LIPAD Pinay: Women uplifting women through micro-entrepreneurship

Arlan Jay Jondonero
Since its launch in 2017, LIPAD Pinay has engaged over 50 barangay leaders and empowered 160 women micro-entrepreneurs

PRIDE. Beneficiaries of the LIPAD Pinay program proudly selling their merchandise at the Likhang Lokal bazaar in Gateway Mall on June 13, 2019. Photos by Arlan Jay Jondonero/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – For Edna Vinluan and the women of the Local Inclusiveness Project for the Advancement and Development of Filipina Women, better known as LIPAD Pinay, leading the women in their community to create homemade and handmade goods is not only a source of living, but also of purpose.

Edna, 54 and a mother of 5, was a former inmate. She tells us that behind every beadwork finished and every t-shirt printed and sold in their bazaar, are stories of struggle, redemption, and triumph.

In the bustling activity center of Gateway Mall, along a stretch of local bazaar spots, Edna with her fellow LIPAD Pinay beneficiaries would welcome shoppers with wide smiles and tell them their stories.

She shared that some women in their community excel at making the products, while the others are great at selling them.

Edna introduced us to her friend, Nhorie, with whom she spent time together in the Camp Karingal women’s correctional facility in Quezon City.

While serving time, they were taught how to make beadwork products through the prison’s livelihood education program.

After her release, Nhorie joined LIPAD Pinay – and became vice president of its Barangay Culiat division – and later encouraged her friend Edna to join her.

Nowadays, Edna and Nhorie would still visit Camp Karingal together to get products from the inmates and help them sell it through local bazaars.  

Kinukuha ko ‘yung mga ibang gawa ng mga detainees sa Camp Karingal para ibenta ko, para makatulong sa kanila kasi mahirap na po ang buhay, lalong lalo na po sa walang dalaw. Kaya gusto ko lang po sana na huwag nila kami maliitin. Kasi po handa naman kami magbago,” said Edna, holding back her tears.

(I get some of the works of the detainees from Camp Karingal for me to sell, so I can help them out because life is hard nowadays, especially for those who don’t get visits. That’s why I’m hoping they don’t look down on us because we are ready to change.)

Nhorie is a mother of 7. She is proud that after spending time in jail, she and Edna were able to turn their lives around and are now microentrepreneurs.

Nhorie shared that because of LIPAD Pinay, she learned how to create crafts aside from beadwork, mentioning her newfound skill of making flower headbands.

WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN. Beneficiaries of LIPAD Pinay program beside their booth at the Likhang Lokal bazaar in Gateway Mall. Photos by Arlan Jay Jondonero/Rappler

What exactly is LIPAD Pinay?

LIPAD Pinay is a program implemented by the Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran, Inc (Alliance of Filipino Women for Reform and Progress), better known as SPARK! Philippines.

Through LIPAD Pinay, women beneficiaries like Edna receive seed grants for their communal micro-enterprise and undergo skills trainings, educational visits, and mentoring sessions.

SPARK! Philippines, in partnership with SEAOIL Foundation and the Office of the Quezon City Vice Mayor, Joy Belmonte, launched LIPAD Pinay in 2017. Its goal is to improve the gender and development governance system at the barangay level in order to ensure the effective implementation of the Magna Carta of Women.

“Barangay local government, the Philippine’s most basic political unit, plays a huge role in empowering women economically. Once they have owned the issue and truly understood Gender and Development, they will be able to align their resources properly and create policies that would sustain a friendly environment for women micro-entrepreneurs,” SPARK! Philippines Executive Director Maica Teves said.

To date, the program has already engaged over 50 barangay leaders and has provided additional income for over 160 women micro-entrepreneurs. Using a localized roadmap and scorecard, they were guided on how to evaluate and improve their governance while at the same time aligning their GAD Plan and Budget to livelihood programs for women.

There are 8 pilot barangays in Quezon City where LIPAD Pinay has been established, namely Brgy. Culiat, Brgy. Sta. Lucia, Brgy. Greater Lagro, Brgy. Sto. Cristo, Brgy. Quirino 3-A, Brgy. U.P. Campus, Brgy. Central, and Brgy. Batasan Hills.

“Our beneficiaries in specific barangays get to decide and then produce what kind of products they would want to produce and sell, and this way they gain ownership of their work,” explains Kimberly Ann Tiburcio, SPARK! Philippines Program Manager.

The day was almost over, but Nhorie and Edna were still on their toes. Seeing all the mall goers checking out their merchandise, Edna and Nhorie tell us how lucky they feel to have been given a second chance.

From being inmates, they now have a clean, legal, and sustainable way to earn a living and even help other women in their communities to have the same opportunity.  –Rappler.com

Arlan Jay Jondonero is a Rappler intern from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.