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Annual Report 2017 – Kito Onlus’ activities

As those who have been following us during the latest year may already know, 2017 was a year rich of activities for Kito Onlus, and you can read all about it in our Annual Report 2017, available here!

From the report emerged that the work done by Kito Onlus was really satisfying.

The Kito-Health Unit in San Fernando la Union continued to carry on its prevention programmes with the help of the Barangay Volunteer Workers and the Municipality and in 2017 it offered support to 2,286 patients. In 2018 the Kito HUT will be operative in another Barangay, still in San Fernando, with the aim to help a community more needy of sanitary assistance. Given the great results reached by the unit during the years, there is no doubt that the presence of the Kito HUT will consistently improve the life conditions of its new patients!

At the beginning of the year Paola Vecchiato, Kito Onlus’ President, went on a mission in San Francisco in the Camotes Islands and on February 7 the Kito Health Center was inaugurated and officially donated to the Municipality. Thanks to the Open Hospital software, realized by Informatics Without Borders and installed on the computer of the center, it was possible to monitor the activities of the structure. Moreover, in line with the objectives of the project, the software was also able to simplify the daily duties of the medical staff, by registering patients, pharmaceuticals and medical treatments.

Finally, the reconstruction of the Banilad elementary school made many progresses! The contribution we received by the OPM Waldensian Church was essential to permit us to re-open the construction site and thanks to the collaboration with Architects Without Borders we could benefit from the help of volunteer Anna Orlando, present in Banilad for the last months of 2017 in order to supervise and manage the construction works.
By the end of October Anna was temporary reached by Paola Vecchiato and in this occasion a construction training for the volunteers workers of the construction site was organized.

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There were also some activities realized in Padova! Three Aperikito Plus, a photo exhibition, a Christmas dinner…they were all events aimed to promote Kito Onlus’ work, to collect funds, to create and keep a wider network of donors and supporters, which is what permits Kito Onlus to keep on working efficiently.

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Part of the funds collected in 2017 is devoted to our new project in Caldarola (read about it here) that is going to start in 2018…what else to say then, this year as well will see other interesting projects on their way, so stay tuned!

RECONSTRUCTION WITHIN THE ANTIFRAGILITY. Contribution of our Field Assistant Anna Orlando

The reconstruction of the Banilad elementary school starts in 2016, when the ruins of the affected structure are demolished and the foundations and the rebars of the columns are positioned. With the beginning of October 2017 Kito Onlus opens the construction site again and I, Anna Orlando, Architect and building Engineer, am called to work in this project as volunteer and member of Architects Without Boundaries. At my arrival  in the Philippines, I find that the vegetation has wildly taken over the site and the exposed rebars attacked by salt. I feel the loss of hope of people that live every day the village, the community, the school: while Kito Onlus works under papers and faces complicate bureaucratic procedures worthy of any acrobat, the mothers of the village bring their kids to school passing by the same unchanged scenario. It is necessary to explain to the community our efforts from the other part of the world in order to help them, to rekindle the enthusiasm in the community and the energy sufficient to start all over again. Let us open, let us start!

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Anna and the kids of the Banilad school

What do you need to ‘make’ a building site? You need material, workers and means, but you also need a lot of patience and, especially in developing Countries, you need the consciousness of the impossibility to follow a precise time line, a precise organization. A lot of times you find yourself in complicate situations, that seem impossible to solve and you wonder how this can be, since you have programmed everything in detail so well. In such cases all you can do it giving it time. You sit down and wait that everything that you organized find its time to exist, happen and materialize. Because everything arrives sooner or later, and everything at once, the materials you ordered, the camion of sand donated by the Mayor, the coconut wood, nails, cement. In the meantime I go to the classrooms “Hi, I am an Architect, I come from Italy, tell your parents to come and help”. And it so wonderful when they actually arrive, and work and laugh. The volunteers are so many that it’s moving. And they are shy at first, but then they keep on coming back. You tell them that if you work all together the school will grow faster. And while you are working with all of them you understand that you are not only building a school, but also relations and contents.

I had the opportunity to enter in contact with a lot of people during the building site, all lumped togetherby a constant support. One of these people tells me: “Kito Onlus came all over from Italy to help us, the minimum we can do is to help you, as far as we can”.Thanks to this boost the school has continued to grow till now, both during my presence in October and November and during my absence in December, despite Christmas vacation and the resteless rain that fell like glass plates. Back here in January I found againroutine,family,friends and a population able, with a incredible naturalness and unawareness, to get through catastrophes. Here in the Philippines they talk a lot about resilience. Maybe the Filipino population more than being resilient, is antifragile: « The antifrigile under the stress it transforms and increases its capacity to respond to the events. the resilient merely withstand a shock but the antifragile actually improves because of it». (Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2012)

-Anna Orlando, Architect and Building Engineer, Kito Onlus Field Assistant

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Anna and the Mayor of Pinamalayan Aristeo Baldos Jr.
IMG-20171102-WA0001 Anna and Paola Vecchiato, Kito Onlus’ President

#MeToo, #TimesUp: a significative 2017 for women’s rights and gender equality

#TimesUp is an hashtag which is enjoying much popularity on social media these days and it is also the name of an organization founded by over 300 women of the show business and having the aim of paying the legal expenses of those women who decide to report the aggressions they were victims of, while also protecting them by the consequences of such a choice. The association aims also to be a pression group lobbying for laws that provide for penalties for the companies which tolerate sexual harassment and discrimination. Before #TimesUp, #MeToo as well had gained international popularity as a denunciation movement following the case of Harvey Weinstein, the producer accused of sexual harassment  by many women in Hollywood. Me Too became then a social movement which was entitled as “Person of the year” by the Time magazine.

