Name of the Organization

Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute

Name of the Office/Unit that leads the implementation of this best practice entry

Gender and Development

Focus Area of the Best Practice

Human Resource

Date the best practice was first implemented

24 June 2016 – up to present

Summary of the Best Practice

The Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) is effectively mainstreaming gender and development (GAD). As mandated by the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) or Republic Act 9710, GAD serves as a strategy to help eliminate discrimination through the recognition, protection, fulfillment, and promotion of the rights of Filipino women, especially those belonging to the marginalized sectors of society.

In congruence with this, DA-PhilRice mainstreamed GAD in four major entry points in the gender mainstreaming framework: policies, people, enabling mechanisms, and programs/projects/activities. One unique key feature of its implementation is the firm policy and management support resulting in the issuance of several policies that aid in the institutionalization of GAD in its entire operation. Significantly, the policy on integrating gender dimensions into relevant projects and studies spelled the ‘human face’ of rice science in its implementation. In 2019, 30% of total projects were attributed to GAD,35% in 2020, and 47% in 2021. PhilRice catered to 7,863 women and 9,333 men in its development works through training since 2018, and 1,048 women and 1,519 men were reached through its Rice Competitiveness enhancement program since 2019.

Another is the customization of capacity development materials in the context of rice science for development for DA-PhilRice staff for better internalization and integration of GAD in its program, projects, and activities. These customized training materials were also instrumental in the continuity of GAD capacity-building activities despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, 60% of staff completed gender sensitivity training, and 70% of project/study leaders were equipped with gender analysis to ensure that we have a gender-responsive mechanism in fulfilling our mission at PhilRice.

PhilRice ensures that sex disaggregation can be easily analyzed for gender-responsive planning, monitoring, and evaluation purposes in the database management systems. This is a major enabling mechanism in mainstreaming gender in the Institute’s research and development activities.

The Challenge

Due to the lack of mechanism and capability, the DA-PhilRice management found it challenging to institutionalize GAD. Hence, it was only in 2016 that the first GAD mechanism was established, which was the creation of the GAD Focal Point System (GFPS), internally called the GAD Initiatives (GADi) team, comprised of the head of the institute as the chairperson, 1 GAD focal person/coordinator, and ten management committee members at the central office, and branch stations with one support staff as GFPS members.

Introducing GAD in the Institute was a challenging journey as this is new to the staff. Many of the team used to think that was just an additional burden and an added responsibility to them.

On the other side, it was always a struggle to ensure the sustainability of R&D projects. More often, the projects forgot to consider the needs of the clients as well as the gender and social dynamics in the target communities, which could significantly affect the adoption and sustainability of the technology. In the end, many technologies have been developed, but their desired impact on the target beneficiaries takes much work to measure.

Solution and Impact

To implement gender and development (GAD) mainstreaming in the Institute, the organization undertook four critical steps.

Initially, GAD-related policies were issued to facilitate GAD mainstreaming in all PhilRice stations. These policies include the creation of the GFPS, which leads GAD-related efforts in the institute; the creation of a Project Review and Evaluation Committee (PREC), which evaluates all project proposals to ensure GAD inclusion; other policies that create enabling GAD mechanisms; and directives to encourage staff’s participation to GAD-related activities and training. Since 2016, a total of 59 GAD-related policies have been issued by the Institute. These policies are also being adopted in all of PhilRice stations, and one critical adaptation is the creation of local GFPS, which helps ease GAD monitoring in PhilRice as a whole.

Secondly, DA-PhilRice continuously conducts capacity development activities among all staff to sensitize and educate them on GAD concepts and capacitate them on GAD mainstreaming. In line with this, more than 50 training, seminars/orientations, and workshops have been conducted in the Institute since 2017. Through these activities, the Institute managed to capacitate about 70% of all staff on gender sensitivity, gender analysis, GAD agenda, use of Harmonized Gender and Development Tools, and the importance of sex-disaggregated data, among others. Only recently, capacity development activities’ conduct was hampered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this, the Institute developed two customized training manuals on gender sensitivity and gender analysis implemented through online platforms (Google Classroom and Zoom) to continually capacitate the staff despite the limitations of face-to-face interactions. About 163 staff graduated with the asynchronous gender sensitivity training and 38 project leaders and GFPS members graduated with the training on gender analysis.

