Women empowerment is one of the key advocacies of OVP. The OVP’s Angat Buhay program promotes gender equality through advancing women’s active participation in generating income for themselves and their families. OVP supports them to pursue entrepreneurial initiatives through a process that identifies aspiring women entrepreneurs and provides them with a combination of seed grants and technical assistance to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. Since last year, we took the intervention to the next level by completing the entire project cycle. Utilizing the Community-based Mode of Procurement in accordance with R.A. 9184, the OVP is now purchasing products from these aspiring women entrepreneurs. This enables us to support our Angat Buhay communities economically while also promoting their respective cultural heritage as their products center around indigenous weaves and crafts.
Background and Problem
Women and their economic contributions often go unrecognized. However, the fight against poverty can only be won when women are capacitated to generate income for themselves and their families are provided with equal access to resources in doing so. By enabling more women to pursue entrepreneurship through a more favorable supporting environment, both social and economic benefits are generated for themselves and their communities. For front liners, helping aspiring women entrepreneurs has always been one of our focus areas as we recognize the importance of economic freedom in the fight for gender justice. Meanwhile, several of our administrative and support staff attended the Public Procurement Specialist Certification Course (Level 1) as part of the OVP’s efforts to streamline our procurement process and enhance the culture of fiscal prudence. These two initiatives converged as our Procurement Team undertook the alternative mode of procurement to purchase products by our aspiring women entrepreneurs to serve as ceremonial tokens, instead of sourcing from usual providers.
Solution and Impact
The women economic empowerment program is loosely patterned after the 7 M’s framework in developing women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines: Mindset Change, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Machine, Market Access, Models of Business. Community-based procurement is included under Market Access. The program also engages institutional partners involved in business registration to ensure that aspiring entrepreneurs learn about basic rules in business processes. These include the Social Security System (SSS), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG), Philippine Health and Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). One of the key issues for sustainability is market linkage. In other programs, technical assistance and financial grants are provided and then beneficiaries are expected to sell their own products. As our women’s economic empowerment program serves the complete product cycle, it includes providing supplementary market linkage through community-based procurement. However, the intervention does not promote dependence as we also focus on linking our communities with social enterprises or local stores and businesses to ensure that they are able to service a long-term market.
In 2018, we were able to procure the following products from our Angat Buhay Communities:
- Malaybalay’s Choice Handicrafts (Malaybalay, Bukidnon) – Abaca placemats and backpacks with indigenous weaves.
- Yakan Weaver Community (Lamitan, Basilan) – Yakan fabric placemats and table runners with indigenous weaves.
- Kiangan (Kiangan, Ifugao) Pasalubong Producers Association – Ikat placemat with indigenous weaves
For 2019, the OVP will continue the practice of availing locally made products such as piña-woven barongs from Aklan and other ceremonial tokens made by participants from both the Visayas and Mindanao-leg of the Angat Buhay Workshop for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs.