12  October 2020

     The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has extended the implementation of the Gender Responsive Economic Action for the Transformation Women (GREAT Women) Project 2 until December 2021. Due to the effects of two recent strong typhoons and the current COVID-19 pandemic, PCW (as lead agency) and GAC (as funding agency) consulted with partner-agencies to extend the project implementation.

     As a governance and capacity development project, the GREAT Women Project 2 GWP2 promotes a gender responsive enabling environment supportive of Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in the Philippines. Eleven (11) regions are the project beneficiaries since 2015.It has two (2) major components: 1) improving the competitiveness and sustainability of women’s micro-enterprise, and 2) improving the enabling environment for WEE.

     The capacity of women micro-entrepreneurs as key players in the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector is strengthened through GWP2, particularly in the establishment and development of small businesses. Geared towards improved competitiveness and sustainability for WMEs and improved enabling environment for WEE, its ultimate outcome is to improve the economic empowerment of WMEs.

     In Bicol Region, GWP2 is implemented through the convergence of three (3) government agencies—Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science & Technology (DOST), and Department of Trade & Industry (DTI)—and 1 private organization (Socio-Economic Development Program Multi-Purpose Cooperative, or SEDP-MPC), under the Industry Cluster Approach.

     123 WMEs are enrolled in GWP2 and engaged in priority commodities such as Processed Fruits & Nuts (73%), Homestyle & Wearables (23%), and Cacao (4%). The agencies’ Provincial Offices conduct regular monitoring to determine the firms’ Competitiveness Pathways: Enterprise Development (Level 1), Market Expansion (Level 2), and Market Stability (Level 3) of the enrolled WMEs, situated in the Provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, and Sorsogon.

     The project’s direct assistance to WMEs are Product Development & Production Technologies Upgrading/Enhancement; Market Development & Expansion; Assistance in Enterprise Development & Management; Facilitation of Registration & Certification Requirements; Participation in Trade Fairs & Exhibits; Visual Merchandising; and Enablers’ Training on Gender Analysis. Other assistances include Market Design through Design Entrepreneurs; Trainings & Roundtable Discussions; and Product Assessment and Enhancement on Branding & Marketing Strategies through Human-Center Design. (Dr. P.O. Lucena, DOST V)