Empowering CAR womenfolk through GREAT Women Project

An inter-agency project called GREAT Women meant to empower womenfolk in the Cordillera with economic activities such as coffee and cacao growing, processing of fruits, nuts and high value crops is now on its second phase of implementation in all six areas in the Cordillera. In its earlier phase, GREAT which stands for Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation focused mainly on boosting women’s economic empowerment at national and local level supported by private sector partners in improving their product design and market strategies. In the Cordillera Administrative Region, the project covers the coffee, and wearables and home-styles industry clusters. For the early part of 2019, about 41 women were assisted in the wearables and home-style clusters while 32 were assisted in the coffee industry cluster. In November of 2019 alone, participants under the Women Economic Empowerment Project or GREAT Women Project 2 underwent trainings on Market Trends and New Product Lines under fashion accessories, Upcycling training on wood & bamboo seminar and product development consultation, seminar-workshop on sewing for new designs and training on coffee processing and roasting.
The project started as GREAT Women Project in 2006 up to 2013 implemented by national agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), Department of Agriculture (DA), PHILHealth, People’s Finance and Credit Corporation (PCFC) and the national Anti-Poverty Corporation (NAPC) and it also taught the participating NGAs’ and LGUs’ learning how to apply ‘gender mainstreaming’ in their policy-making, planning and budgeting, and delivery services benefitting women in microenterprises. Of the 73 beneficiaries, 13 were from Abra, 26 from Benguet, 16 from Ifugao, 9 from Kalinga and 9 from Mountain Province.
From July to December of 2019, said project provided technical assistance to individuals and organizations in market development expansion and job generation. Beneficiaries of the coffee cluster joined the Sandugo Festival in Tagbilaran City in July and those in the wearables and home-style participated in the Manila Fame Trade Expo in November of last year. A seminar on Persuasive Salesmanship with Effective Product Presentation was also attended by womenfolk under the coffee industry cluster.
The agencies implementing the project in CAR are the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Trade and Industry – CAR which focuses on the outcomes of the project with improved competitiveness of women micro-entrepreneurs and improved the enabling environment.
These outcomes are pursued through DTI’s technical assistance in product design and development, market development and expansion, capacity development on entrepreneurial management skills, improved coordination and service delivery among stakeholders committed to the program and provision of support to strengthen knowledge management and communication of Women’s Economic Empowerment. **Art Tibaldo

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