By: Gerome Dalipe
IS the gender and development (GAD) approach being used by the Iloilo Provincial Government really to achieve gender equality and women empowerment?
Government auditors have some doubts about how the Provincial Government conducted its training supposedly for women empowerment.
In its annual audit report for 2018, the Commission on Audit (COA) voiced doubt on the baseline reliability of the economic status of participants.
That’s because the economic status of participants and gaps between men and women were not established prior to the conduct of capacity development building for women micro and small entrepreneurs.
Thus, the auditors said that Capitol’s claims of accomplishment report on its recertification of Local Learning Hub could not be validated relative to its efficiency and effectiveness.
“The gender issues and the necessity of conducting capacity building in order to address the gaps in the economic sphere was not established,” read the COA report.
Chapter 6 of Republic Act 9710 (Magna Carta of Women) provides the development of GAD programs from the conduct of a gender audit of the agency or the local government unit and a gender analysis of its policies, programs, services and the situation of its clientele.
Likewise, a joint memorandum circular among various government agencies state that a local government unit should establish or strengthen their monitoring and evaluation systems.
This is designed to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their gender mainstreaming efforts.
In 2017, the Provincial Government reported that over 1,200 micro-entrepreneurs have been served and a total of 150 products were enhanced by the program which started in CY 2014.
But the GAD representative told the auditors that only 200 medium and small entrepreneurs were assisted using the taxpayers’ funds released by Capitol.
On the other hand, the 1,000 small and medium entrepreneurs were assisted via the request and funding of various government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry and other civil society groups.
The above gathering aimed at establishing measures that can contribute to the reduction of gender disparities and inequalities in the economic, social and political spheres of the local government unit.
But there was no monitoring and post-evaluation on the lives of the participants, thus the impact and effectiveness of training in addressing the gaps were not established.
“Gender analysis would have been helpful if the analysis on the differential impact of programs or project interventions to men and women was assessed thereafter,” the auditors said.
In the report, the auditors asked the governor to direct the Provincial Gender and Development Committee to ensure the enforcement of programs on women’s economic empowerment.
The committee is also urged to conduct the actual gender needs analysis in the course of designing and conceptualizing the training, seminars, and capacity development.
“Establish baselines on the economic status and gaps of women and men in certain areas prior to the intervention and monitor the progress” read the COA report.