Written by: Almira Caudal

In celebration of the International Women’s Day on 08 March 2022, the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) organized the capacity building activity on Gender and Development (GAD) for PNVSCA staff on the said date at the Makati Palace Hotel.

The Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) aims to build a foundational knowledge for new staff, deepen the knowledge of current staff members on gender and the importance of creating positive and inclusive workplace atmosphere. More importantly, this undertaking is an essential part of the Agency’s commitment to ensure provision of relevant Learning and Development (L&D) interventions such as GST to all new staff members. It has also set the record for allowing the Institutional Contract of Service workers such as Drivers and Utility Personnel to attend the training for capacity development for the first time. Moreover, it would form part of the Agency’s journey in completing its documentation and implementation for obtaining Maturity Level 2 of the Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence in Human Resource Management (PRIME-HRM). 

The GST started with the opening remarks of Ms. Ela Victoria Sarmago, the Division Chief of the Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PCMED). Ms. Sarmago expressed that the conduct of GST has been an integral part of the services provided to staff in order to support staff development and with the current management, it will be supported even more. “Most of the staff have attended GST already and this activity is intended primarily for new staff in order to help them gain understanding on the basic concepts, issues and legal mandates of GAD. Surely it will be an exciting learning opportunity for you. To the old staff, I believe this will be beneficial to you as well because there are new issues and relevant information about GAD that we still need to learn. “

PCMED Chief delivers her Opening Remarks to PNVSCA Staff

The Resource Speaker was Ms. Renifer Rebello-Francisco, a Certified Trainer at the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), a member of PCW National Gender Resource Pool (NGRP) and the President of Gender Empowerment Consultancy and Advocacy Firm (GECAF) in Rodriguez, Rizal. She delivered her lecture with an emphasis on the objectives of promoting equality, equity, empowerment and sustainable development among employees of PNVSCA. She also intended to help all the participants appreciate gender diversity and social inclusion and apply these in the Agency’s policies, plan and budget, culture and other relevant programs.

During the initial workshop activity, the PNVSCA staff were tasked to form groups and list down the things they want to clarify, achieve and contribute. The highlights of their outputs include knowing the basics of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression, LGBTQIA+ Rights, Gender-Fair Language, and Safe Space Act among others. One group stood out after sharing their ultimate goal at the end of the workshop—to have the understanding of GAD concepts beyond work application. Also, all of them expressed their willingness to contribute through their listening ears, open mind and active participation all throughout the workshop.

PNVSCA staff present their output as part of the workshop activity.

The workshop concluded with an advice of Ms. Francisco to PNVSCA staff. “GAD is not just about collaterals and promotional materials. Gender sensitivity is an instrument for development. All government agencies as duty-bearers must have deeper understanding of gender equality, equity and empowerment. Only then, you can appreciate the planning and budgeting of the activities, programs and policies of your respective office and deliver effective services to people.”

Prior to presenting the certificate of appreciation to the Resource Person, Ms. Fely M. Baday, Officer-In-Charge of the Policy, Advocacy and Technical Services Division (PATSD) expressed her gratitude and recognition to Ms. Francisco for a very comprehensive and successful facilitation of workshop.

Officer-In-Charge of PATSD presents the Certificate of Appreciation to Resource Person Ms. Francisco.

Mr. Rudy Carlos, the Chief Administrative Officer of the Administrative, Financial and Management Division (AFMD) delivered his closing message by thanking all the participants for their active participation to the activity. He emphasized that gaining fresh new knowledge on the concepts and issues of GAD can awaken us to break misconceptions, avoid unconscious insensitivity, bias and discrimination in the workplace. “Now that we have a common understanding, we can start building an environment that is free from violence and discrimination. Being gender-sensitive can create a positive impact to other people’s lives and when it becomes our lifestyle, we can create a better community for all.”  Mr. Carlos concluded his message by sharing the importance of this activity to the Agency’s unrelenting efforts to promote people excellence in public service delivery.

AFMD Chief delivers his Closing Remarks to PNVSCA Staff

Indeed, the GST for staff came to a success in celebration of the International Women’s Day. PNVSCA is one with the nation in commemorating women, promoting women empowerment through the conduct of programs and services that can bring the country closer to narrowing the gender gaps and moving towards national development.

Post-event group photo of Resource Person together with PNVSCA staff

The author is currently the Administrative Officer I of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

Visit PNVSCA website (www.pnvsca.gov.ph) and PNVSCA Facebook (facebook.com/PNVSCA) for volunteer stories and information on volunteering.