IFI, WHSMPC conduct Kiangan Women's Congress.
Around 100 participants from the WHSMP-PC/IFI areas Nagacadan, Duit and Bolog and from the eleven other municipalities attended the said event. The Congress intends to initiate networking between and among women's organizations. The Congress also aims to describe the women's health and safe motherhood practices, identify issues facing women's health and formulate an advocacy agenda based on the issues identified.
Balbina Guiniling, the Women's Health point per son with the Kiangan Municipal Office, gave a women's health situationer for Kiangan, providing the participants with vital health indices as child birth and death rates, leading causes of illness and death and the leading women's health problems in the community.
Rosella Camte-Bahni, IFI program manager, on the other hand, gave the socio-cultural dimensions to women's health, enumerating the factors that affect the poor status of women's health in the community, such as genetic or biological inheritance, environment (economic, socio-cultural, political and physical) and behavior/ lifestyle.
She also presented to the participants some effective actions to improve the women's health situation, such as information/awareness-raising, increasing women's participation, health and education, organizing and networking and advocacy and action.
Armed with these inputs, the participants were grouped according to community to identify and prioritize five issues that impinge on women's health and safe motherhood. This later served as basis for the formulation and adoption of a Kiangan advocacy agenda.
The communities identified first and foremost women's low status which have made them vulnerable to violence, overwork and low self-esteem. The participants also brought out the issues of low awareness and application of sexual and reproductive health rights, the low level of women's participation in decision-making processes, inadequate basic services, inadequate economic support and the increasing incidence of juvenile delinquency, gambling and drunkenness as other obstacles to the full development of women
The participants then identified appropriate responses to serve as basis for the formulation of an advocacy agenda. The advocacy agenda aims to uplift the socio-cultural status of women, to mobilize communities against gender-based violence, to adopt a comprehensive information education campaign in reproductive health and sexuality, to transform local governance, so that the agencies could prioritize the allocation of resources for basic health services and facilities, to strengthen women's organizations and provide adequate economic support and to enact and strictly implement liquor bans and anti-gambling programs in the community.
The said advocacy agenda will next be presented to the communities, local government units and network partners, after which the communities will explore possible ways to implement the said advocacy agenda.
WHSMP-PC and IFI also recently concluded an organizational diagnosis meeting with its three areas at Kiangan (Bolog, Duit and Nagacadan).
Meanwhile, other IFI community organizers have already finished conducting participatory rural appraisals, community health planning, leadership trainings and project proposal making seminars and are working for the sustainability of identified community projects.