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ARTICLE : PROMOTING WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

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“A woman with a voice is by definition, a strong woman.” – Melinda Gates

Embracing the diversity, beauty, and strength of women, March marks the National Women’s Month and is part of the worldwide observance of International Women’s Day. It is said that Women’s Month is when we celebrate the achievements of women, but what signifies the importance of Women’s Month? Why is there a need to commemorate women in the first place?

It is said that Women’s Month is when we celebrate the achievements of women, but what signifies the importance of Women’s Month? Why is there a need to commemorate women in the first place?

Simply put, Women’s Month is celebrated to address gender inequality.  To think that women make up half of the world’s population, it is ironic that they represent one of the largest minorities spread across the globe. National Women’s Month challenges this stigma because it increases the consciousness and knowledge of women’s history – to take one month of the year to remember the contributions of notable and ordinary women, in hopes that the day will come where gender stigmas are denied and that women are seen as strong equal contributors to society.

Although it is true that gender parity exists in high-level corporate firms, this does not apply to local and rural communities. More than 10 million Filipino women still live today in poverty, with rural and indigenous women being the most vulnerable. Even though International Labor Organization recorded that more jobs were created for Filipinas in 2013, Rappler states that the employment rate of women still stands at 46.7%, significantly lower than men at 72.9% (2014). Women also still face certain disadvantages in terms of benefits, wages, and underemployment.

While the world celebrates a seemingly woman-friendly Philippines, the number of Violence against Women (VAW) cases reported to the Philippine National Police (PNP) has increased by over 500% in the past 16 years. Rodriguez (2015) states that VAW is linked with the unequal power relationship between women and men, resulting from society’s misinformed views on gender and sexuality. Men are traditionally labeled as leaders and providers, while women are seen as nurturers and supporters. This perception leads to men gaining more power over women, and that VAW is a form of men’s expression of controlling women to retain power (Rodriguez, 2015). Until this second, women and girls still continue to experience different forms of abuse every day.

These pressing issues emphasize the importance of National Women’s Month in this largely patriarchal society. Most prominent in today’s time, we need to do our part on creating a collective action to recognize the challenges women go through every day. Women’s Month not only celebrateswomen’s equality, but most importantly promotes it.  What makes men and women unequal is a centuries-long social history of treating them differently, which we need to overcome.  Women’s Month is not meant to promote women over men, or facetiously “celebrate just how equal we are”. It is meant to acknowledge that their rights, responsibilities, and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female.  

Both women and men, young and old, must be educated about human rights, women and gender issues, and the roles they play in ending discrimination. Women’s Month marks the best time to advocate and bring these issues to the forefront. The more informed men and women are, the more empowered women will be.

In line with National Women’s Month, France – Philippines United Action (FPUA) is happy to announce that a project focusing on empowering women through livelihood engagement in FPUA rehabilitation site in Bogo, Cebu, will start this year.

After typhoon Haiyan devastated the Visayas region of the Philippines on November 8, 2013, France-Philippines United Action Foundation (FPUA) built three housing rehabilitation sites (villages) for the victim families in Northern Cebu in Daanbantayan and Bogo. Today, FPUA has more than 1200 beneficiaries living in these three sites.

FPUA recognizes the lack of jobs and opportunities for women from its rehabilitation sites. On FPUA rehabilitation site in Bogo, it was recorded that there are only four households where both parents work. Most women just stay at home and do domesticated work even if they also want to earn.  Based on a community needs assessment conducted in 2018, livelihood and education are priority requirements for the 46 households of FPUA site in Bogo. The study further cited that livelihood will empower the community to provide for their own education and health requirement.

Through the development of sustainable livelihood and micro-enterprises, the project aims to help 50 women to have an increased income, improved access, provision, and control to resources, opportunities, and benefits, and aim to create an environment where women-led micro enterprises can grow by mainstreaming Gender Equality at community level.

