I, WOMAN: SKILLS ENHANCEMENT TRAINING AND TOTAL LEARNING EXCHANGE(SETTLE) (Inclusive Women Organizations Managing Agri-Based Networks for a Sustainable Society)
Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. (XSF) facilitated the Inclusive Women Organizations Managing Agri-Based Networks for a Sustainable Society: Skills Enhancement Training and Total Learning Exchange (I, WOMAN: SETTLE) as part of the Enhancement of Community Capacity for Sustainable Ecological Protection and Economic Development-Phase 2 (EcoSEED 2) project. The EcoSEED-2 project is being supported by the Forest Foundation Philippines.
This was a 4-day activity, split in two batches, held on August 12 to 13, and 14 to 15, respectively. It consisted of lectures, workshops, and exposures to further increase participants’ perspectives and skills on social enterprise development in Malaybalay City and Valencia City. It explored two skills that were both traditional and modern – handcrafting and farming.
This activity aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of the I, WOMAN partners through exposure to various organizations and agencies relevant to their enterprise development activity; learn from fellow participants their methods, practices and management style through workshops and practical applications, and; integrate the learning in management and sustainability action planning for each participating organizations.
The 24 key women participants were representatives of six (6) Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) surrounding Mt. Kalatungan Range namely; Catal Lumad Development Association (CALUDA), Nagkahiusang Manobong Manununod sa Yutang Kabilin (NAMAMAYUK), Portulin Talaandig Tribal Association (PTTA), Bayawon, Lucday, Lungayan, Pendonay Talaandig Tribal Association (BLLUPENTTRAS), Manggayahay Talaandig Association (MANTALA), and TUMINDOK Association.
The women participants visited the Tagolwanen Women Weavers Association, Inc. (TWWA) showroom at Sayre Highway, Casisang, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. There, apart from the hand-woven ‘banig’ and other indigenous products displayed, historical stories and encouraging experiences were significantly shared.
“You are indeed a God’s blessing to our tribe. The only thing we have is that we will work hard to achieve it, even if we don’t surpass with yours, we will really work hard.”
–Emelia Guina, PTTA women president-
As most of the IP communities are farming families, they were also exposed to the Engallado’s Nature Farm in Brgy. Tongantongan, Valencia City. Here they learned more about farming as a sustainable livelihood and a great source of income. The whole day training emphasizes on Asset-Based Sustainable Agriculture and Small-Scale Family Farm Enterprise Development.
Fermentation of plant/fruit juices were demonstrated and explained, as it can be used for plant nutrition, seed and soil treatment. Value-addition to agricultural products was discussed profoundly and later on, a practical application on cooking, baking, and making of foods were made. They prepared rice ice cream, rice polvoron, rice blend, banana chips, brownies, calamansi and roselle juice.
“Now, we are just thankful that little by little we have been given value and recognition, the ‘lumad’ have noticed again. In my opinion, I really appreciate ‘lumad’ products like I do.”
–Eliza Puricallan, TUMINDOK secretary-
The field visit has shown the women participants that there are ways to benefit from the available resources found within their communities. It also emphasizes on the women working together in crafting activities that will provide them additional income and empower them in expressing their ability as well as recognize their importance in the society. To cap the activity, a fellowship night was celebrated where they showcased their talents and enjoyed the moment with fellow women.