Oton Forum Initiates a Convergence of Services for Women

Oton, Iloilo–A Women’s Forum, organized by the municipal government of Oton last August 2014, surfaced gender, enterprise and women’s human rights issues that shall be addressed by a convergence of national and local government partners.

Among major issues on women’s human rights discussed were social protection of women microentrepreneurs and violence against women (VAW) survivors, a temporary shelter for VAW victims apart from comprehensive services, need for functional barangay VAWC desks with trained officers, quality education for young women and children.

Conversely, leading gender and enterprise issues involved slow business growth among women-led enterprises, non-sustainable women’s microenterprises, lack of knowledge on occupational health and safety among women workers and women microentrepreneurs, and flood hazards affecting enterprises and the community.

Surrounding these gender issues, the local government and national government partners are formulating a convergence plan with proposed interventions and target beneficiaries. The convergence plan, once approved and validated, will serve as the local roadmap for accessing and mobilizing partner resources for the convergence on women’s economic empowerment and women’s human rights. The convergence plan will be actualized into a convergence model of stakeholders on localized Magna Carta of Women implementation.

The Women’s Forum was able to establish the service beneficiaries of the Social Security System, the Philippine Health Insurance System, the Department of Agriculture and Department of Social Welfare and Development’s SEA-K Program.

The municipality of Oton in Iloilo is a partner of the Philippine Commission on Women-AECID Magna Carta of Women (MCW) Project. The AECID MCW Project extends capacity development, technical and funding support to pilot local government units that will craft and implement gender-responsive policies, plans, programs and activities for women’s economic empowerment and women’s social rights.