Empowering a woman sparks a journey that not only changes her life, but influences the lives of her family and community too. Through this project, we hope to strengthen the voices of the women and to gear new opportunities for them to discover.

To know more about the project proposal, please contact us at info@fpua.org.ph or at 831-6374 local 109.


Reference

  • INFOGRAPHIC: Where do women work? (2014). Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/brandrap/whipit/53365-infographic-where-women-work/

           

ARTICLE : WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN EDUCATION

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It is no secret that education has the potential to change lives. For one, it opens great opportunities for the youth and it cultivates their potentials. Education is one of the strongest predictors of employment as it continues to be the cornerstone of job preparation and empowerment.

It is not only a way to attain success, but more importantly to escape poverty. Yet for millions of children and youth in low-income countries and poor communities, an education is beyond reach. According to the 2016 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), about 9% or 3.6 million of the estimated 39.2 million Filipinos aged 6 to 24 years old were out-of-school children and youth (OSCY) (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2018).

Although the Philippines has had remarkable progress in expanding access to basic education, Education Data of 2016 shows that about half of Filipino students are struggling to complete basic education on time (The World Bank, 2018). An alarming spike of 11% (equating to 4.8 million Filipinos) increase since 2012 has been recorded for the number of elementary and high school dropouts (Porcalla, 2017). The poor are most at risk, creating a vicious cycle of impoverishment.

Poverty is one of the main causes of Philippine’s poor education record and has affected participation in education in more ways than one. According to Mangahas (2017), every Filipino should complete at least 10 years—ideally at least 12 years—of basic education to be able to earn enough to avoid poverty. Extreme poverty is forcing more and more students out of the classroom and onto the streets of large cities, where they beg and hustle to survive. Even if education is sometimes free, more problems arise as daily expenses and allowances for the children are tight.

In hopes to fill the educational gap, sponsorships have been supported by quite a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies, foundations, corporate donors and private well-wishers. Sponsorships are one of the long-term solutions to poverty because it targets and gives the underprivileged, especially to those located in rural areas, a chance to better their future. Scholarships that assist or cover costs of pursuing education provide a number of benefits for recipients. From reducing the financial burden of the rising costs of education, to allowing students more time and energy to focus on studies rather than part-time work, scholarships are one piece in the puzzle of what creates a strong foundation for supporting students in their success in pursuing their dreams.

In line with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal #4: Education; which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; quality education has always been part of FPUA’s initiatives for the vulnerable and underprivileged communities in the Philippines.

FPUA has built three rehabilitation sites in in Daanbantayan and Bogo, Northern Cebu, for the victims of typhoon Haiyan which accommodates more than 1200 beneficiaries today.

With the support of its company partners, FPUA continues supporting the three communities with the objective of helping them achieve self-sustainability through programs in Education, Health, Livelihood, and Environment.

FPUA’s currently provides scholarships for high school students from the rehabilitation sites in Daanbantayan. Since the launch of the program in 2017, the scholars are enrolled in one of the best private school in the municipality.

The program has already proven both its necessity and effectiveness. Opening new perspectives on their future, the quality education the students receive is motivating them to study hard so they could uplift their family conditions and achieve their dreams of becoming engineers, doctors, teachers, or whichever profession they would want to take.

 Take part of our initiative and help in our cause for quality education!

  • Sponsor 1 FPUA high school scholar for 1 year (renewable until the scholar finishes high school) for only Php 32,000
  • You can also sponsor a batch of scholars and accompany them until high school graduation and even further!

You can choose the number of scholars you are interested to sponsor and for how many years.

For more information,


References

  • Mangahas, M. (2017, March 11). Poor children should finish high school.
  • Nine Percent of Filipinos Aged 6 to 24 years are Out of School (Results from the 2017 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey). (2018, June 06). Retrieved January 17, 2019, from https://psa.gov.ph/content/nine-percent-filipinos-aged-6-24-years-are-out-poverty-indicators
  • Porcalla, D. (2017, June 25). Number of elementary, high school dropouts rising – lawmaker.
  • The Philippines Alternative Learning System: A Second Chance to Develop the Human Capital of Out-of-School Youth and Adults. (2018, September 20).

