Canadian relief funds for Philippines after 2013 typhoon “addressed gender equality” with karaoke machines

Canadian relief funds for Philippines after 2013 typhoon “addressed gender equality” with karaoke machines

Global Affairs Canada took so long to the spend the relief money earmarked to help the Filipino people after a natural disaster that funds ended up going towards the purchase of karaoke machines for small business in an effort to support gender equality.

Typhoon Haiyan struck several Southeast Asian countries in November 2013 and killed at least 6,300 people in the Philippines.

Global Affairs, also known as the Department of Foreign Affairs, provided $90.5 million in disaster aid which included cash donations from the Canadian public totaling $43 million. By July 2014, the humanitarian phase of the relief mission was closed by the Filipino government but Canada still had $20.5 million left to disburse. 

The report states that reconstruction response was separated into several different 'projects':

"Projects were similar in that each offered training focused on improving financial skills, gender awareness, and preparing for a natural disaster."

One of the aid summaries in the report outlines the positive results of these projects aimed to “start income-generating activities”, outlining the project support for sari sari stores, which are generally operated by women:

“Sari sari stores sold more and different products, e.g. karaoke machine rentals.”

According to Blacklock's Reporter,

Other subsidies were paid as cash grants averaging $260 per recipient to make baskets or buy seed for farmers. Payments “were unique in that they did not just improve people’s well-being, they addressed gender equality and promoted future preparedness as well,” said the report. Evaluation noted most sari sari operators were women.

The summary of how Canadian money under Global Affairs Canada —formerly Chrystia's Freeland's post — was spent after the disaster was published in the recently released Evaluation of Natural Disaster Reconstruction Assistance in the Philippines 2013-2014 to 2018-2019.