Humanitarian work has made it possible for the Bangsamoro to thrive in the face of adversity. Through years of violence and conflict, the humanitarian community has stood with us in solidarity, making it possible for our people to dream of a future where peace and justice is a way of life.

On this year’s World Humanitarian Day, we are reminded of the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” In conflict-affected communities such as ours, it takes entire villages to rebuild a home and reimagine a better future. 

Women have been making a significant impact in the Bangsamoro on the frontlines of change, but very few have been welcomed in decision- and policy-making spaces. Often, they are excluded from processes that shape the humanitarian strategies and response that are implemented in the region. This then limits their role in communities with humanitarian needs, especially those that need an inclusive and holistic response. 

When we say “it takes a village,” it means we must include everyone. As we deal with the climate crisis, socioeconomic hurdles, and the continuing effects of the pandemic, we must come together and ensure all voices are heard and all needs are met. This is only possible if we make room for each other, not only as passive followers but as active participants in every step of the process.

Humanitarian efforts can have a genuine, lasting impact if it runs parallel to community efforts that are representative of everyone’s rights and responsive to everyone’s needs. Today we honor those who engage in humanitarian work that uplifts the most vulnerable, in a world where we continue to work towards peace and justice for all.