           

Visit of French company Nutriset : Promoting healthy growth for children on FPUA rehabilitation sites

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While the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act” (Republic Act 11148) has just been signed by President Duterte, FPUA had the pleasure of accompanying Nutriset on FPUA sites for an initial meeting with the communities of Daanbantayan and Bogo.

The future of these communities is based on the good health of its individuals, particularly pregnant and lactating women, and young children. With the assistance of Nutriset, nutritional solutions can be provided for the “first 1000 days” period of the life covered by the Republic Act 11148.

The term “first 1,000 days” refers to the period from conception to two years of the child. During this period, the child is particularly vulnerable not only because of his natural fragility and his dependence on adults but also because the environment around him, and sometimes the aggression, will influence his future health.

The visit of Nutriset has confirmed the need of “first 1000 days” interventions, supported by evidence from community members that some of their children are stunted and others are reported malnourished. The efforts of the local governments are acknowledged. Short feeding programs have already shown positive results on the children, however so much more need to be done on the long-term.

An independent French family-owned company, Nutriset is a key player in the fight against malnutrition, recognized for its expertise in research in nutrition, the design and manufacture of food products with high nutritional value. Nutriset collaborates with the United Nations, governments, NGOs, academic institutions and civil society – with a unique mandate: to contribute to nutritional autonomy for all.

Since the completion of the rehabilitation sites, FPUA focuses on developing programs in education, health, environment and livelihood. Good nutrition is critical for child physical and mental development as it affects learning and earning capacity and thus education and livelihood opportunities. As FPUA’s goal is to build long-term strong and sustainable FPUA communities, the development of nutrition programs are essentials.

With your support, FPUA can facilitate the implementation of “first 1000 days” projects in the communities of Daanbantayan and Bogo. Awareness raising actions on good hygiene and food practices are already in place, but can be strengthened. Access to specialized products, such as those Nutriset has developed especially for a “first 1000 days” approach, may be possible thanks to your generosity and your contributions.

Contact us now at info@fpua.org.ph to know more about the opportunity to build strong children.

Visit Nutriset website here to know the full range of their products.

Air Liquide Philippines Inc. shares the spirit of Christmas with FPUA community, Agujo, Daanbantayan

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Air Liquide’s corporate foundation attests the Group’s commitment to being a responsible company engaged in long-term philanthropy’s action through four advocacies : Environment, Health / Breathing, Science Education, Local development.
Following the pillars of the Air Liquide Foundation, Air Liquide Philippines has a very active Corporate Social Responsibility. The French and leading industrial gas supplier in the country is currently sponsoring FPUA educational assistance program.

This project aims to support high school children of the FPUA rehabilitation sites located in Daanbantayan, Cebu. With this sustainable scholarship program, Air Liquide gives students the opportunity to have access to quality education and a step closer to achieve their dreams and those of their families.

Last December 6, Atty. Katrina Nicdao, Manager, Corporate Affairs and Legal, at Air Liquide Philippines visited FPUA scholars in Daanbantayan.

Not only, she visited but she also brought gifts on behalf of the company and treated the scholars to a local famous fast-food chain.

Thank you so much Air Liquide Philippines!

If you want to know more about the project and sponsor scholars too, contact us at info@fpua.org.ph

Eye Screening Vision Mission in barangay Agujo, Daantanbayan Cebu

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To this day, approximately 2.5 billion people all over the world suffer unnecessarily from poor eyesight. Our eyes receive 80% of the information we take in on a daily basis, making it our most important organ of sense. Our eyes are prone to being damaged from the Ultra Violet rays which can also lead to cataracts, and the risk of damaging the eyes from the UV rays is 3 times higher for a child than for an adult. With our advancing technology, people spend an average of 4 hours a day in front of a computer or a cellular phone’s screen which contributes to the impairing of the eyes. Poor eyesight results to unsatisfactory performance negatively affecting our capabilities and giving the children in school a higher risk of failing classes. Poor vision also damages one’s health and could lead to accidents.