Another important step is the establishment of GAD-enabling mechanisms in the Institute. These include institutionalizing a sex-disaggregated database to monitor the number of beneficiaries (both women and men in various age groups and communities) reached by DA-PhilRice projects. It is also helpful in crafting specific strategies and interventions to address the client’s needs. As of 2021, about five sex-disaggregated databases are being maintained by the Institute.

A physical and online GAD corner is also established to promote GAD-related information to external and internal clients. All stations are now maintaining one physical GAD corner, and one centralized online GAD corner is housed on the DA-PhilRice website.

Gender-fair language is also promoted and applied in producing various information, communication, and education (IEC) materials. In 2021 alone, about 115 knowledge products were made and distributed to around 2.1 million stakeholders–primarily farmers and rice extension intermediaries.

Lastly, the Institute ensured that its programs, activities, and projects (PAPs) had mainstreamed GAD in its implementation. Every year, a GAD Plan and Budget are crafted to ensure PhilRice PAPs are fully responsive to the GAD mandates and gender issues it has to address. The GAD accomplishment report is also submitted at the end of every year to verify if GAD targets have been met. As mandated by law, at least 5% of the organization’s total budget should be attributed to GAD. DA-PhilRice has achieved and even surpassed this target. As of 2021, percent of GAD attribution in the institute is 38.63%.

In terms of the level of deployment, DA-PhilRice was ranked level three in gender mainstreaming based on the 2019 PCW assessment. This means that GAD-related activities are already institutionalized within the organization.

Innovation

On policy, the most effective innovation is the empowerment of the management committee on GAD implementation. In other agencies, GAD matters are often left to committees where they need a firm decision and on-the-ground approach to operationalizing GAD in the context of their mandate. AtPhilRice, the management committee reviews and recommends measures to operationalize GAD in research and development activities properly. It is more than lip service or compliance. The commitment to inclusivity and gender equity is explicitly articulated in all our project documents and adequately analyzed and acted on.

Also, the creation of local GFPS across all stations through the issuance of a local memorandum adopted from the one issued in the central office. This speeds up the conduct and monitoring of GAD mainstreaming in the institute.

In terms of capacity development, by far, the most innovative strategy that PhilRice made was creating customized gender sensitivity and gender analysis training manuals. DA-PhilRice packaged this into more relatable content by tailor-fitting it to rice production and agriculture. This made GAD integration into programs, activities, and projects more accessible. In addition, the manuals were also used in asynchronous training to address the needs of time and the limitations of face-to-face interactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, the most valuable and innovative strategy for creating enabling mechanisms was using online databasing to capture sex-disaggregated data (SDD). One outstanding example is the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) – Seed and Extension Program database, which records the SDD of RCEF seed recipients and training participants, including other useful information such as age, special needs/disability, affiliation to indigenous communities, among others. These data were used in developing strategies to implement the program better.

Lastly, in integrating GAD into the institute’s programs, activities, and projects, a very effective innovation was the creation of the Project Evaluation and Review Committee (PREC), which assesses all research proposals to ensure GAD integration. These results in a higher number of projects attributed to GAD and generally an increase in the institute’s total percentage of GAD attribution.

Performance & Results

Before GAD mainstreaming was institutionalized at DA-PhilRice, the program and projects of the institute did not consciously incorporate gender and development in its operations. While there might be efforts to make our projects inclusive, there was no means to measure how gender-sensitive or gender-responsive they are or how much of the institute’s budget could be attributed to GAD.

While GAD was institutionalized in 2016, its full-blast implementation only took off in 2017. Based on the annual GAD accomplishment report, from 2017 to 2021, the percentage of GAD budget attribution is increasing. In 2017, 5.36% of the total institute’s budget, or about 27.7 million, was attributed to GAD. It gradually increased to 5.76% in 2018, or 44.8 million. In 2019, it grew to 14.5% – more than twice the 2018 budget attribution – about 111.8 million. Then in 2020, GAD attribution rose to 44.33%, equivalent to 1.6 billion, almost similar to 2021’s 38.63% or around 1.4 billion. These budget figures mean that consultation, equitable participation, sex disaggregation, gender analysis, monitoring, and evaluation were properly integrated with all GAD-tagged projects to ensure equity and inclusiveness. Further, this budget attribution is evidenced by the Harmonized Gender and
Development Guidelines.

