Recent MPH Grad, Holley Hooks, Accepts Position in Philippines
Holley will be working in the Tacloban area with ACT Alliance, an international humanitarian organization that provides aid to people affected by disasters. In the Philippines, the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) work together with ACT Alliance to rebuild communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan and provide livelihoods for survivors. As their main project, the NCCP provides materials to build new houses that can sustain typhoons, while NCA provides materials to build bathrooms with septic tanks for these houses. They are also installing rain water collectors for use in the bathrooms. ACT Alliance has instituted a community garden as a sustainable food source.
NCA also does a hygiene promotion program, which is where she will work. Holley will assist the hygiene promoters and community health workers with behavior change interventions to help continue relief and make these communities healthier.
Holley had this to say about how her training from UF will help her on her new venture:
“The emphasis that the UF MPH program places on community sustainability will be really helpful for me while working in the Philippines. NCCP, NCA, and ACT Alliance all place a strong emphasis on the community being the key stakeholder in the rebuilding process by including them in every step of the project, from construction to hygiene promotion to strategic planning. I got to be a part of a community meeting where we checked in with the community members to make sure we were meeting their needs and to ask about what changes need to be made. It was really exciting to see the practices I learned from UF being put into place in the real world. This is their community and they are extremely proud of the rebuilding process that is taking place!”
Through this unique opportunity, Holley has developed her future career goals. Holley grew up in Florida with hurricanes, experienced the tornado that destroyed Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2011, and now has experienced devastation from a super typhoon. These experiences have shown her the importance of disaster preparedness and having a culturally competent, practical relief plan and made me passionate about a career as a humanitarian. After this she will be looking into jobs with disaster relief agencies like FEMA, state emergency management agencies, and international relief organizations.
Congratulations and best wishes to Holley on this wonderful new adventure!