The journey to Gender and Development in Cooperatives will continue as the Gender Equality Resource Center (GERC), the Asian Women in Cooperative Development Forum (AWCF) and the Cooperative Development Authority will conduct the 2nd National Summit on Gender and Development (GAD) in Cooperative on March 29 – 31, 2016 at Crown Legacy Hotel, Kisad Road, Baguio City.

Co-op’s Board of Directors (BODs), Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) /General Managers (GMs), GAD Committee Members, GAD Focal Persons, Human Resource Officers, Education Committee Members, Gender Trainers; Co-op Development Officers of local government units (LGUs); and GAD Focal Persons of government agencies supporting co-ops are invited to participate in this national activity. Invitation and registration schedules can be downloaded in this article.

This Summit aims to achieve the following:

  • Be updated on the experiences of co-ops, national government agencies (NGAs), LGUs, and social enterprises on mainstreaming GAD in co-ops
  • Assess how GAD is being integrated in the co-op sector and the progress on the application of the “Declaration and Call for Action” of the “National Summit on GAD in Co-ops” (the first GAD Summit) held on March 25-26, 2014 in Subic
  • Further understand the importance of GAD as a component of the social impact of co-ops
  • Formulate firmer action points to mainstream—and sustain mainstreaming—GAD in co-ops and thereby attain gender equality (GE) that helps co-ops gain economic and social growth

The Road to the 2nd National Summit on GAD in Cooperatives

The road to the “2nd National Summit on GAD in Cooperatives” began in 2014 with the first-ever “National Summit on GAD in Cooperatives” held on March 25-26 of that year in Subic Bay. The Summit was the first of its kind in the Philippines and had 568 delegates (34% male and 66% female) from 429 co-op organizations (primaries, unions, federations, co-op banks), local government units, and the organizers—the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and the Asian Women in Co-operative Development Forum (AWCF) and with support from the We Effect. The Summit, with the theme “Inspiring Change for Women and Men in Co-ops,” intended to help the delegates:

  • know the importance of GAD that leads to the integration of gender equality (GE) in co-ops and, ultimately, to greater co-op growth and development
  • know how co-ops can comply with the requirements of “Memorandum Circular (MC) 2013-22,” pertaining to “Guidelines on Mainstreaming GAD in Cooperatives” that was issued by CDA on November 18, 2013 (the MC aims at disseminating to co-ops the GAD mandate of the Philippine government so as to ensure the promotion of GE and the institutionalization of GAD in policies, programs, and other activities in co-ops)
  • be inspired by the sharing in the Summit by key organizations and resource persons on GAD and co-op development, and to join other co-ops in helping other co-ops nationwide in becoming even better and stronger co-ops.

The delegates of the first Summit drew up the “Declaration and Call for Action of the ‘National Summit on GAD in Co-ops’” that contains their concerns and recommendations/resolutions about GE, and their commitments in bringing about and strengthening GAD in co-ops. The delegates likewise exhorted other Philippine co-ops and all concerned government and private agencies to continue strongly working together for GAD mainstreaming in co-ops.

2016’s National GAD Summit

In 2014, co-operators who attended the first-ever national summit of GAD in co-ops produced a declaration and call for action that contained their concerns and recommendations on GE. The co-operators’ also manifested in the document their commitment to pursue and strengthen GAD in their organizations.

Two years after co-operators had taken the road to GAD through that summit, and as co-ops nationwide buckle down to work for the next 100 years of the co-op movement, it is time to see and to ask—What has happened since that GAD Summit in Subic? Where are the co-ops and the co-operators now in their stated commitments to GAD advocacy and actions? What further initiatives can be taken by co-ops and private and government agencies that assist co-operatives to fully reap the benefits of mainstreaming GAD in co-ops?

On March 29-31, 2016 in Baguio City, co-operators who will attend the 2nd National GAD Summit have the opportunity to learn even more about GE. They can share their own GAD advocacy and mainstreaming experiences and also partake of the experiences of other co-ops in the Summit. They can further strengthen their resolve as gender-fair co-ops amid the presence of other co-ops that are committed to GE.

The fruitful journey for GAD and for the attainment of the GE vision and goals continues for co-ops that know and believe that they are on the right road toward their transformative and sustainable development—for the sake of their members and the communities that they serve.