Provincial Director of DOST SIQUIJOR PSTC Engr. Mario E. de la Peńa took to the ground the elements of Gender and Development (GAD) and incorporated the same into the implementation of DOST’s Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) in the province of Siquijor.
Within 2021, DOST SIQUIJOR PSTC funded nine Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the amount of Php5,000,000.00, 134 technology interventions, effecting gross sales of Php34,340,000.00, and generating employment of 120 (68 male, 52 female).
Essentially, SETUP clients underwent a series of trainings on gender responsiveness. A total of 31 trainings were given to 839 participants (191 male, 648 female).
DOST SIQUIJOR PSTC initiated focused group discussion to have equal participation of both men and women workforce in decision-making as well as their increased representation in leadership positions. It likewise encouraged women-owners of MSMEs to engage in project activities, attend webinars for capacity building, and re-echo the same to other women.
The mainstreaming of GAD elements, as a result, optimized women as competent actors in the context of running the operations of MSMEs. Noted dividends range from improved product quality as women tend to be more skillful and neat; enhanced productivity; augmented sales; increased opportunities to earn income; institutionalized practice of gender equality in the workforce; increased literacy as non-formal education is preconditioned prior to the availment of the SETUP; and, empowered women’s status..
Engr. Mario E. de la Peńa said: “The incorporation of GAD elements into DOST’s programs, at the start, was quite a challenge owing to the fact that they are a novelty. So adjustment had to be made especially, for example, on the issue of gender equality as regards attendance of participants in a training. Before, it was not considered an issue if more men attended a training than women. Now, we have to see it that both men and women have equal access to trainings and the processes that go with the operation of MSMEs.”
Pursuing the thrust of GAD with a singular mind, DOST SIQUIJOR PSTC has set up its office as gender responsive by establishing a GAD corner inside which displays information about gender and development. Equally it has transformed a nook as a breastfeeding cubicle for SETUP beneficiaries, DOST staff, and walk-in clients who need to breastfeed their babies during their visit in the office.
Its advocacy to GAD was also capitalized when it supported the 2021 18-day campaign for VAW-free community with the theme “VAW-free Community Starts With Me” by reciting the VAWC prayer. Spreading awareness to the public, it hanged the official streamer of the campaign and distributed brochures of the different laws that cover issues on violence against women.
Practically, DOST staff attended virtual trainings on Training and Assessment on Mainstreaming GAD Elements, the project development cycle using GAD guidelines, and gender audit.
Being awarded twice as Most GAD Responsive PSTC last 2020 and 2021, DOST SIQUIJOR is proving its heart to carry on with integrity GAD’s propositions even the years to come.
(Jose Aldous R. Arbon II, DOST SIQUIJOR PSTC-IO)