Tagum Women Fuel Local Economy

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

JMD Abangan

TAGUM CITY (30 November) — The women sector has indeed become a significant force to reckon with as a fuel to the local economy and as backbone to prop up household income.

Amidst hard times, women now have found financial relief from day-to-day expenditures in micro enterprise ventures like sidewalk vending; hawking goodies; selling delicacies, home-made processed meat, and others.

The Savings Credit with Education (SCWE), a micro-finance program of the Credit Union Empowerment and Strengthening (CUES)-Philippines has put significance to their being “small-time businesses.” It has made them proud borrowers.

“Dili kay mangutangay lang mi. Ang pagsulod namo sa SCWE dako ug kaayuhan para among pamilya. Daghan pud mi ug nakat-unan. (We are not mere borrowers. Our getting into SCWE has helped our family a lot. We are also learning a lot from it.),” Dardanilla del Santos of Nabunturan Integrated Cooperative in Compostela Valley said.

Dardanilla is one of the 5,000 strong micro-finance borrowers from partner cooperatives of CUES-Philippines in Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Agusan del Norte who attended the SCWE Grand Assembly in Tagum City held over the weekend (November 26).

Before joining SCWE more than six years ago, she was into selling puto and suman with barely P200 capital. She saved and rolled over her measly earnings until the time she borrowed an additional capital of P1,500 from CUES-Phils through SCWE.

Her small business has grown, enabling her to supply local orders of puto, suman, biko and other tasty delicacies in the entire Nabunturan. She is even planning to expand her business in Tagum City.

Aside from delicacies, she has diversified into sari-sari store, banana buy-and-sell business, and has bought for income-generating use two units of tricycles and a jeepney.

Her P8,000 earning a week is more than the monthly salary of a contractual government worker.

“Nakita gyod nako ang kalambuan sa pagnegosyo. (I have found progress in doing business.),” she said.

With her small business, she has been of great help to his husband in sending their children to college and provide for the daily needs of her family.

Cindy Moralla of Kapalong Cooperative in Davao del Norte has seen the same growth in micro business.

With P300 capital, she ventured into selling banana cue in schools and in the neighborhood five years ago before she heard of SCWE.

Getting a start up capital of P1,500 through SCWE, she shifted into fruit vending then diversified into letchon selling and chorizo-making.

She rolled over her profit until she has earned enough to buy a unit of motorcycle she used not only to deliver orders but also to pick up passengers.

Like Dardanilla, Cindy is earning as much as P4,000 weekly. She has more than enough to send her young children to school and build a new house.

Dardanilla and Cindy have both enjoyed the fruits of their labor without compromising their responsibility to pay their dues.

SCWE micro-financing program of CUES-Philippines has built-in discipline for paying dues and compulsory savings. It has an integrated education component which teaches beneficiaries home management, health and nutrition and even family planning. Beneficiaries are also taught simple bookkeeping and small business management

“This is a character-lending program, meaning you can borrow not based on your capacity but on your attitude to pay,” explains Rochelle Ferraren, field agent of Panabo Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a CUES-Philippines partner cooperative.

A management committee in a group of borrowers is set up composed of SCWE beneficiaries who see to it that members are able to pay their loans, otherwise, they all have to shoulder the loan and dues a member failed to pay.

SCWE has also instituted savings discipline, requiring beneficiaries to keep certain amount say P20 pesos with their cooperative.

“If they save more, much better,” says Evalyn Acebes, SCWE field supervisor in Kapalong.

With the savings and education mechanism of SCWE, women no matter how small the business they are into, have become empowered to meet head-on economically strait times.

They’ve freed their families from the bondage of debt, helped send their children to school, answer financial needs of their families, and fuel the economy in the countryside.

Source: Philippine Information Agency (link opens in a new window)