This is an Awardee of the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
The University as a Social Entrepreneur: Synergism of SUC's Trifocal Functions towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (The Case of Hablon sa Cebu, Handwoven in Argao)
Cebu Technological University
Best practice Focus Area(s)
Leadership, innovation, CSR
Hablon sa Cebu, Handwoven in Argao is considered a viable demonstration project of how the trifocal functions of instruction, research and community extension of Cebu Technological University can be interwoven into the fabric of an SUC’s agenda and bring in revenue to augment university funding while supporting the socio-cultural, economic and environmental dimensions in community development. In 2013, a problem/project-based approach was utilized in a graduate course on Community Extension at CTU Argao Campus, which produced a research paper that turned into a community extension project which generated income for a community of weavers while also generating income for the university and reviving a dying handloom-weaving industry in the Municipality of Argao.
Background and Problem
Recognizing the vital role that colleges and universities play in the development of communities, especially the underserved, depressed and marginalized, RA 7722, otherwise known as the Higher Education Act of 1994 mandates all HEls to render Community Extension Services along with research and instruction.
Fulfilling this mandate, community extension proponents design programs intended towards the delivery of services or improvement of the lives of different beneficiaries. In 2013, a group of CTU-Argao Campus doctoral students taking up Community Extension conducted research to determine the Hablon industry’s most important concerns for its revival. Results revealed that the industry’s impending death is caused by the lack of young Argaonons’ willingness to continue the tradition with aged habloneras not getting the chance at passing the skills to the younger generations.
A community extension proposal was then crafted to revive the industry that gained support from LGU Argao, the Cebu Provincial Government, Clothes for Life Foundation, and other partners.
Solution and Impact
The project started out as a situation requiring immediate external intervention, in this case, the university. Hablon was a dying industry; there was a need to resuscitate its comeback despite threats of technology, the demand for cheaper and machine-made fabrics, and the younger generation’s lack of interest in a very tedious craft.
Through partnerships and collaboration with government, industry, and non-government organizations, the revival was made possible. The university proponents approached the Local Government Unit of Argao and the Cebu Provincial Government who introduced CTU to the right agencies and personalities who can assist in the project. On its initial year (2013) renowned designers like Dexter Alazas from Clothes for Life Foundation for designs and concepts, Provincial Women Commission (PWC) gave the habloneras the materials to start on massive production of fabric for a major launch, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the cash for work program to benefit the many stakeholders/beneficiaries like designers, sewers and habloneras, print and broadcast media for the campaigns. Dalagang Argawanon, the pageantry of young ladies who advocate for the industry’s revival was launched that year, wearing handwoven fabrics from materials donated by the PWC.
The university’s initiative created ripple effects on other sectors and the community as a sudden interest in the craft has created market demands for the production of more fabric designs. Thus, the demand for innovation for handlooms that used to just produce 36″ fabric needed to be redesigned to produce 60″ fabric for ball gowns and other materials demanded by a growing market. In 2016, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) came in and provided CTU with a Shared Service Facility (SSF) inside the campus with 20 upgraded handlooms. At present, 15 habloneras inside the SSF and 5 at the original community are the direct beneficiaries who earn a steady source of income to support their families’ basic needs while also generating income for the university.
In its vision to create a social enterprise, CTU is putting into place other aspects of community development such as the community’s socio-economic conditions while preserving a cultural heritage but not forgetting the environmental aspects for sustainability.
- In 2013, research and extension initiatives resulted in the efforts to revive a dying cultural heritage of Argao via the 1st Dalagang Argawanon, the pageantry of advocates for its revival.
- In 2014, massive instruction endeavors to integrate the craft in curricular offerings, particularly in the Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Technology and Livelihood Education and the Masters in Vocational Education programs.
- Promotion and creation of market niches, more links and collaboration, mentorship with DTI, and the 2nd Dalagang Argawanon were staged.
- In 2016, launching and turnover of SSF for Handloom Weaving at the CTU Argao Campus with DTI.
- In 2017, DTI product design and coaching; coaching and briefing for the first ever participation in the Manila Fame Trade Exhibit with the DTI and Great Women; participation in various trade fairs and exhibits including Artefino; participation in the Green Fashion Revolution, SikatPinoy and Artefino.
- In 2018, OTOP (One Town One Product) participation, Sandugo, Suroy-suroy Sugbo, Artefino, Manila Fame, SikatPinoy and other trade exhibits with DTI.
- Presentation of the Hablon case as a community-based entry point in Education for Sustainable Development in Bangkok, Thailand, sponsored by UNESCO Bangkok, the government of Japan and SEAMEO.
- Presentation of the Community Engagement for Education for Sustainable Development: PAGLAUM and Hablon case of CTU Argao at the Okayama University, Okayama City, Japan sponsored by UNESCO.
- In April 2019, extension project proponents from other universities visited the Hablon sa Cebu community for benchmarking and case study subject for reflection in a UNESCO-funded community-based integration of Education for Sustainable Development.
- Hablon sa Cebu received the Garbo sa Argao: Doers of Change Award from LGU Argao in June 2019.