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Completed R&E projects focus on gender issues, skills gaps, food security

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by Stella Concepcion R. Britanico

CPAf, through the Community Innovations Studies Center and the Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies, completed four research and extension (R&E) projects in November and December 2019. These projects addressed gender issues, skills gaps, and food security.

Analysis of Gender Gap in Selected Agrarian Reform Cooperatives in Laguna, Philippines: An Exploratory Study
April 2018 - December 2019

The analysis of gender gap, funded by the UPLB Gender Center, was an exploratory study with three agrarian reform cooperatives (AR Coops) in Laguna. Data were gathered through survey, focus group discussions, and secondary data analysis. Results showed that the Department of Agrarian Reform operationalized gender and development (GAD) mainstreaming through AR Coops. GAD mainstreaming in AR Coops helped strengthen access of female members to support services such as credit and trainings, which improved their skills and knowledge. It also enabled female members to hold key positions in respective coops and participate in community activities.

The study also revealed that female members of AR Coops create income opportunities that supplement their male spouses’ income, pay for household expenses, and acquire assets. The study was conducted by Director Blanquita R. Pantoja of CPAf Community Innovations Studies Center (CISC) with CISC researchers Samantha Geraldine G. De los Santos and Florita P. Rañeses.

Understanding the Reasons for the Leaky Pipeline
September 2016 – December 2019

Another study on gender-focused on understanding the “leaky pipeline” in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Leaky pipeline refers to women who do not stay in positions long enough to climb the ranks. Data were gathered from UPLB and government agencies involved in STEM through survey and interviews. Secondary data were also collected and analyzed.

The study found that women were well represented in most of the STEM fields, except in engineering and mathematics. However, they disappeared as they advance through the pipeline. More males held decision-making positions and excelled or were recognized in STEM. The study attributed the persistence of the leaky pipeline to the lack of women role models in STEM. Also, the study found that women were hindered by the double burden of balancing work and family responsibilities despite the equal opportunities given to both sexes. Hence, the study argued the need for support services to empower both women and men to take on dual roles — women within the workplace and men within the home. The study was initially funded by the National Academy of Science and Technology (September 2016 - December 2017), then became an in-house study of the Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (CSPPS) of CPAf (January 2018 – December 2019). Dr. Merlyne M. Paunlagui, CSPPS director, and CSPPS researcher Karen S. Janiya conducted the study.

A Study on Skills for Trade and Economic Diversification (STED) in the Non-traditional Coconut Export Sectors of the Philippines
August – December 2019

Focusing on coco sugar, virgin coconut oil, and coco coir in Region IV-A, the study on Non-Traditional Coconut Philippine Export Sectors (NTCPEs) found that production of NTCPEs are affected by various factors such as low coconut productivity due to low adoption of recommended technologies; declining market competitiveness; and lack of capacity building platforms for different components in the value chains. The latter is manifested by the lack of skills of workers, particularly in performing precursory tasks of harvesting/tapping, handling of process machineries and heavy equipment, and promotion and marketing of products.

Thus, the study proposed that government agencies should be more proactive in providing the necessary (needs-based) skills trainings. Provision of financing support and incentive mechanisms, production of a manual of good practices, and partnership with private sector for skills development were also recommended. Dean Rolando T. Bello, CISC Dir. Pantoja, Maria Francisca O. Tan, Roxanne A. Banalo, Joanne V. Alvarez, and Florita P. Rañeses conducted the study. It was part of the International Labour Organization’s project on Strengthening the Impact of Trade on Employment.

Strengthening Agricultural Development Planning and Governance for Food Security
January 2017 – December 2019

As part of the project, a total of 24 training sessions were conducted from 2011 to 2016 to strengthen agricultural development planning and governance for food security. The training was divided into six modules, namely: 1) Food Security Situation in the Philippines, 2) Changing Role of Extension, 3) Municipal Governance and Planning for Food Security, 4) Qualitative and Quantitative Methods of Data Collection and Analysis, 5) Planning for Food Security, and 6) Monitoring and Evaluation for Food Security. Training methods used were lecture-discussions, exercises, and presentation of outputs. All in all, 756 municipal agricultural officers and planning officers, who came from 16 regions of the country, attended the said trainings. The project aimed to build the capacities of local government units (LGUs) to integrate climate risk management strategies and possible effects of global trade in agricultural development plans.

From the activities conducted, the second phase of the project (January 2017 – December 2019) focused on preparing the training module, which can be used by academic and research institutions for capacity-building of LGUs. The project was conducted by Dr. Agnes C. Rola, Dr. Paunlagui, Dr. Rowena DT. Baconguis, and Dr. Eileen Lorena M. Mamino. Together with them were Dean Bello, Prof. Nelson Jose Vincent B. Querijero, Dr. Aileen V. Lapitan, Dr. Miriam R. Nguyen, Agnes R. Chupungco, and Macrina G. Umali as writers of the different modules. The Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture funded the study.

With the two research centers, CSPPS and CISC, CPAf conducts R&E projects along local development policy, governance, and community development. The College’s R&E projects are mostly funded by government agencies, foreign institutions, and UPLB.

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