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Young lives strengthened: 'Batang Matatag' campaign upholds mission to invest in every Filipino child’s future

MANILA, Philippines — On World Children’s Day, Erceflora Kiddie reaffirms its commitment to championing every child’s right to the highest attainable standard of health, including access to clean water and proper nutrition through the #BatangMatatag Campaign in partnership with Save the Children.

“World Children’s Day is an annual reminder that taking care of children’s well-being is a shared responsibility among the academe, the public and private sectors, and the whole community. We must find a way to come together to raise happy, healthy children and protect their future,” Rica Mae Mateo, from the makers of Erceflora Kiddie, shared.

Over the past year, the #BatangMatatag initiative has successfully established three community kitchens and three water systems in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). These efforts have touched the lives of hundreds of Filipino families across Iligan City and Lanao del Sur.

The initiative is in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article 24, which aims to ensure that children have access to the best possible healthcare, clean drinking water, healthy food and a clean and safe environment to live in.

In October 2022, the #BatangMatatag Campaign was launched to improve access to health, nutrition, sanitation and education in conflict-affected areas of the country. Driven by the mission to safeguard children’s health, the movement aims to combat child mortality caused by diarrhea. This preventable condition often stems from unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

In 2023, the #BatangMatatag Campaign invested P12 million to build Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities and community kitchens, which would benefit the Toril, Sama Bajau and Higaonon communities in BARMM.

Over 1,000 adolescents in the beneficiary communities received training programs on life and leadership skills, and more than 500 residents participated in education programs to learn about critical techniques and methods to improve and maintain proper health and nutrition among children.

At the start of the Improving Health and Nutrition Programs and Hygiene Sanitation programs, 58% of