GAD mainstreaming at DA-PhilRice also created opportunities for women farmers to be reached by our development programs and projects. One of these is the Rice Business Innovations System (RiceBIS) Community Program, which conducts training on rice production, organizational building and management, and farm business school. Data shows an increasing trend of women’s participation in the said training. For rice production, women trainees comprised 41% of the total participants in 2018, 43% in 2019, 40% in 2020, and 45% in 2021. In organizational building and management, there were 45% of women participants in 2019, 39% in 2020, and 45% in 2021. Meanwhile, on farm business schools training in 2019, around 45% were women, 52% in 2020, and 56% in 2021. The RiceBIS communities have grown from 7 communities in 2017 to 23 in 2021. As a result of the rice production training conducted in RiceBIS communities, yield increases were observed from 4.37 tons per hectare in 2016 to 4.49 tons per hectare in the 2020 wet season; and from 4.67 tons per hectare in 2017 to 5.38 tons per hectare in 2021 dry season. In addition, yield loss has decreased16.46% in 2016 to 14.63% in the 2020 wet season; and from 16.47% in 2018 to 14.64% in the 2021 dry season. As of 2020, there were also 40 RiceBIS Agroenterprises venturing into brown rice and oyster mushroom, earning a total net income of Php 687,469.

Another gender-responsive program that PhilRice has is the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund Program. Since 2019 a total of 1048 women (40%) have been trained in rice production through the program. On one of its components which is seed distribution, RCEF distributed 10.29 million bags of certified seeds during 2020 to 2022 dry and wet seasons. This benefited more than 1 million rice farmers cultivating approximately 1.5 million hectares per year across its target provinces. This contributed to achieving the record-high palay output of almost 20 million metric tons in 2021. About 36% of RCEF seed beneficiaries are women, and 32% are senior citizens. Another important GAD initiative of this project is the establishment of RCEF-SMS, which monitors data on program implementation, particularly on seed positioning, inspection, distribution, and digital documentation of farmer-beneficiaries. As such, the RCEF-SMS enables age- and sex-disaggregated report generation and can capture other GAD-related information given the resolution of data collection. A gender-related analysis is used as a decision-making and policy management tool to formulate targeted interventions and improve the program’s services.

Replicability

GAD mainstreaming at DA-PhilRice had been benchmarked and often used as a model in various regional and national government institutions. At the national level, GAD initiatives were benchmarked by the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Agricultural Research, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), among others. Even the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) recognized DA-PhilRice GAD mainstreaming efforts and often used the institute as a model organization in some GADmainstreaming initiatives in their training presentations with other institutions. At the regional level, DA-PhilRice was tapped by a local government unit to conduct GAD orientation among their staff. Local agencies also look up to DA-PhilRice as a model institution regarding GAD practices.DA-PhilRice GAD mainstreaming initiatives were showcased and recognized in the country and the international arena.

In 2021, DA-PhilRice participated in the Women Agribusiness Summit Townhall Consultation as part of the United Nations Food System Summit wherein one of the resource speakers was a woman farmer in one of DA-PhilRice agribusiness communities (one of the gender-responsive projects of the institute).

In June 2022, DA-PhilRice will be among the delegates of the 2022 Global Summit of Women held in Bangkok, Thailand. During the event, the case of PhilRice was presented as one of the best practices in public/private sector partnerships for advancing women’s economic opportunities in the agriculture sector. The entire Philippine delegation has won the Ministerial Award for the country’s presentation. Moreover, DA-PhilRice was also invited by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to review their one CGIAR research portfolio, which includes gender equality and social inclusion as impact areas.

As a recommendation to those other institutions implementing GAD mainstreaming, we strongly recommend getting solid policy and management support and bank on increasing staff knowledge through capacity development activities. These two strategies would be great enablers to mainstream GAD in organizations successfully.

