Empowerment and Opportunities
“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” Women empowerment is essential in any community as it breaks the gender gap and other barriers as they seek opportunities that will set them on an equal pedestal with men. Closing the gap between males and females leads to gender equality, poverty eradication and economic inclusive growth. Economic empowerment has the potential for social change, paving the way for women to contribute economic productivity in their community as well as improve their state of living.
A great example of women empowerment is the Roxas Women’s Association of Zamboanga del Norte. Headed by Mrs. Josephine T. Vallecer, she revitalized the organization to address the needs of the women in the municipality, proposing the meat processing and curtain making business to the association as their livelihood activity.
Processed meats are very meticulous to produce. They require the right procedure of curing and fermentation in controlled conditions to perfect the product. Curtain making, on the other hand, needs certain method to create different styles and textures. It is also important to know the basic skills of sewing in order to create quality curtains.
She saw the potential to create the products since raw materials are readily available in the locality. Initially, members of the association were apprehensive as they don’t have any background and experience on the business. Another concern was the lack of equipment.
Shared Service Facilities Intervention
Addressing the concerns, Ma’am Josephine sought the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to kick start the proposed business for the association. Through the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Program of DTI, they were able to acquire the essential tools for the business- meat grinder, refrigerator, generator and freezer for the meat processing; and high-speed sewing machines for curtain making.
Trainings by DTI
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with the Negosyo Center then proceeded to conduct the meat processing and curtain making training. There were 30 participants for the meat processing training which was held from June 15-17, 2016 while the curtain making training was held from June 15-19, 2016. The trainers were greeted with enthusiastic participants, all eager to learn the basics of the business.
Participants of the meat processing training learned how to make processed meats, such as embutido, ham, tocino, longganisa and skinless sausage. They were taught what ingredients are being used, the proper ways to cook the products, how to handle the finished product, and the labelling and packaging. The trainees on curtain making on the other hand were treated to lessons the different styles of curtains and how to do it. The official launching of Negosyo Center in Roxas, gave them a display center for their finished products. Many were impressed with their curtains’ craftsmanship, and taste of the processed meat.
Stepping Stones to Success
Equipped with knowledge and training, the ladies of Women’s Association in Roxas is ready to start operating the business. Commissioning local suppliers in the municipality for their raw materials, they initially started with making small batches of their products, observing market feedback. As the demand steadily grows, they started producing more.
Ms. Geraldine Galones, the operations manager of processed meat and curtain making of the association, attested that they are slowly progressing to become a sustainable business. Currently they are marketing their products through word of mouth as well as with the help of local government units. Members of the association get their share of the products and sell it to their customers. Though new in the business, they are optimistic that they will expand and gain more profit. They plan to penetrate supermarkets, restaurants and resorts in the future.
It is because of this initiative that women in their community are more motivated to work together and succeed. The women have benefited from this program and generated income which helped them support their daily needs. This will serve as an avenue to further innovate and expand their line of products to achieve economic productivity.
As Ma’am Geraldine would put it, “If we would work together, then attaining success not only in the business but also within each of us is not impossible.”
This zealous outlook of the Women’s Association of Roxas is truly what makes them successful.