Ninety-six of the growing number of Gender and Development (GAD) Resource Pool members certified by the Philippine Commission on Women participated in the three-day assembly hosted by the Commission on June 28-30, 2017 at the Hive Hotel and Convention Center in Quezon City.
With the theme “The GAD Resource Pool as CHANGE Agents: Moving from Tokenism and Compliance to Gender-Responsiveness,” the Assembly featured sessions designed to rekindle the commitment and enhance the knowledge of the members as a community of advocates for compassionate and harmonized actions and networks for gender equality.
In her message, PCW Chairperson Rhodora M. Bucoy stressed on the role of the GAD Resource Pool (GR Pool) members as agents of change.
“The most important thing is to believe that what you are doing is good for our society; is good for men and women; and is good for governance. Our fulfillment will not rest only on how many trainings or technical assistance we have provided; but in seeing how our work has influenced the lives of people. Cherish your work as change agents towards the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment in the country,” she said.
34 new members certified; 31 renewed partnership
The Assembly also welcomed 34 new members of the GR Pool composed of individuals coming from NGAs (6), Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (2), Civil Society Organizations (6), LGU (1), Academe (15), and four independent GAD consultants.
Meanwhile, a total of 31 members from Batches 1 and 2 of the GR Pool renewed their partnership agreement with the PCW in a ceremonial pinning of the GR Pool insignia and handover of certification and identification cards.
They are all part of the 112 GAD practitioners who are members of the GR Pool, which was created to help PCW respond to the growing demand for technical assistance on gender mainstreaming and GAD planning and budgeting for national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) nationwide.
Learning through shared experiences
Another highlight of the three-day activity is the sharing of experiences and good practices in delivering GAD technical assistance by selected members of the GR Pool.
They shared that being a part of the GR Pool helped nurture their growth as GAD practitioners through the leveling off sessions and other training opportunities offered by PCW. They were also able to broaden their knowledge base by being exposed to different sectors in providing GAD technical assistance.
They also stressed the need to study the profile of the agency or LGU being provided with assistance and be updated on GAD-related news and useful information which they can share with clients or training participants.
The application of communication for development principles into technical assistance provision was also discussed, with the view leveling up technical assistance provision to look into results.
Addressing SOGIE issues thru the GAD Budget
The Assembly also tackled issues on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE). Highlights of the session included discussion on the socio-economic environment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons including in the academe; impact of health approaches on SOGIE; and discussing SOGIE from a faith-based perspective.
One of the questions raised during the session is the issue on whether programs addressing SOGIE concerns can be included in the GAD plan and budget proposal of agencies and local government units. PCW clarified that the Commission adheres to the principles gender equality and the empowerment of all women, as well as human rights based approach to development. Hence, agencies and LGUs may include programs, activities and projects that address SOGIE issues in their GAD plan and budget proposals, following the GAD planning and budgeting guidelines issued by the Commission.
Taking the challenge
GR Pool members were selected based on the following: proven track record as GAD technical adviser or resource person; previous engagement with PCW; endorsement by other GAD experts or PCW officers; availability to attend leveling sessions and capacity development sessions for GR Pool members; and ability to respond to TA requests on GAD.
PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa thanked the GR Pool members for taking on the challenge of being PCW’s partners in making the Philippines more gender-responsive. She noted that for the period January 2016 to May 2017 alone, at least 225 technical assistance requests were referred by PCW to the GRPool. They were also helped PCW in the development and validation of GAD tools such as the Enhanced Gender Mainstreaming Monitoring Framework, Gender Responsive Local Government Assessment Tool, and sectoral modules.
PCW is scheduled to open the profiling of GR Pool Batch 6 in August 2017 and advises interested individuals to watch out for announcement of GR Pool application details and requirements through the agency website (www.pcw.gov.ph) and social media accounts (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PCWgovph and Twitter: @PCWgovph).