Programs to boost women and kids’ empowerment

USAID Philippines Deputy Mission Director Rebekah Eubanks, Ambassador Delia Albert, Diwata-Women Founding President Atty. Patricia Bunye, International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists-Asia Pacific Nation Network Chairperson Engr. Juana Tapel, May Rose Imperial, and USAID Philippines Energy Policy Specialist Lily Gutierrez attend the Women Champions in Sustainable Climate Solutions Forum held in Manila on 8 to 9 March. | PHOTOGRAPHs COURTESY OF US EMBASSY

KCFI president and executive director Rina Lopez, USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Rebakah Eubanks, and ABC+ Chief of Party Ina Aquino with (standing from left) KCFI Director of Operations Edric Calma, DepEd Assistant Secretary GH Ambat, USAID Philippines Education Director Thomas LeBlanc, DepEd Finance Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla, DepEd Assistant Secretary Alma Torio, and ABC+ Education Systems Advisor Malcolm Garma.

On International Women’s Day, 8 March, the United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development, announced two new grant projects valued at P37.9 million ($690,000) to boost women’s participation in energy resilience, innovation and security in the Philippines.

USAID Philippines Deputy Mission Director Rebekah Eubanks formally awarded the Women in Energy Leadership, Innovation and Resilience grant to the Diwata-Women in Resource Development Inc.
and the Women Engineers Network of the Philippine Technological Council Inc. during the Women Champions in Sustainable Climate Solutions Forum held on 8 to 9 March. More than 100 women leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators attended the event to exchange ideas and propose solutions that address climate risks.

“Women empowerment and climate change are two pressing issues of our time. They are inextricably intertwined,” Eubanks said. “Climate change exacerbates gender inequalities and developmental gaps. Women have a unique perspective on these issues as they often bear the brunt of climate shocks and stresses.”

Diwata-Women in Resource Development Inc. received P29 million ($528,000) to expand “Tanging Tanglaw: Turning IP Women into Solar Engineers,” a program that trains elderly women from indigenous communities to build and maintain solar-powered pump systems to electrify their neighborhoods.

PTC received P8.9 million ($162,000) to implement the “Women Engineers as Instruments for Sustainable Engineering in Renewable Energies Project”, which will increase the enrollment of girls in renewable energy engineering programs through mentoring, technical seminars, competitions, and renewable energy campaigns in eight cities under the USAID Cities Development Initiative.

“When we talk about sustainable operations, it is not just about transitioning to cleaner energy. It also means opening management positions to women and giving them a voice in the energy transition,” ENGIE Services Philippines General Manager Louella Caridad said during the Women Champions in Sustainable Climate Solutions panel discussion.

Reading skills

Meanwhile, on 10 March, the US government, RTI International, and the Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. signed a new partnership to improve the reading skills of kindergarten to grade three students through radio and television-based learning resources.

KCFI will now regularly broadcast existing learning materials co-developed by USAID, Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines program implementing partner RTI International, and the Department of Education. These programs were designed to instill genuine love for reading in young children and help them master the four macro literacy skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.

This partnership addresses the continuing gaps in education in the Philippines and ensures that children have access to quality education that will build their literacy skills for lifelong learning. It also supports educational innovations through the creation and promotion of multimedia learning resources for young children.

“We thank KCFI for its interest in our initiative and desire to promote learning and access to education, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized children,” Eubanks said. “As your enduring friend, partner, and ally, the US government, through USAID, will continue to forge and strengthen partnerships with the private sector to expand learning opportunities for children so that they can grow up to reach their full potential and contribute to the country’s growth.”

“We are confident that this new partnership between ABC+ and KCFI will not only be beneficial to our respective organizations, but more importantly, to the students, teachers, and communities that we serve,” KCFI President and Executive Director Rina Lopez said. “By bringing the video lessons to more audiences all over the country, we will be making a meaningful contribution to the efforts of schools, teachers, and parents all over the country who are working hard to enrich the learning of their students and children.”

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