Cooperative project for women garment makers bags UN award

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) congratulates the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) for winning the “People’s Choice” award in the “Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World” contest of the UN Women on August 31. EILER’s “Project Stitch” is intended to become a livelihood project for women workers who used to work in the garment industry.

In the “Tinig ng Kababaihan” (Voices of Women) radio program by the PCW and the Philippine Broadcast Services-Bureau of Broadcast Services (PBS-BBS) on September 7, Ms. Soleil Erika Manzano, one of the “Project Stitch” team representatives, said EILER chose displaced women workers in the garment industry as target beneficiaries to provide entrepreneurial activities which can economically empower them. She also said they wanted to shift the public’s attention to the garment industry especially during these times of crisis. “Bago nagka-krisis, isa ang Pilipinas sa mga dating namamayagpag sa garment industry sa Asya noon” (The Philippines is included in the flourishing garment industries in Asia before), Manzano said.

PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa commended EILER for the initiative. “We hope that ‘Project Stitch’ and the noble act of helping out displaced women workers will inspire more people and boost campaign for women’s economic empowerment,” Verzosa said.

Even though “Project Stitch” did not bag the grand prize, Manzano said garnering the highest number of online votes opened doors for more opportunities. “Many funders have already expressed their intent to make the project a reality,” she said.

“Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World” is a joint initiative by the Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard to help young change makers create a better world of opportunities for women and girls in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

EILER is a non-government organization which builds the capability of workers’ organizations through training of instructors, leaders and education officers. It envisions a society that rewards human labor equitable and upholds social justice.