With the initiative of France Philippine United Action (FPUA) together with Children of Asia (COA), Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF), Essilor Manufacturing Philippines Inc. (EMPI), Essilor Philippines Optical Distribution Inc. (EPODI), and Essilor Shared Services Philippines Inc. (ESSPI), an Optical Mission was held last November 10, 2018, in Daantanbayan, Northern Cebu.

The health mission was organized for the benefit of the students from Saint Martin De Porres Academy where FPUA and CoA have an on-going scholarship program. Furthermore, the families of the FPUA and CoA scholars, as well as the FPUA community from Barangay Agujo were given the opportunity to go through free eye screening and to receive free eyeglasses as well.

Following typhoon Yolanda, FPUA built two rehabilitation sites in Daanbantayan for the victims of the disaster. Since their inauguration in 2015, FPUA has developed various programs in order to help the communities of the newly built villages to become sustainable.

Together with Essilor staff volunteers, four optometrists from Cebu City volunteered for this mission. The main purpose of this activity was to conduct eye examinations and provide prescriptions to those who were concluded to have poor eyesight. This program also stood by the tagline of Essilor which is: “Improving lives by improving sight”.

The Eye screening program started with an orientation on the importance of the care of the eyes as well as the briefing on the flow of the program. It was followed by the visual screening through the visio-test machines and the measurement of one’s refractive error with the help of the auto refractor. Prescription glasses were given out on the same day for those with poor vision.

A total of 375 individuals were successfully aided by the eye screenings. Through the eye examinations, 57% of the 375 people were concluded to have clear eyesight and 43% were found to have poor eyesight and need assistance. On the same day, eye wears were given to those in need while those who need special prescription glasses will be receiving their eyewear in a few weeks’ time.

FPUA Christmas Basket is available until November 20 only !

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Do you know what to give to your employees, family, friends, colleagues this holiday season?
Why not offer something meaningful which will not only make the person who receives it happy but may also change the life of the person who made it?

For this Christmas season, FPUA has selected delicious products made by local communities, NGOs beneficiaries, and small entrepreneurs.

The FPUA Christmas Basket is the perfect gift to give your employees, colleagues, clients, family members.

Each basket includes:

– Flavored Premium Arabica Coffee
– Tasty Mango Calamansi Jam 
– Delicious Cinnamon Bizcocho 
– Rich Chocolate Bar with Banana Chips 

The products will be nicely wrapped in a native Filipino basket together with adorable Maligayang Pasko! postcards, and with touching messages from the artisans.

Every item is made by hardworking and talented Filipinos. They will not only be heartfelt gifts to the recipients, but also a very meaningful way of helping the local communities, and allowing people to realize the true meaning of the season for giving.

Only Php1,000 / basket (exclusive of delivery charge).

Place your order(s) before November 20, delivery will be on the second week of December. Reach out to us for special requests !

By purchasing our Christmas Basket you will support our educational program that aims to provide access to quality education to high school children from FPUA rehabilitation sites in Daanbantayan, Northern Cebu.

Contact us the soonest at info@fpua.org.ph to secure your order !

Republic Cement supports mission to promote good nutrition, health and hygiene among children

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Corporate Social Responsibility is in the DNA of Republic Cement Services, Inc. The leading construction solutions company values respect and they do it through uplifting the lives of communities not only in economic growth but also in health, education, and socio-cultural aspects. Under their flagship theme “Lusog Tibay”, Republic Cement Services, Inc., leads a series of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

With a Medical and Nutrition Mission, Republic Cement Services, Inc. contributes to nation-building through their campaign “Stronger Kids for a Stronger Republic”. Partnering with them in actualizing this initiative was First Solid Builders.

