Rural women could play very catalytic roles in the development of rural communities and in achieving the goals of alleviating poverty and more inclusive development. Increasingly, rural women are showing that aside from managing and caring for their household and tending their farms and livestock, they can also engage in micro trade and enterprises and contribute more to household income. However, the number of rural women who successfully started and or expanded their micro enterprises constitute a small percentage of the total rural women population. Majority still lack access to skills training and capital for starting and managing a business enterprise.
The gender bias, especially in rural areas in developing countries in Asia, still limits rights of women to access to resources, education and training, financial and business support, and business opportunities. There is a need to support rural women in terms of capacity building and access to resources to enable them to have their own business enterprise and or to develop their latent talent for entrepreneurship.
With appropriate training, women could improve their performance and shift from marginal income generation to more profitable and sustainable business, which could create jobs for the unemployed and underemployed in rural communities. Several studies have noted that investing in women can generate significant improvement in productivity and household food security. With improvement in the economic status of rural women, they would be empowered to participate and contribute more to rural community development. To achieve this, there is a need to develop a critical mass of knowledgeable and effective trainers in each developing country and rural community. This training course will serve as APO’s contribution toward that direction.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
a. To equip participants with knowledge and skills in planning, designing and implementing training courses on enterprise development for rural women; and
b. To provide participants with relevant modules to be used in conducting in-country training to encourage and support rural women to become entrepreneurs.
OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION
a. To further gain knowledge and improve my skills in implementing/conducting Entrepreneurship training course in our agency as a common subject of our regular trainees as well in rural areas through our CBET (Community Based Training) focusing more on rural women entrepreneurship and enterprise development.
b. To integrate the relevant modules provided by the project organizers to the International Labor Organization (ILO) modules currently utilized by our agency in Entrepreneurship training course.
c. To have an idea on how gender biased still are the other participating countries as regards women entrepreneurship compared to the Philippines.
d. To know the current trend on the emergence of rural women entrepreneurship in the other participating countries of this project.
PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS
There are 25 participants from different Asian countries for this project. Two (2) of whom are from the Philippines. Ms. Cheri Ann Parba de Guzman, Administrative Officer IV of TESDA Agusan del Sur GDOP Government Center, is my fellow Filipino participant.
SCOPE, CONTENT AND METHODOLOGY
The course included lectures on the following topics:
a. Global and Regional Trends in Women Entrepreneurship;
b. Prevailing Gender – Based Issues Affecting Women Entrepreneurship Development;
c. Enterprise Development and its Link to Job Creation and Sustainable Livelihood in Rural Areas;
d. Basic of Business Planning and Enterprise Development;
e. Management of Micro and Small Enterprises;
f. Developing Skills in Accessing Markets and Networking;
g. Product Development and Innovations;
h. Production Planning and Operation Management;
i. Identifying Markets and Marketing;
j. Human Resource Management in Small Medium Enterprises
k. Productivity and Improvement Tools for Micro and Small Enterprises (5 S, Kaizen)
l. Emerging Roles of Trainers in the Capacity Development of Women in Rural Areas;
m. Tools and Techniques in Undertaking Training Needs Assessment;
n. Enhancing Facilitation and Presentation Skills; and
o. Applications of ICT in Business Planning and Management
Participants were also grouped in various ways throughout the training for group workshops/exercises.
COUNTRY CASE STUDY
Ms. Cora D. Ong, Owner and Founder, CDO Foodsphere Inc.
The role of women in our economy has drastically changed over the past century. From plain housewives to driven career people, society’s expectations of how women can – and should – contribute to our economy’s growth and development continues to evolve and challenge traditional gender norms.
In the Philippines, where female labor force participation as well as unemployment rates are increasing, entrepreneurship can offer new opportunities for women to generate their own income, and help others as they do it.
One of those women who took risk of getting into business and is awarded as one of the successful Filipino entrepreneurs for years is Ms. Cora D. Ong.
Ms. Cora D. Ong, owner and founder of CDO Foodsphere Inc., a leading processed foods manufacturer in the Philippines, initially started her business out of boredom being a plain housewife. While taking care of her two children, she took cooking lessons where she learned how to make two well-known products in the Philippines, skinless longganiza and siopao. Through her innovativeness, Ong was able to combine these two products into a new and unique one – a siopao that had longganiza filling. This launched what became a highly successful career of Ong in the food business, the CDO Foodsphere Inc.
The CDO Foodsphere Inc. has been operating for 38 years and is now manufacturing not only processed foods but also various delicacies, canned and bottled products that have become part of the usual Filipino life.
As she continues to be on top, Ong revealed that what really drives her now to continuously make CDO expand and grow is to contribute to the generation of employment in the country.
Ms. Cora D. Ong proves that women can lead the pack in entrepreneurship.
OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION
Dr. Nerlie Manalili, Dr. Dindo Campilan and Miss Rabia Jamil discussed and shared their knowledge and expertise on the 3 modules to us, the participants, namely : (1) Women’s Entrepreneurship in Rural Sectors : Issues, Challenges and Opportunities; (2) Business Development and Enterprise Planning and Management; and the (3) Role of Trainers in Capacity Development of Women in Rural Areas.
Being an International Labor Organization (ILO) trained trainer, my facilitation skills were improved as we were required to present/deliver different outputs almost every day throughout the training duration. My knowledge and skills in Business Plan preparation and presentation was also further enhanced.
Through the field/site visits, we saw the actual business operations of each of the 3 enterprises and identify any gender – based issues (if there were). We also had actual applications of the different topics discussed most especially the conduct of Training Needs Assessment and Training Program design.
Participants were also asked to submit and present their Case Study on Successful Woman Entrepreneur which gave us glimpses on the current trends on the emergency of women entrepreneurship in their country and on how gender biased still are their place compared to the Philippines.
Since participants were grouped in number of ways, we were able to work with almost all of the 25 participants. This allowed us to share experiences, ideas, knowledge and skills with all of the other Asian country participants.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION PLAN
Participants were grateful for this training course and recommended the possibility of the organization and conduct of the same or similar course on a yearly basis for follow up and updates.
As to here in the Philippines, I think it would be a great idea to have the Trainers all over the country to convene and undertake a similar training focusing on the promotion of rural women entrepreneurship towards our country’s economic development.
To disseminate the knowledge gained from the course and thereby generate a multiplier effect, my Action Plan includes a re-echo or a comprehensive presentation of the modules presented and discussed to us as well as the experiences and inputs we had during the training to my colleagues and other interested stakeholders from related organizations. I will also write an article about the training and have it published in our newsletter and in our agency’s website.
TESDA – Panagasinan Technological Institute