Our impact, Their voices

Safety matters: More to life after Haiyan

Following Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) many workers were pushed to the informal economy where they face hazards at work due to lack of occupational safety and health. The ILO’s SafeYouth@Work Project helps them design and implement training programmes on occupational safety and health (OSH).

Feature | 21 May 2018
Manila (ILO News) - The devastating and terrifying force of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) displaced thousands of families in 2013 and pushed workers into poverty. Jen had to survive with her parents and two siblings after their house was washed out, while the public market where she used to sell was destroyed at the height of the super typhoon.
Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) affected people's lives and livelihood and pushed workers to the informal economy to survive, despite the lack of safety and health at work. (Photo by: ILO/M. Crozet)
“After the typhoon, people were willing to accept whatever work is available to survive, even if it is dangerous. More and more ended in the informal economy as they experienced loss of income and death of a breadwinner. Safety and health at work is not a priority but how to earn money,” Jen recalls.

Jen and her family started the Jobs Livelihood Initiatives for Family Empowerment Association (JLIFE) to help workers in the informal economy. The association has 57 active members, which is also affiliated with the Alliance of Workers in the Informal Economy/Sector (ALLWIES). Aside from JLIFE, Jen is also a volunteer of a youth organization in Tacloban with over 200 members.

“We help workers in the informal economy including farmers and market vendors to know about their rights. We provide a place to sell their handicrafts and to market products for indigent members. We also facilitate registration to social protection and social security benefits, including access to livelihood and skills training of the government,” explains Jen.

The ILO’s SafeYouth@Work Project, funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), has supported workers in the informal economy and young people like Jen build their capacity on designing and implementing training programmes on occupational safety and health (OSH).

“Workers in the informal economy need protection. They also have rights to safe and healthy workplaces. What will happen to their family if they only think about earning but not protecting themselves?” says Jen.

Jen is determined to conduct the OSH training programme that she designed through experiential learning and to share the information that she received on safe and healthy workplaces.

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-26690-14-75-K-11.

This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the
United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government. One hundred percentage of the total costs of the project or programme is financed with Federal funds, for a total of 11,443,156 dollars.