How a girl leader is braving through the global pandemic | Plan International Skip to main content

How a girl leader is braving through the global pandemic

To say that the COVID-19 global pandemic is scary is an understatement for 23-year-old Ronnie Mae.

In her hometown, Cebu City, COVID-19 positive cases spiked tremendously in recent weeks prompting the local government to impose stricter community quarantine measures.

But Ronnie Mae fears not only the health implications of the pandemic, but also its effects to their sources of income.



“My father is unemployed. My older sister recently lost her job because their company couldn’t sustain operations. I am only receiving 50 percent of my salary since April,” she says. Her mother’s meager salary as a cook in a private institution is used to put her brother to school.

With this, Ronnie Mae became the lead provider in her family.

Ronnie Mae is a member of a Community Savings Group (CSG) organized through the Plan International’s Moving Up Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience (MOVE UP) Project. She is among the 470 people in Cebu City who received unconditional cash assistance as part of the organization’s COVID-19 humanitarian response.

“Plan International’s cash assistance has really helped us in putting food on the table and buying other basic necessities,” says Ronnie Mae.

Their CSG was just starting when the city declared stricter lockdown measures. But this did not hinder the group. Recently, Ronnie Mae and her group’s livelihood proposal was approved.

“Being a part of the Community Savings Group gives me hope in this time of a pandemic. As my family’s breadwinner, livelihood opportunities can be a big help for us as we try to recover,” Ronnie Mae adds.

As scared as she may be, the Sanggunian Kabataan (youth council) councilor still goes out of her way to help in her community’s local response activities. 



“We were able to provide washable face masks to some of our constituents. We also gave food to our barangay frontliners who are working at our checkpoints,” she says.

For Ronnie Mae, being a young woman amid a pandemic might be stressful and scary but she still believes that she can do something for the community.

“To my fellow youth, we have a voice we can use. We have access to news and reliable information, we can do research. And if we are well-informed we can guide our community,” she inspiringly says.

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As part of its COVID-19 humanitarian response, the Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience (MOVE UP) responds to the needs of its partner communities in major urban areas in the Philippines.

Funded by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the project is an urban Disaster Risk Reduction project which aims to empower and assist communities to become more resilient to both natural and man-made calamities. 

MOVE UP is implemented by Plan International Philippines, together  with  Action  Against Hunger and CARE with its local partner ACCORD Incorporated.