Indeed the whole 2017 was marked by important moments for women’s rights and gender equality worldwide: from the women’s march on January 7, to the adoption of a domestic violence law in Kyrgyzstan on April 28, to the decree adopted on September 26 in Saudi Arabi to permit the women to drive. UN Women made a list of all the most remarkable dates here!

At the light of all of this, it seems a good opportunity to renew now Kito Onlus’ commitment towards women’s rights and gender equality.  The attention given by the organization to the feminine part of the population in the communities it works is a constant of its activity and it starts from the acknowledgement that women are in many Countries in a position of vulnerability, especially when they belong to certain economic levels. Here, for instance, we talked about how in the Philippines the poorest women are the most hit by climate change and at a higher risk of violence. Kito Onlus always tries to promote women’s social and economic emancipation, by giving them important roles in the development of the projects. It also pays particular attention to women from a sanitary point of view, by establishing programs for maternal health and family planning. These are all ways to put women in full control of their own lives.

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A new challenge for Kito Onlus and Architects Without Borders Veneto!

Following the earthquakes that violently hit Central Italy in August and October 2016 the municipality of Caldarola, in province of Macerata, ended up severely damaged. 60% of the urban territory  was declared red zone and the whole community was shocked. Gladly there were no victims but over 800 (on a total amount of of 1,900) local inhabitants were forced to move to hotels on the coast of the Marches, being impossible for them to keep living in Caldarola.

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Today the situation remains complex in Caldarola, not only from a material and a structural point of view but also on a social level and for every age group. Because of the seismic events elderly people lost what they have been building during their entire life, younger people were forced to find a better place to live in and for what it concerns the youngest kids it is enough to remember that they have a container instead of a kindergarten.

Since the beginning, the administration of Caldarola has been committed to give back to the community the present and the future it deserves and it has already benefit from the help offered by different associations. But since Caldarola is a little community, it has always lacked of mediatic visibility and support on a national level. Therefore, the mayor of Caldarola contacted Kito Onlus looking for help. Clearly, we didn’t turn our back! And Architects Without Borders Veneto, our partners in the project of reconstruction of the Banilad school in the Philippines, enthusiastically joined us for a new collaboration! Together the two organizations started to design the construction of a 1,400 sq.m. polyfunctional structure in lamellar beams, following the community’s needs and criteria of environmental sustainability, a unity meant to be operative in the long term, even after the historical center of the municipality is rebuilt. The construction of the structure is going to take place in a housing area that is external to the first necleus of houses and near to a place that is already set up for kids to play. The center aims to be a place for the promotion of activities and laboratories with the involvement of local associations especially dealing  with adolescents, with the aim of making young people an active part of the reconstruction project and an element of continuity in the life of Caldarola.

In post-emergency moments like those generated by natural disasters is important to assure the presence of places for social aggregation, in order for the social fabric to stay strong and be regenerated by communitarian moments able to accelerate the post-traumatic recover and to give back to citizens trust in their territories.

Kito Onlus and Architects Without Borders have already started to successfully collect funds for this project and at this regard we thank once again the participants of the Kito Christmas Dinner for the solidarity they have shown! We still need support though, in order for this project to be realized starting from 2018. Would you like to help us? You can do it with a donation through credit card, PayPal or bank transfer.

Every contribution is precious!

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Climate Change: Kito Onlus’ answer

During the last days Paul Nicklen’s photo of a polar bear starving to death in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago provoked sadness and anger. It is indeed a symbol of the effects of climate change, that are destroying natural habitats, and that recalling the words of the photographer can help to “break down the walls of apathy”. Because there are solutions, “we must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth — our home — first”.

Today, 12 December 2017, global solutions will be actually discussed. After two years from the Paris Agreement of Climate Change, French President Emmanuel Macron, the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, are meeting in Paris to discuss upon climate change: the One Planet Summit is today the moment for world leaders, but also for those working in private and public finance, to talk about the global efforts that are necessary in order to take action against climate change, whose consequences do impact the entire planet but have in different ways – not only among different world regions, but also within the same community. A recent document by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, about climate change and social inequality shows the presence of a vicious cycle: inequality cause the most vulnerable groups to disproportionally suffer from climate change and this brings even more inequality. When the effects of climate change intersect with those of conflicts, consequences are even worse. For instance in Mindanao in the Philippines, a place hit by social and ethnic hostilities and by an increase number of typhoons and droughts, poverty and loss of land cause food insecurity. Women and girls in particular suffer from this situation because, since they can find a job more easily than men, they are forced to move away to seek for an occupation and migrating in times of conflict can be risky because of human beings trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation.

Kito Onlus knows by direct experience how much the Philippines are vulnerable when it comes to climate change. Acknowledging that, it works in order to integrate into the projects a particular attention to environmental issues and the most vulnerable people. It does so by building energetically sustainable structures, by promoting the use of local workforce and resources, by favoring and encouraging the occupation of women, by fighting the waste. To have an example of Kito Onlus’ modus operandi, read here how it built a structure that is an example of green building!

And to conclude, just remember, we only have one planet and no plan B.

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©United Nations Climate Change

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