U.S. Embassy News and Events 2012
USAID promotes empowerment of Mindanao women
As part of its commitment to promote gender equality and women empowerment and to foster peace and economic growth in Mindanao, USAID’ Growth with Equity in Mindanao Program provided the Balungis Women’s Association, composed of 25 family members of former combatants of the Moro National Liberation Front in Sarangani Province, with a trading center where they can manufacture, store, and market their products made of traditional woven cloth. USAID also provided the women with six handlooms to improve production, as well as training to help members use their traditional weaving skills in creating new patterns and designing higher-value products for the modern consumer market. To date, USAID has provided production inputs, training and marketing assistance to 50 communities in the Sulu Archipelago and 64 communities in Central Mindanao which translate to improved economic well-being and quality of life for families.
In photo: Left USAID Deputy Mission Director Reed Aeschliman views the display of woven items housed alongside the handlooms (in background) in the trading center built by USAID through its GEM Program, in Malapatan, Sarangani Province. USAID-GEM has built more than 1,450 community infrastructure projects in Mindanao, of which 192 are trading centers. Center: Deputy Mission Director Aeschliman is joined by Senator Loren Legarda (center), Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez (far left), and Vice Governor Steve Solon during the inauguration of the trading center. Right: Jannaria Magangcong, head of the women weavers’ association, presents certificates of appreciation to Sergio Boero (2nd from left), a marketing specialist who works with producers of ethnic Philippine crafts, and Emi Englis (far left), a designer who is helping the association to develop new products, for conducting the workshop organized by USAID on product design, packaging and marketing for the Balungis weavers and other women entrepreneurs of Malapatan.