Next Steps

To ensure the sustainability of GAD mainstreaming in DA-PhilRice, the institute has put supportive policies and various enabling mechanisms. These include the creation of the GFPS, various committees, and even systems and facilities which could facilitate GAD mainstreaming in all ofDA-PhilRice stations. Continuous capacity-building activities are also conducted to ensure staff can mainstream GAD in their respective program, projects, and activities. The planning and monitoring system is also strictly followed through the annual GAD Planning and Budgeting and the submission of the Accomplishment Report to the Philippine Commission on Women as a monitoring agency. Furthermore, GAD also undergoes a yearly audit by the Commission on Audit (COA) to ensure that GAD funds are appropriately spent on GAD initiatives.

For the following steps, the Institute is planning to strengthen the capacity of staff to conduct gender analysis in their programs, projects, and activities. These would help the institute have a more in-depth GAD integration and social inclusion in its operations. Also, as the Institute is on its way to crafting a new Strategic Plan, GAD is being consciously integrated into crafting the DA-PhilRice vision and mission. This is to constantly remind the staff that achieving sustainable development in agriculture and the rice sector calls for more inclusive interventions. Moreover, the Institute is also preparing for another round of GMEF evaluation by PCW to check/very its status/level of gender mainstreaming and determine how it could be further improved.

Milestones

Among the most significant achievements of the GAD mainstreaming in DA-PhilRice is the institute’s high and increasing GAD budget attribution from its full-blown implementation in 2017 until the present. In 2017, GAD attribution in the institute was at 5.36%; 5.76% in 2018; 14.50% in 2019; 44.33% in 2020; and 38.63% in 2021. Because of this, DA-PhilRice (Central Experiment Station and branch stations) received three commendations from the Commission on Audit for consistently meeting the 5% budget allocation; addressing gender issues and integrating gender perspectives into the agency’s policies, activities and projects; and for having supportive management. These commendations are consistent with the level three GAD mainstreaming assessment result of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) on the institute’s GAD efforts in 2019. This means that GAD is already institutionalized within the organization and that gender planning and budgeting have become more strategic, resulting in more gender-responsive programs and an increase in GAD attribution.

GAD mainstreaming at the institute has also received both internal and external awards/recognitions nationally and internationally. Internally, the management recognized the GAD capacity development team for its excellent conduct of the Gender Sensitivity Training in 2021 using customized modules and online training platforms. At a national level, the DA-PhilRice GAD research paper won second prize at the National GAD conference in 2019. And a more recent development is the confirmation of one of DA-PhilRice’s GFPS members as a new member of the PCW’s Resource Pool of GAD experts. At the international level, DA-PhilRice was one of the presenters of the 2022 Global Summit of Women, which earned the Philippines the Ministerial Award.

These achievements helped DA-PhilRice to be recognized as a model institution in GAD mainstreaming, and these efforts will continue as long as there is GAD.

Testimonials

Based on the 2021 COA audit observation report, they “commend the management for supporting the objectives of GAD and further recommend continually adhering to the related laws, rules and regulations concerning GAD planning, budgeting, and implementation.”

Positive feedback was also gathered during capacity development activities among DA-PhilRice staff. During the two batches of asynchronous Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) in 2021 and one batch of asynchronous Gender Analysis Training (GAT) in 2022, for example, all participants found the overall conduct of the training excellent. For the GST, their most common feedback is that they “appreciated the training and grateful for the learnings,” and for the GAT, they find it “very insightful and informative,” and it helps them “understand the real importance and concept of gender mainstreaming in research and the rice sector.”

External clients have also provided good feedback for benefitting from the gender-responsive programs of the institute. For the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) – Extension Program (one of the gender-responsive banner program of DA-PhilRice) for example, which give equal learning opportunities for women and men farmers, a 64-year-old Emma Tolentino attested that she learned a lot from the RCEF training and that her age was not a hindrance for her to join the training contrary to what she formerly thought.

On the other hand, Ms. Marites A. Benico, one of the women members of a Farmer’s Cooperative under the Rice Business Innovations Systems (RiceBIS) Community Program (another gender-responsive program) that DA-PhilRice served, testified how she was empowered by the program to venture into agribusiness. According to her “huwag nating limitahan ang ating mga sarili sapagbebenta lang ng palay sa mga traders. Kailangan natin mag-isip ng iba pang mga paraan parakumita.”