Dr. Alegria Oandasan, UNP CGAD Director, sharing the GAD best pratices of UNP.

As part of its initiatives to further advance the level of gender mainstreaming in Calabarzon, NEDA Region IV-A visited the University of Northern Philippines (UNP) Center for Gender and Development (CGAD) on April 2 in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. The activity was intended to raise the level of knowledge on gender mainstreaming of the office’s GAD Focal Point System and the whole staff through sharing of best practices of the UNP CGAD for possible adoption and replication in the region.

UNP CGAD manages the Pamulinawen GAD Resource Center (GRC), one of the two GAD resource centers in Region 1. The GRC was established in 2000 to address the need for more concerted efforts in implementing GAD programs and projects in the region. In addition to the Pamulinawen GRC, the university was able to mainstream gender and development in the university’s trilogy of functions – curriculum, extension, and research through the efforts of the CGAD. Included in the most notable practices of the university were the creation of GAD code in 2009 and publishing its implementing rules and regulations, certifying its own GAD resource pool composed of different members of the university’s faculty and staff, inclusion of gender mainstreaming in the university’s thrusts and priority programs, and the development of its own GAD responsive checklist for researches which was adopted from the checklists developed by the International Labor Organization.

Despite these efforts, Dr. Alegria Oandasan, CGAD Director, still pushes for more inclusive activities for gender mainstreaming in the university such as reviewing existing policies included in the Student Handbook and Faculty Manual, developing and publishing GAD newsletters, magazines, and research journals, and further integration of gender concepts in the university subject areas. She also mentioned her on-going proposal for the creation of a 3-unit subject on gender and development under the Community Health Management course.

In her synthesis and wrap-up of her presentation, Dr. Oandansan encouraged everyone to take the opportunity to make a change in the world by advocating gender and development. She shared her plan to retire soon and called for the participation of the future generations to continue what they have started in the pursuit of gender equality and women empowerment. The learnings from the activity will be shared with the GAD practitioners in Calabarzon during the next meeting of the Regional Gender and Development Committee.

The benchmarking activity ended with site visits to the CGAD office and the GAD corner in the university library. The group proceeded with the latter activities in Vigan City such as participating in the 6th Luzon Inter-RDC Secretariat Productivity Olympics and the Luzon Regional Development Committee Technical Working Committee Meeting.

Aprille M. Suyat, NEDA Region IV-A | April 15, 2019