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Global NGO Provides Livelihood, Skills To Albay Women’s Groups

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Global NGO Provides Livelihood, Skills To Albay Women’s Groups

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A total of 900 women from two towns in Albay province are now reaping the fruit of their hard work after participating in the WE LEAP (Women Empowerment on Leadership in Economics Resources, Access, and Participation) of Fundación Educación y Cooperación (Educo) Philippines, an international non-government organization (NGO).

In a press conference at the Marison Hotel here on Wednesday, Carmela Lorayes, WE LEAP program officer of Educo Philippines, said the project under their Gender-Responsive Protection and Governance Mechanism provided livelihood material, equipment support, and training to the women organized into 61 groups in the municipalities of Manito and Camalig.

She said the project gives women the ability to further assert their rights by being able to provide for their families through livelihood and business enterprise.

“These livelihood activities were developed by the women themselves. They underwent training in business development, and they also have resource inventory mapping. The project also wanted to encourage business economic development in the community by being able to use and maximize the resources of their community,” she said.

Lorayes said the various livelihood and business enterprises were now operational and contributing to the women’s economic development and family sustenance.

“In the social aspects, we want them to assert their rights and lead the family, not just the father, but also want them to take care of themselves and rear their children well by giving sessions on positive parenting, maternal health, and early childhood care. We are not just focusing on women, but we also want to provide interventions reaching children,” Lorayes said.

On the political aspect, the project also initiated the active involvement of “duty bearers” or barangay council members, violence against women and children’s (VAWC) desk officers who were capacitated in reporting, and referral of child protection and gender-based violence cases in the community.

Lorayes said the project was funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) with its local partner organizations as direct implementors –the Mayon Integrated Development Alternatives and Services for Camalig and the Bicol Center for Community Development for Manito.

Meanwhile, in another conference on knowledge-sharing at the same venue with the theme “Babayi Ka, Bako Babayi Sana”, the women’s group members relayed inspiring stories, accomplishments, and good practices.

Gemma Castill-Goliat, Educo country director, during the conference, emphasized the importance of stakeholders and the government in implementing projects.

“Kahit gaano kayaman ng non-government organization (NGO) na yan, (no matter how rich an NGO is), they cannot do work among themselves. You need other stakeholders and partners to make it happen. We exist to complement what the government is already doing,” she said.

Goliat also encouraged partner agencies and local government units to support the project and the sustainability of the organized women’s groups in their community.

Educo is a global development NGO present in the Bicol region since 2005. Currently, it carries out more than 200 projects in 14 countries and is part of the ChildFund international alliance. (PNA)