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Philippines : RM s coco coir project improves quality of life of rural women.

To alleviate poverty and usher development in the countryside, the office of 1st district Representative Victor J. Yu, the local government unit of RM, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and the Women Empowerment Rural Improvement Club (WEMRIC) established a coco coir processing plant in barangay Poblacion of this town.

Congressman Yu has allocated P2-M for the coco coir equipment and looming apparatus, PCA provided decorticating machine worth P450,000, while the LGU provided free trainings on the proper operation of tools, equipment and machinery.The project is aimed at empowering women to operate a profitable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME), developing and producing locally and globally competitive coco coir products, and improving the quality of life of rural women.

Mayor Leonilo D. Borinaga Jr. said the coco coir processing plant provides an alternative livelihood income to poor families in the 27 barangays of Ramon Magsaysay, a 4th class municipality.Accordingly, it created an impact on women and empowered them to have more freedom to shape their own lives, encouraged them to act as role models and helped boost the family s income.

The attraction for women is that the earnings they generate from the project are theirs, as compared to earnings from farming which belong to the family, Borinaga explained.The good mayor said the wives felt that their husbands could no longer support all their dependents especially in preparing for the college education of their children, thus, they endeavored to complement their husband s efforts to lighten the load of raising a family.

Despite their active involvement on the project, they have not relinquished their traditional role in household chores and responsibilities.At the start of the project in 2013, Borinaga recalled that WEMRIC members have produced 10 to 15 coco coir geonets per week but now, they can produce as much as 150 to 200 geonets in a week. With this output, the women can earn as much as P600 a day, he added.

According to the mayor, there is no problem with the market, saying that the coco geonets they produced are delivered directly to contractors. The contractors and various local government units are the main buyers of coco geonets in our municipality. There is a great demand of coco geonets because the contractors will use it as more sustainable alternative to concrete and rip-rap, and for slope protection and erosion control, Borinaga said. The women are no longer tempted to do homespun illegal games such as playing cards for money because they are now focused on the project, Borinaga concluded.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Nov 3, 2015
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