of meeting up with ICLEI in Manila, which is an important partner of our Association, and interesting perspectives for a renewed collaboration have been discussed.

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She also visited Cebu and San Francisco-Camotes Islands. In fact, it was in this last spot that a welcome ceremony was setting up for her (click here), and where a new Health Center will be built. Indeed, Kito Onlus decided to invest Chiesa Valdese last donation in this new project, and Barangay Esperanza dedicated a space of 8.000 mq where the relocation spot for Tulang Diot inhabitants and the medical center will be placed.

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Kito Onlus is very excited for the starting of this new adventure!

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