The Women Organizations Managing Agri-based Networks for a Sustainable Society (WOMAN) project was launched at a ceremony in Iligan City by the US Embassy, in partnership with Xavier Science Foundation (XSF) on February 2 . This two-year initiative aims to reduce poverty in Lanao del Norte by helping rural women create economic opportunities for themselves by developing microenterprises and improving agricultural productivity.
The project will train 132 leaders of women cooperatives from all 22 municipalities of Lanao del Norte how to organize and lead effective women’s organizations; how to produce and market a value-added product; and how to improve agricultural productivity. These women leaders will then engage the estimated 1,600 members of their cooperatives to establish viable microenterprises. These microenterprises have the potential to significantly improve the women’s household incomes and enhance their ability to provide better health, nutrition, and educational opportunities to their families. In addition to alleviating poverty in the province, the project also aims to establish productive and peaceful bonds between Muslim and Christian women groups within Lanao del Norte.
In a video message, the US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski thanked expressed the United States’ commitment to empowering women and girls around the world because of women’s indispensable role in development, saying, “[The Office of Global Women’s Issues] and State Department overall has always operated under the conviction…that empowering women and girls builds stronger communities, stronger society, and helps promote peace all over the world.”