By Minerva Newman
TAGBILARAN CITY – The province of Bohol is bolstering women empowerment through partnerships with various women’s groups in the country and abroad to enable the women of Bohol to lead in economic, gender and development programs for the province.
Bohol governor Arthur Yap said that he continuously partners with gender equality organizations and foundations such the Samahan ng mga Pilipino para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran (SPARK!) Philippines, Angat Buhay, J.Amado Araneta Foundation, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand Embassy funded-program, and more to push for women and gender-based campaigns and programs.
Yap believed in the significant roles of women in both informal and formal economy and enabling them further will lead to the economic progress of the community.
According to Augustus Escobia, Bohol provincial information officer that Yap first collaborated with SPARK! in July 2019 for the Workshop for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs in Bohol.
It was a three-day capacity-building training that focused on developing the basic competencies needed by aspiring women entrepreneurs, which included the evaluation of business ideas, creation of a business plan, and lectures on key business principles, Escobia said.
In partnership with Angat Buhay, an initiative of the Office of the Vice-President and the J.Amado Araneta Foundation which gave the seed grant to each woman entrepreneur in the workshop. The results of the program served as an indicator for Governor Yap and SPARK! to implement two more entrepreneurship boot camps in Bohol this year, Escobia added.
Escobia went on that another training-workshop was conducted Tuesday, February 18 to 21 with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and this is for women who are victim-survivors of gender-based violence; women from indigenous cultural communities and women rebel returnees of Bohol.
The New Zealand Embassy funded-program called AWEB or Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs Bootcamp, on the other hand, will have its Visayas leg in the province from February 26 to 28, Escobia added.
Both programs Escobia bared will have a mix of learning methods such as presentations, discussions, and break-out sessions to ensure an engaging and pro-active activity alongside consultations with established entrepreneurs from the province.
At the end of each training, each participant will be awarded a seed grant for them to realize their business plans and will be subjected to monitoring and evaluation in the next 12 months, he said.
The implementation of these women-based programs is in collaboration with the Bohol Investment Promotion Center (BIPC), the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Dalareich Food Products, and Ginto Chocolates.
Aside from the economic empowerment initiatives Bohol is engaged and supporting national advocacy campaigns to eliminate gender-based violence and movements such as #RespetoNaman, #MeToo and #TimesUp.
Escobia said the #RespetoNaman is a national advocacy campaign to eliminate gender-based violence through the support of Terre des Hommes under the Girls Advocacy Alliance, the Embassy of Sweden, and the British Embassy Manila which will be held in Bohol in March in time for the “Women’s Month” celebration. The #RespetoNaman forum is also scheduled at Holy Name University.
Another campaign regarded as the Philippines’ answer to #MeToo and #TimesUp movements will launch its first localized and grassroots oriented version of #DontTellMeHowToDress exhibit in partnership with the Bohol provincial government and Baji Arts Collective.