In a bid to extend financial inclusion to remote areas in the Philippines, the CAN program of the Grameen Foundation aims to build a network of financial agents in rural villages of Panay Island. The project enabled sari-sari store owners, mostly stay-at-home mothers, to offer a range of financial services to their villages.
ASSIST developed two interactive, web-based e-learning courses to equip sari-sari store owners to become a financial agent which can be accessed through Android-based tablets. Course One teaches the owners to use the digital payment center device called Ka-Pos!ble!; and Course Two is an engaging, easy-to-understand module on encouraging financial literacy among micro-vendors who used digital payment devices called Digi-tindahan. ASSIST designed and developed the storyboard, script, graphics, animations, and videos for both the following courses.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for a large majority of establishments in the Philippines, employing 70% of the total labor force. Undeniably, MSMEs constitute the backbone of the economy, playing a key role in the country’s growth and development. Nevertheless, local MSMEs in food production and processing have a small presence in the Philippine market. Most food products available in local retail chains are produced in neighboring Asian countries. The problem is that development of the sector is hindered by uncoordinated and outdated professional and technical qualifications for MSMEs as well as a lack of adequate public action against noncompliance with food regulations and standards.
ASSIST partnered with TÜV Rheinland, SEQUA, the University of the Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries (UP-ISSI) and AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation to implement Pro-FIT. The project aimed to enhance the capacity of local MSMEs in the food and beverage industry, to improve competitiveness in local and foreign markets. This was done by creating awareness and addressing the benefits of food safety regulations and standards, and implementing a variety of qualification courses on food safety regulations and standards through the coordinated effort from relevant stakeholders.
By the end of the project, five courses were developed with curriculum and training materials for the pilot implementation and certification of the diploma courses. These courses included Certified Quality Associate, Diploma in Food Safety Management, Certification Programme on Good Manufacturing Practices, Certified Food Safety Professional and Basics of Food Safety, and Hygiene and Food Handling; and have been absorbed into UP-ISSI’s regular course offerings to students. ASSIST and partners also executed Train-the-Trainer workshops for 30 trainers coming from UP-ISSI, the Philippine Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Trade Training Center and other TVET centers in the country. Additionally, basic courses were administered to 200 operators from 10 MSMEs. The overall impact of this project increases the chances of MSMEs in the food and beverage sector to better enter domestic and foreign markets and contribute to the growing economy of the Philippines.
The standards of work health and safety were brought to the forefront of the public eye after the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh in April 2013. The commercial structure housed a garment factory and its collapse resulted in numerous injuries and a death toll of 1,127. In the aftermath, it called for improved working conditions and better compliance with factory safety standards.
The IFC Fire and Life Safety Risk Profiling (FLSRP) Project aimed to support the Better Work Programme – a partnership project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – in its objective to improve labour conditions and compliance of standards by participating garment and footwear factories in developing countries. The project aided Better Work in reviewing its tools and approaches to assess and remedy fire and building safety issues in each of the countries in which it operates; ultimately to prevent or mitigate the impact of future incidents like the 2013 disaster in Bangladesh.
FLSRP involved the conduct of sectoral-level risk assessments on fire and building safety in garment and footwear factories to develop respective risk profiles for Cambodia, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. Major activities included research and desk review, benchmarking, report review, site selection and inspections, stakeholder discussions, data compilation and lessons-learnt workshops in each of the target countries.