Women Driving Change

 

The women at Palao sa Buto are looking for ways of making their farming community productive while the men are working in the fields. 

Charima Ulangkaya, Muslima Pendi, and Noraida Abdul

The empowerment of women is evident in all capacity-building activities conducted by the Mindanao Trust Fund - Reconstruction and Development Project Phase 3 (MTF-RDP/3) that also targets other sectors such as the youth and the elderly.

Charima Ulangkaya, 47, a mother of nine, mobilizes women to attend these MTF-RDP/3 activities, which are geared towards the socio-economic development of the six major MILF camps.

Making sure that they do not miss any of the events, she always reminds them that this would not only help the community in general, but also their families, who rely mainly on agriculture.

 “Some people, particularly mothers like me would say that this is just a waste of time. That instead of attending these kinds of activities, we might as well take good care of our own homes,” Charima said. “But I convinced them to try and see what benefit these activities will bring us. Now, these women have found a new and important role in our community.”

Although not an officer, Charima actively participates in the discussion of projects recommended by the local people’s organization (PO). She raises questions and responds to whatever concerns are discussed during the community interactions.

“One thing that these activities gave me is confidence. I am not afraid anymore to stand in front of people and speak,” she said. “This is what I am trying to build with my fellow women members,” she added.

Charima is a member of the Fisher Folks Association based at Barangay Palao sa Buto, Datu Paglas, in Maguindanao, an area within Camp Rajamuda, which is one of the six MILF camps targeted for rehabilitation under the MTF-RDP/3. People’s Organizations (POs) are mobilized, encouraged to become more inclusive, formally engaged, trained, and are tasked to manage the utilization and maintenance of completed projects.

Agricultural Facility in Barangay Palao sa Buto, Datu Paglas, Maguindanao
Barangay Palao sa Buto's Solar Dryer and Warehouse

An agricultural facility that includes a warehouse and solar dryer was also constructed at Palao sa Buto. The warehouse can store crops and agricultural materials. The solar dryer can be used to dry grains harvested from 100 hectares of rice fields surrounding the barangay.

Muslima Pendi, 42, said the solar dryer will be of great help to the farmers. Chickens roam the area where they used to dry their grains and it also got flooded when it rained.

The facility can accommodate six sacks of rice grains while the solar dryer can accommodate 10 sacks. Apart from the structure, the community will be provided with a rice mill.

Noraida Abdul, 44, said that they no longer have to rent the rice mill from other barangays, which adds to their post-harvest expenses.

Building on the gains of phase II of the MTF-RDP, the agricultural facilities built under phase III is complemented by the provision of training and tools or equipment that encourage and support increase in productivity in the community.

The women of Palao sa Buto also underwent baking and productivity trainings in March 2021. They have also attended operations and maintenance as well as project management trainings.

“We usually say this when we have visitors from CFSI and BDA, but allow us to say this once again. Thank you so much for this great help for our families and community,” Charima said. “You gave us not just projects, but also hope and encouragement.” 

Adapted from Community and Family Services International (02 March 2021). Women driving change at Palao sa Buto.  URL: https://cfsi.ph/women-driving-change-at-palao-sa-buto/ (accessed on 06 June 2021)