of the members of the Magbinuligon Bayanihan Association-Women
in Development Association (MBA-WIDA) pose with Municipal
Agrarian Reform Program Officer Maritess Nacilla (extreme left).
(Jose Alsmith L. Soria)
It takes a woman to
do a man’s job: The MBA-WIDA story
JOHN CHRISTOPHER COLASITO
March 23, 2017
TACLOBAN CITY –
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Tatcher, once said, “...that
whenever you want things said, give it to a man, and when you want
things done, give it to a woman.” The women of Magbinuligon Bayanihan
Association – Women In Development Association (MBA-WIDA) formerly the
Opong MPC are proof that women can indeed bring change and make things
Formed from the defunct
Opong MPC, the MBA was organized with the help of DAR in 2009.
According to DAR Agrarian Reform Program Officer I (ARPO I) Ma.
Milagrosa Noveda, she spearheaded the reorganization effort of what is
now the MBA, and has 379 members, 197 of which are females and 182 are
males. It is a federation or network organization, with WIDA as its
The organization has a one
(1) hectare communal farm planted to high yielding vegetable
varieties, in addition to a less than a hectare tilapia fish pond. It
is also engaged in rice production.
But the women of MBA-WIDA,
have walked the extra mile. They may look comely, shy and pretty; but
mind you, some of them are certified welders with NC II certificates
from TESDA. Some have also received training in carpentry and masonry,
and gentlemen, take a bow, these ladies constructed their warehouse
from scratch. ARPO I Noveda says that these women actually built their
warehouse, and it was a sight to see them holding hammers, welding
tools and do construction work. Welding, carpentry and masonry, are
traditionally the preserve of men. It is not every day that we find
women in a rural community break the gender barriers, and the women of
MBA-WIDA, have shown they can indeed make a difference.
In a rural community, the
traditional occupational roles are very much emphasized between sexes.
However, things were to change when super typhoon Yolanda came. It
brought change at a rapid pace.
non-government organizations, private agencies and donors, and
government agencies poured assistance to calamity-stricken areas,
Tolosa, included. There was also a serious shortage of skilled labor
particularly for carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians and the
like. Soon, government agencies and civic-minded organizations started
training those interested in these skilled occupations that were in
short supply. These trainings included both men and women, and the
members of MBA-WIDA. Together, they were a force in the rehabilitation
and development of their community. After Yolanda, it opened several
opportunities for livelihood and entrepreneurship.
But they did not stop there.
They were able to access ILO funding worth P2M, more or less, for the
construction of their building with provisions for an office and
storage area. It was here that the women showed their carpentry,
masonry and welding skills, and did traditional chores that used to be
the preserve of men, a few years back. Yes, there were males who
helped them along the way, but this was something new and it signalled
a new chapter in the life of empowerment of women in local life.
They were also a beneficiary
under the Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP), ARPO I Noveda
said. They also availed of the on-site training provided by DAR and
from partners. Today, they are engaged in addition to their vegetable
production where they produce bell peppers, they are in vermi-cast
production, an organic fertilizer derived from African Night Crawlers
earthworms with technology provided by the DAR. They produce green
charcoal briquettes. They have also engaged in the production of red
rice organically, which is in high demand for the wellness and health
conscious market, particularly the diabetics.
They have diversified their interests: meat processing, and catering
business. In line with this, they underwent trainings in food
preparation and food handling, table skirting. They have also produced
nuggets from vegetables. Their latest venture is the production of
organic dishwashing liquid, which they started marketing in their
The MBA-WIDA is an epitome
of empowerment, breaking traditional stereotypes. They have also
learned to think of their future, access and mobilize resources to
effect their plans. They may have to deal with challenges along the
way. But after the storm, they have charted their lives in their
hands, and blazed new trails.