Cooperatives are situated in the heart of the communities. Their members are their reason for being. They build resilient and sustainable communities. Therefore, it is critical for cooperatives to withstand a disaster and open their services to members at a time when they need it most.
Cooperatives in the Philippines offer various services for their members, depending on their kind. Some develop and sell community produce, others provide loans for livelihoods, act as a bank safeguarding members’ savings, or even a source of food and goods. At times, they offer all of the above, and so much more.
Last April, two events were held in the push for cooperative resilience.
The 3rd National Summit on Gender and Development (GAD) in Cooperatives
The Summit was held April 3-5, 2018 organised by the Gender Equality Resource Center, Inc. and supported by the government’s Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
The summit aimed that “cooperators [be able to] harness the Sustainable Development Agenda toward promoting gender equality and ending all forms of discrimination against women in cooperatives, workplaces, and communities by 2030.” The summit focused on the role of cooperatives in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals through gender equality and women empowerment.
The Humanitarian Leadership Academy Philippines shared not only our partnership with CDA during the summit but also our stand on gender equality.
“We believe our learning should address the systemic inequality experienced by women and girls in accessing learning whilst empowering participants to drive gender equality within their own spheres of influence,” said Melissa Domingo, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) Program Manager, Humanitarian Leadership Academy Philippines, during her presentation.
A Declaration and Call for Action was produced to put into action gender mainstreaming within cooperatives, and push governments and monitoring bodies to enforce compliance. It was signed by the 884 women and men from 336 primary cooperatives, unions, federations, cooperative banks, development councils, local government units, national government agencies and NGOs who attended the summit.
Specifically, the Declaration called on “all cooperatives to step up the development of micro-, small-, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) for national economic development, especially that 58 percent of 922,677 MSMEs in the Philippines are owned and managed by women and households.” The full declaration can be found here.
The second Business Continuity Management (BCM) Training of Trainers (ToT) for Cooperative Development Specialists (CDS)
Still in Cebu, on April 23 to 27, the second Business Continuity Management Training of Trainers was organised by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy Philippines with the CDA.
As per latest count, 49 CDS have been trained in Luzon and Visayas. Other CDS to be trained will be coming from Mindanao and Metro Manila in the following months. The CDS will be responsible for training primary cooperatives in their assigned areas to create their own Business Continuity Plans.
The BCM ToT uses a combination of online and face-to-face training. The online modules are available on Kaya, the Academy’s online learning platform. The face-to-face training is supported by the University of the Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries.