Caring in crisis: The experiences of local religious leaders meeting community food needs in the Philippines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Publication date: Dec 01, 2023

To respond to the unintended consequences of prevention measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission, individuals and groups, including religious leaders, have collaborated to provide care to those negatively impacted by these measures. Amid these various efforts and interventions, there is a need to deepen our understanding of diverse expressions of care across various geographical and social contexts. To address this need, the objective of this study was to investigate how religious leaders in the Philippines practiced care for their communities by meeting emergency food needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by an ethics of care theoretical orientation, we conducted 25 remote semi-structured interviews with Filipino religious leaders who partnered with a Philippines-based non-governmental organization (NGO) to mobilize essential food aid to their local communities. Through defining the efforts and activities of these religious leaders as care work, we found that religious leader experiences revolved around navigating care responsibilities, caring alongside others, and engaging holistically with the care work. Additionally, we observed how contextual factors such as the humanitarian settings where religious leaders worked, the partnership with an NGO, and the positionality of local religious leaders within their communities, fundamentally shaped the care work. This study expands our understanding of how care is practiced and experienced and also brings greater visibility to the experiences and efforts of local religious leaders in responding to humanitarian emergencies.

Concepts Keywords
Food COVID-19 pandemic
Humanitarian Ethics of care
Interviews Humanitarian response
Pandemic Non-governmental organizations
Philippines Philippines
Religious leaders


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease MESH emergency
disease VO organization

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