June 2016

International Day in support of the victims of torture

Today, June 26, is the international day in support of the victims of torture, established by the United Nations in 1997; an occasion to condemn torture, commemorate victims, support survivors and, in general, to highlight the importance of the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, entered into force on the 26th of June 1987. Even though 30 years have passed since then and despite torture being prohibited by customary international law – binding also on members of the international community who are not part of a treaty that explicitly prohibits torture –, this practice is still widespread in many countries.

In the Philippines torture is a pressing and topical issue. In 2014 Amnesty International publishes the report “Above the law: police torture in the Philippines”, documenting how torture and other inhuman and degrading treatments  perpetrated by the police forces are actions widely subjected to impunity, even though the country has ratified international instruments such as the Convention against torture and its Optional Protocol and at the national level torture is prohibited by the 1987 Constitution and recognised as a specific crime under the Anti Torture Act of 2009.

Nevertheless, this year something has changed and it’s worth remarking it today: on the 29th of March 2016, the Panmanga court, located in the north of Manila, passed a judgement against the police officer Jerick Dee Jimenez convicting him for the crime of torture perpetrated against Jerryme Corre (you can read his story here). The first conviction of its kind appears as a sign that things are moving towards the end of impunity.


© Amnesty International. Above, Jerryme Corre.

Banilad school: a new project on its way!

“What do children, poverty and natural disasters have in common?” asks the readers this article published by Rappler; the answer is: “far too much”. The report “Education Disrupted” (2016), recently released by Save the Children, agrees with it and points out how in the Philippines, like in the whole Asia-Pacific region, children are often denied their right to education because of natural disasters: schools get damaged, even destroyed and used as evacuation centers, and not always DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) policies are as much financed and supported as necessary. Still, protecting children’s right to education is essential because it benefits not only children themselves, for instance by defending them from exploitation, but communities as a whole, also from an economic point of view.
Supporting the population by paying particular attention to children and their right to education is what Kito Onlus intends to do in Pinamalayan Town, municipality located in Oriental Mindoro (Philippines) and affected by typhoon Nona in December 2015 (we talked about it in our articles here and here). Last March Kito’s President, Paola Vecchiato, was present in the Barangay Banilad in order to evaluate the project of reconstruction of 3 classrooms of the Banilad school, destroyed by the typhoon, in order to fasten the restart of school activities and to guarantee educational continuity to 275 children attending the kindergarten and the primary school. Considering that the building is located at about 15 km of dirt road from the city, a distance that prevents local aids to reach the school, Kito’s support is particularly welcome. Moreover, this project is a Cash for Work one,  offering a temporary job to the members of a community hit by natural disasters in order to permit them to earn money and be in the meantime active part of the the reconstruction phase that follows a calamity.

scuola baniladbambini banilad

Kito Health Unit: a successful project!

It has been two years now since the Kito Health Unit was donated to the Barangay Sagayad of San Fernando la Union (Philippines) and the general evaluation is very positive. Thanks to the statistics and data we receive every month from the local BVW (Barangay Volunteers Workers) staff we are able to constantly monitor the medical structure. From an analysis of data collected between March 2014 and March 2016 we can now evaluate the impact of the project on the direct beneficiaries.

The most interesting data concerns the higher percentage of healthy children, increased from 66,53% to 73,11%, and the lower maternity rate, especially among teenagers, decreased from 0,76% in 2014 to 0,29% in March 2016. These two pieces of information are correlated: in the developing countries, less numerous families are usually more able to provide food for every family member and, as a consequence, it is less probable for each of them to get sick. The Kito Health Unit aims at supporting this trend by the promotion of Family Planning through birth control.

It is true that malnutrition is, apart from the number of family members, a common issue in the Philippines, as already outlined in this article. Data collected in the last two years and concerning the most diffused diseases in the community confirms this fact, by putting hypertension, influenced by lifestyle, at the first place of the list; researches conducted by Kito Onlus also pointed out the spread of bad eating habits among the Barangay’s population. In order to do something for that, during the next months the Kito Health Unit is going to focus on the organization of lectures and courses regarding a more healthy lifestyle.

Keep on following us for news!


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We are making progresses!

As it was planned, the construction of the Health Center in the island of San Francisco (Camotes Islands) managed to reach the top before the raining season begins. Scaffoldings were removed on the 27th of May 2016 and next week’s activities will focus on the paving; the construction of the septic tank has started as well. Once the Health Center is operative, it will be the medical point of reference for people in the Barangay Esperanza, the most populated and vulnerable community of the island, that lacked of such a structure.

Progresses apart, if you are interested in knowing more about how the idea of building an Health Center was born, find it out here!



Philippines are among those countries most affected by natural disasters so that particular attention in devoted to the construction and reconstruction of buildings, in order to make them resilient when typhoons or earthquakes occur. In the Philippines using light materials such as wood, bamboo and straw is very common but it increases structures’ vulnerability.
In order to face this issue, Kito Onlus organized a Typhoon-prone Construction Training in the Barangay Esperanza (a barangay is the smallest unit of local government in the Philippines)  of San Francisco in the Camotes Islands, consisting in 2 afternoon-sessions last March. This training was meant to be not only an informational meeting, but also a theoretical and practical course useful for those working in the field of building construction, and those willing to build or re-build their home making it safer and more resilient to those events such as typhoons. Paola Vecchiato, President of Kito Onlus, Marcelo Roslinda, Yes Construction’s engineer, and Gary Muana, Operations and Warning Officer of the Disaster and Risk Reduction Office in San Francisco participated as speakers.

In order to properly involve the community of Esperanza in the project, 2 representatives of every Purok (district) in the Barangay were asked to take part in the training sessions; in this way, the rest of the community could have been easily informed by them about the content of the course. Nevertheless, all the participants (21 farmers and fishermen and 5 skilled workers) have been invited to share their knowledge with family and friends, once the training was over.

training martelliThe typhoon-prone construction training showed a high degree of participation, thanks also to the group-works there organized. It was noted that sometimes participants need to be encouraged to expose their doubts and to ask questions and it is important for the speakers to keep in mind that the audience may be unfamiliar with certain topics, so that nothing should be given for granted. During the last part of the training participants filled in a questionnaire in order to test their understanding of the topics and finally everyone received nails, hammers and a certificate of participation.

Kito Onlus is very satisfied with the outcome of the training and hopes to keep playing a significant role in making the communities of the Philippines in which it works less and less vulnerable.

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Paola Vecchiato, President of Kito Onlus, and Marcelo Roslinda, Yes Construction’s engineer, explain how to build resilient structures.

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