Held last October 15th, the mission took place at Paliparan III Elementary School, in Dasmariñas, Cavite. The school has a population of over 4,000 students, but this mission specifically targeted pupils with a nutritional status of “wasted” to “severely wasted”, based on height and weight indicators measured by the school at the beginning of the school year in June. More than 200 malnourished pupils were selected to participate in this one-day activity, along with parents were also invited to join their children.

With this activity, Republic Cement aims to address good nutrition during childhood as it sets the tone and patterns for lifelong health and wellness. A well-balanced diet enables children to reach their full growth potential, perform well in school and maintain their energy levels.

In the Philippines, 30% of children under 5 years old are stunted (Save the Children End of Childhood report 2017). As per the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) one out of three Filipino children aged 5-10 is stunted or underweight for his or her age. Children lack the necessary nutrients. Hunger and food insecurity have increased since 1998 with 68.3% of Filipino households not meeting their caloric requirements.

The child beneficiaries from all grade levels were given free medical check-ups by volunteer nurses, with distributions of vitamins, courtesy of Vamsler. Meanwhile, the parents were informed on medicines prescribed for children.

Hygiene was another main focus of the one-day activity. The children were taught proper hygiene practices such as how to properly wash hands and brush teeth. As a takeaway – free hygiene kits were distributed to the children. Each hygiene kit included: soap, shampoo, a toothbrush with toothpaste, a comb, a nail-cutter, and cotton buds.

At the end of the activity, the stakeholders, children and parents committed themselves to provide a healthy environment for their children.

Republic Cement is a leading local cement manufacturing and distribution company in the Philippines with a nationwide footprint. Together with its subsidiaries, it focuses on being the trusted solutions partner for building a greener, stronger Republic. It is backed by the global expertise of CRH, a leading global diversified building materials group and a Fortune 500 company, and Aboitiz, a diversified Filipino business conglomerate recognized as one of the best-managed companies in Asia. For more information, visit www.republiccement.com

Implementing partners for this initiative are France-Philippines United Action Foundation (FPUA) and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).

FPUA is the Foundation of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines. Its main goal is to redefine CSR in the Philippines by bridging the gap between the private sector and Non-government organizations (NGOs), to implement sustainable projects. Republic Cement and FPUA have been working together since the Foundation’s creation in 2013.

On the other hand, ADRA is an NGO that has been operating in the country for 30 years now. Their main advocacies include disaster management and poverty alleviation through social development. They helped this project by applying their expertise in engaging the community.

Private corporations can make an impact and work in the pursuit of sustainable development.

At the end of the day, communities and corporations can work together in contributing to reduce poverty and inequalities in the country.

Stakeholders : Paliparan III Elementary School and the Health Division Office , Republic Cement Services Inc., First Solid Builders, FPUA, ADRA.

Backyard Vegetable Gardening with Asia Inspection employees and FPUA community

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Last September 22, more than 100 employees of Asia Inspection (AI) Philippines  spent their day tree planting and backyard gardening with the community in barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Northern Cebu.

The activity implemented by FPUA with its NGO partner Habitat for Humanity Philippines aims to create awareness among the families on the value of growing their own vegetables to improve their dietary intake and save money on household food budget.

It was a great and enjoyable experience for both the volunteers and the local residents of the FPUA rehabilitation site.

FPUA Privilege Partner Delfingen visits communities affected by typhoon Haiyan

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On August 17, 2018, french company Delfingen visited the FPUA community in barangay Agujo, Daanbantayan, Cebu and brought children’s books, teen’s book, pocketbooks, coloring books, learning books for beginners, and sets of crayons, pencils and pencil sharpeners. They also distributed chocolate bars for the kids to enjoy!

Moreover, Delfingen generously gave a computer for Saint Martin De Porres Academy for the use of our FPUA scholars.

