Coffee production in the Philippines has been dwindling for the past 20 years albeit the increasing consumer demand. Driven by the rising consumption in emerging economies, as well as shifting preferences in established consumer markets, ASSIST together with Nestle and DEG, implemented CoFFEE – a project that aims to help smallholder coffee farmers boost production through the acquisition of new technologies on coffee farming.
Capitalizing on strategic geographies characterized by fertile plains, rolling terrain and hilly mountains, the project supplements the effort through promoting proper crop nutrition and integrated crop management (ICM) along with new fertilizer types in order to ensure quality produce. Strengthening farmers’ overall farm management capacity was also key to maximizing adopted technology. Trainings on farm budget and management, utilization of portable drying facilities, as well as transport of green coffee beans to buying stations were key knowledge sharing activities.
As a result, intensive training on key topics such as Nursery Establishment, Care & Maintenance and Plantation Establishment were given to the farmers. Part of the Training of Trainers (ToT) program also included hands-on training on coffee growing methods & technologies in Nestle´ Coffee Plantlet Production and Training Center (NCPPTC). 30,000 seedlings were distributed to be planted in the 25 hectare demo farm which also houses existing coffee trees.
ProGED – Promotion of Green Economic Development is an initiative with the objective of helping micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as government institutions contribute to the economic development, increase awareness and gain knowledge on how to implement environmentally friendly, “climate-smart” and inclusive strategies in the tourism sector of the Philippines.
Funded by GIZ, ProGED focused on the tourism sector due to its high potential for investment and employment. ASSIST performed a series of training on Green Economic Development (GED); conducted a technical session on “Greening MSME Operations”; delivered two training modules: ‘Greening Strategies and Quantitative Benefits’ and ‘Consumption and Cost Monitoring’ and; provided experts and consultations for training delivery.
The European Commission (EC) was to launch a “Responsible Value Chains in Asia” project in Q1 of 2017 targeting China, Myanmar, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Following discussions between different EC services, a formulation mission was to be carried out with a view to help in refining priority activities to be conducted under the action, including with regards to geographic and sectoral conditions. The overall objective of the action is to support CSR/RBC practices and approaches in relevant Asian trading partners with a view to enhancing market access opportunities and strengthening an international level playing field for EU responsible businesses in the region.
ASSIST, as part of the formulation mission, produced a concept note, an Action Fiche and a mission report based on the briefing session, desk research and interviews with relevant national and international stakeholders. Information sources included documentation of sessions with FPI, DG Trade and other EU stakeholders, country-specific strategies by the European Commission and its Member States, country and regional priorities like those from the ASEAN and SAARC, and documents coming from OECD, ILO, and UN agencies. Fieldwork in Myanmar and the Philippines were also conducted to interview national stakeholders.
The Government of the Philippines, through the Department of Education (DepED) and its regional office in the Autonomous Region for Muslim (ARMM) requested the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to provide grant assistance to address adult literacy and employment generation in ARMM areas. In response, ASSIST worked on a project entitled “Empowering Bangsamoro Communities Through Adult Literacy and Productivity Enhancement Programs” which aimed to increase the employment opportunities among non-literate adults in ARMM provinces.
In close coordination with the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System Program, ASSIST provided an assessment of the training needs, supported the development of learning modules, prepared the cost estimates and project plan, designed a monitoring framework and consolidated the findings of assessment activities.
Businesses in a country beset by disasters and catastrophes suffer from as much damage as its people. Most victims experience prolonged difficulty when “mission critical” enterprises are not able to get back on their feet soon after a calamity. ASSIST, together with TUV Rheinland Philippines Inc., implemented the project “Resilient Organizations Built for Sustained Transformation of Philippines (ROBUSTPHIL)” as a concrete step in making these mission-critical enterprises resilient. The project aimed to create the much-needed awareness for disaster and crisis preparedness covering the Four Rs: Risk Reduction, Readiness, Response, and Recovery.
The project equipped ten enterprises with the know-how on international standards and best practices that will make them resilient. Some of these international standards include Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Information Security Management System (ISMS) and Business Continuity Management (BCM).
Through a CEO Forum, the project brought together top decision makers from various critical enterprises to propagate mass awareness on these standards. It also provided technical assistance and support for alignment towards the international standard (ISO 27001) on risk management. A best practice exchange forum was also conducted to share lessons and experiences in relation to climate action to create a multiplier effect. An e-learning toolkit on international standards was also provided and distributed to over 100 enterprises.
Republic Act No 9262 of 2004 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act provides protection for abused women and their children against their partners, former male partners or those they were/are dating. Although this is a welcome change, its implementation and impact have not been very extensive especially, for the very women who should be benefitting from it.
Through funds coming from the European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), ASSIST partnered with the Women’s Crisis Center (WCC) and the National Network of Family Violence Prevention Programs (NNFVPP) for a project entitled “USE RA 9262 – Undertaking Survivors’ Experience in Accessing RA 9262.” The project aimed to establish a monitoring system on RA 9262 anchored on women’s experiences and on the enhanced capabilities of non-government organizations handling domestic violence, leading to the effective implementation of the law that works for female victims/survivors in reclaiming their rights.
The project was able to accomplish a number of activities during its run. Surveys and forums were conducted to raise awareness and determine the root causes of violations – an Alternative Monitoring System Portal was created and became a platform of information exchange between stakeholders & gauged the implementation rate of RA 9262. Capacity building trainings were also conducted to ensure proper use of the system and strengthen institutions. Furthermore, a gap assessment report, a training manual for service providers and a web portal were released through which region-based advocates encoded details on VAWC cases.
In 2008, the Philippines National Police (PNP) reported that there has been a 21% increase in the number of cases of Violence Against Women (VAW) from that in 2007. Although the Philippines enacted several laws against Violence Against Women, access to and full implementation of these laws leave much to be desired. In August 2009, the government passed another Act – the “Magna Carta of Women (RA9710)”, with the expectation for it to be an umbrella legal enactment to promote gender equality and ensure the protection of women. The Magna Carta calls for training on human rights and gender sensitivity for all government personnel involved and all local government units (LGUs), and to establish a violence against women (VAW) desk in every barangay to ensure that VAW cases are fully addressed in a gender-responsive manner.
ASSIST, in partnership with WFS (Women’s Feature Service Philippines), WomenLEAD (Women’s Legal Education, Advocacy & Defense Foundation Inc.) and WCC (Women’s Crisis Center) collaborated to produce the “Justice and Healing Project” with the main goal of educating & capacitating the various components of the judicial system to be able to deliver rights-based and gender sensitive services with respect to VAW cases. The activities carried out to achieve these include barangay forums, stakeholder mapping and training for public-private prosecutors, paralegal and legal practitioners on the issue at hand. Moreover, the project included the development of both Legal Monographs on Gender Legal Issues and Protocol for Legal Service Provision.
Through the sessions provided by the project, NGOs are now better equipped & united to offer legal & psycho-social assistance to female victims. They are in constant dialogue and have worked closely with the government for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Prosecutors, lawyers and other members of the judiciary are sensitized & capacitated to adopt a gender-sensitive, victim-centric, CEDAW compliant, inquiry process while local authorities, the police, and communities at barangay level are united and continuously working towards a violence-free barangay.