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IFAD gender network in the Philippines sets clear directions for 2015

Display Date: 5/21/15

Figure 1. IPGN President Dr. Leo Gallego of IRPEP provides an overview of 2015 Assembly

IFAD Philippines Gender Network (IPGN) conducted its sixth general assembly to discuss gender movements of IFAD-funded programmes in the Philippines and to share processes practiced by the different development programmes for gender sensitivity trainings provided to its beneficiaries.

The annual IPGN general assembly is hosted by one of the implementing agencies funded by IFAD. For the year 2015, the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (INREMP) implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were chosen to host the event last 27-30 April in Camiguin Island, Philippines.

With a theme, “Strategic Woman Transformation Through Project Innovative Information and Education”, the platform was used to review each programme’s gender-related experiences, share good practices and identify major operational constraints from the implementation of the country programme. The participants also agreed on concrete actions to improve mainstreaming gender in the performance of individual programmes.


As an output of the assembly, the group spelled out the following key action points for the network: a) to identify and harmonize common gender-based indicators and tools for use of IFAD-assisted projects which are aligned to the government and organizations for gender mainstreaming; b) publish knowledge products on gender mainstreaming work of IFAD Philippine partners and projects; c) documentation of the IPGN story; and d) planning for 7th IPGN General Assembly to be hosted by Project CONVERGE, a value chain development programme to be implemented by the Philippine Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

The 6th IPGN assembly was participated by agencies from Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), IFAD Philippines, research grant programmes on Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (IRRI-CURE), Food Security Through Asian Roots and Tubers (CIP-FoodSTART) and Climate-smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (ICRAF-Smart Tree-Invest), Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Programme (DA-CHARMP2), Rapid Food Production Enhancement Programme (DA-RaFPEP), Irrigated Rice Production Enhancement Programme (DA-IRPEP), PAKISAMA: National Confederation of Small Farmers and Fishers Organizations, Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment Project (DAR-CONVERGE) and DENR-INREMP. 

Message of Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist Gender and Social Equity, Policy and Technical Advisory Division, IFAD:

Dear friends and colleagues,  

It is my pleasure to send a message from IFAD headquarters to all of you gathered in Camiguin (Philippines)  for the Sixth IFAD Philippines Gender Network Assembly – gender focal points from IFAD supported projects in the Philippines, representatives from implementing agencies and partner organizations.

Last year, I had the privilege to meet with some of you at the workshop of the Multilateral Development Banks on “Gender, voice and agency”, hosted by the Asian Development Bank in Manila.  It was a great opportunity to exchange first-hand experiences and hear more about the work in your projects, the success stories and the challenges that you are facing.

The IFAD Philippines Gender Network is unique.  It is the only gender network that we know of at country level,  and has been thriving for several years.   You are a true self-help network, you took things into your own hands and provide peer support to one another. In this, you are an inspiration to many.  IFAD’s gender architecture includes the gender focal points at project level and we encourage sharing and learning at country, regional and global level.  You  are the pioneers, you have set up a platform for exchange of knowledge, learning and communication that reinforces the efforts made to reduce rural poverty, achieve gender equality and empower  rural women. 

Wherever we go, we praise your efforts and try to stimulate others to also set up a gender network at country level.  Last week, I conducted a gender and targeting training for the gender focal points in Nigeria and  presented your initiative.  Now we might soon have another country gender network!  Perhaps we will soon call on you to assist others in setting up their country networks, in an innovative south-south exchange.

The theme of your sixth assembly “Strategic Woman Transformation through Project Innovative Information and Education” is well chosen and provides a link to the global gender and development agenda.  In 2015, we are looking back at the Fourth World  Conference on Women,  the progress achieved over the last 20 years, and the challenges that are still before us.  Our eyes are also on the framework for a  new global development agenda which will be adopted later this year at the United Nations.  For IFAD,  the focus is on rural transformation as a key element of sustainable development.  It is reached when the livelihoods of smallholder family farmers and poor rural men and women improve, and when communities are lifted out of poverty –in a sustainable manner. We believe this can be achieved by fostering economic empowerment, by giving women a voice in decision-making, and by reducing women’s workloads.  To have a transformative impact and go beyond addressing the symptoms of gender equality, our interventions need to be accompanied by actions that tackle the underlying social norms, behaviours and social systems in order to produce far-reaching and sustainable changes. This may sound like a big call, but every effort counts and I encourage you to always see the bigger picture.

Let me close by wishing you a successful assembly, fruitful discussions and success in finding answers to some of your challenges.   Your assembly will certainly include lots of songs, fun and laughter, which helps to overcome any hurdles, and I know that you are masters in that field in the Philippines   Using both sides of the brain always helps, because we carry the solutions  to many problems already in us, we only need to open our eyes and hearts.  In this sense, all the best for your deliberations!


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