After the visit to Daanbantayan, the volunteers went to Libaong Elementary School in San Remigio, Cebu where they gave a presentation on environmental protection and proper waste segregation. They also donated trash cans for proper waste segregation, computer sets, and distributed Jollibee meals to the pupils (Grade 1 to 6).

Similar to FPUA rehabilitation site, the Libaong village was chosen because it was a beneficiary of Delfingen’s relief operations after the Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. It was also the hometown of one of the employees of the company whose family and neighbors were heavily affected by the typhoon.

Republic Cement Advocates for Stronger Women

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Leading construction solutions company Republic Cement Services, Inc. does not only innovates for stronger building structures but also advocates for stronger women.

Picture from Republic Cement Services, Inc.

In a bid to give back and contribute to the society, leading construction-solutions company Republic Cement Services, Inc., spearheads a series of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) events under their flagship theme: “Lusog Tibay”. This is part of their dedication to strengthen their partner communities toward building a stronger Republic.

For their latest initiative, Republic Cement Services, Inc. partnered with their ready-mix contractor Dee Concrete Inc. / Premier Ready-Mix, Inc. for the Lusog Tibay Women’s Health Day. The program focused on reproductive health for the women of Pinagbuhatan Pasig, the hometown of Dee Concrete.

“More than being a company that helps build strong and reliable structures, we want to build the nation one community at a time. We can start by empowering our citizens, especially the women that takes care of their families,” shared Nabil Francis, President of Republic Cement Services, Inc.

Held last August 2, 2018 at the Multi-purpose hall and livelihood center of Barangay Pinagbuhatan in Pasig, the program that ran from 7am to 4pm helped about 250 women beneficiaries from the low to middle-income bracket. Pinagbuhatan is the oldest and biggest barangay in Pasig. It has a population of over 170,000 and 55% of which are women.

Republic Cement Services, Inc. opted to raise awareness on crucial issues that affect the country. For instance, Cervical and Breast Cancers are some of the top killers in the Philippines while HIV is also fast-growing. The Department of Health recently reported 11,103 new cases of HIV in a span of one year, increasing the numbers to 19.85% from 2016 to 2017. In addition to these health challenges, Family Planning is another problem that the company deemed important to be addressed.

“During the event, we have found out that Cervical Cancer is really not well known in PH. One of our beneficiaries, an 18-year old mother of a 6-month old infant is not familiar with pap smear so she grabbed the opportunity to be screened for free. We are very glad to be of service,” said Ms. Elizabeth Dee, Vice President for Sales of Dee Concrete Inc. / Premier Ready-Mix, Inc. 

Ms. Dee, officially opened the event through an inspiring message dedicated to all participants, “Kung semento ang nagpapatibay ng tahanan, ang pamilya ang nagpapatibay ng komunidad” (if cement strengthens a home, a family is what strenghtens a community.)

Implementing partners of this CSR event are France-Philippines United Action (FPUA), the Foundation of the CCI France-Philippines; and Friendlycare Foundation.

FPUA was created by the CCI France-Philippines and the French Embassy in the Philippines in 2013 after typhoon Yolanda. Since then, FPUA help companies in developing impactful and sustainable CSR projects in the Philippines. Republic Cement and FPUA have been working together since the creation of the Foundation.

Friendlycare Foundation on the other hand, has been delivering affordable health services especially reproductive health focused on Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition and Family Planning since 1999.

The CSR health mission was likewise supported by Barangay Captain, Maricar Asilo-Vivero and previous mayor of Pasig Mrs. Maribel A. Eusebio.

Lectures on Family Planning, Cervical Cancer, HIV/STI were given by Friendlycare doctors. Philhealth member benefits were likewise discussed during the event. Simultaneously, OB/GYN and family planning consultations and pap smear screening were offered. Pap smear is the most common procedure to screen cervical cancer.

Some attendees also won Republic Cement items on various games in the fun and informative program.