As we stand at the crossroads of an ever-expanding digital frontier, the intersection between digitalization and women’s literacy emerges as the compass that guide us toward a future defined by inclusivity and empowerment. In the current digital landscape, computer literacy plays a significant role in fostering economic independence, expanding opportunities, and promoting inclusivity for women. The Basic Computer Literacy Training Program for 19 producers from 5 Small-scale Producers in the Philippines hence, was a transformative initiative by Fairtrade NAPP that was designed to bridge the digital divide and foster gender-inclusive economic empowerment. Recognizing the critical role of women in small-scale production and their untapped potential in leveraging technology, this program aimed to equip female and male producers with essential digital skills to enhance their economic independence and opportunities, thereby helping their organizations.

“At the age of 56 years old I learned about computer because of your help. It made me happy and I was not expecting that me and my group member brings pride to our Association, Mercedes Farmers Irrigators Association (MERFIA) by being awarded as one of the “Best in Presentation” by presenting our Products of Learning during the Graduation Ceremony last November 16, 2023. To tell you honestly, I have learned a lot and got emotional as I heard that we got an award. I will try my very best to help our association and still hoping to have more trainings so that some of the association’s members who are also interested can avail of the program of NAPP. Thank you very much to FAIRTRADE NAPP, Ms Erika, and Ms. Veron for the opportunity, Sir Ernie for the patience in teaching us so that we can learn, and to LCC Bacolod and the Management, especially to Sir Rodjhun and Sister Joan for accommodating us and providing the venue. God Bless and more power.” – Cecilia Tagobader, MERFIA

This 11-day initiative focused on gender sensitive curriculum, ensured safe and supportive learning environment and offered mentorship opportunities and ongoing support networks to assist women in implementing acquired skills within their trades. It explored various aspects including computer literacy, Microsoft office productivity tools, email and communication system operations, social media management in accordance with the Philippines privacy and the basic research techniques using internet and operation of online collaboration tools such as use of virtual platforms for meetings, conferences among others. It also fostered skills in data processing, spreadsheet management, record-keeping, digital citizenship, safety, and networking. The successful implementation of the event was possible due to the following reasons –

  • Community-Embedded Approach: The initiative partnered with local women’s organizations and community centers that served as the cornerstone of this training, ensuring accessibility and cultivating a sense of ownership within the community. This collaborative effort not only promotes program sustainability but also creates an environment conducive to learning, fostering empowerment and long-term engagement among participants.
  • Trained Facilitators: Sessions are led by facilitators well-versed in technology and gender and development, ensuring a dynamic and inclusive learning environment. Their specialized expertise not only ensures the effective delivery of content but also guarantees a nuanced understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by the participants, fostering a truly enriching and supportive learning experience.

“I’m Candice Marie B. Medel from NAFWA. As a teacher, I already have knowledge about computers, how they work, and how they can make our lives and work easier. Some may ask, ‘Why did I attend the training?’ To be honest, I volunteered to be one of the participants because I want to learn more. There are still things about computers that I do not know, and this training has been very helpful. When I entered the computer lab on the first day, I was in awe, realizing that each of us had our own computer to use. Because of this, we could apply what we learned to various tasks. While this was just Basic LiteracyTtraining, it had a significant impact, especially for beginners. The insights I gained add to my knowledge, and I can apply them to my work as a teacher. I am very thankful to FAIRTRADE-NAPP for sponsoring this training, to our instructor, Sir Ernie Mallorca, for instilling valuable lessons, to my fellow participants who showed eagerness to learn, to LCC Bacolod for the warm welcome, and lastly, to our Almighty God for His provisions and guidance throughout.” – Candice Marie B. Medel, NAFWA

The Basic Computer Literacy Training Program for Small-scale Producers in the Philippines, dedicated to empowering women, is a catalyst for change. It provided access to digital tools that enables women to reach wider markets, establish online presence, and explore diverse opportunities beyond geographical limitations. The program contributes to the socioeconomic advancement of communities, fostering a culture of inclusivity and equality. Equipping women with basic computer literacy enhances their capacity to actively participate in decision-making, fostering economic independence and agency. By equipping women engaged in small-scale production with essential digital competencies, this program not only cultivates their economic empowerment but also paves the way for inclusive and sustainable growth in the Philippines’ local economies.

“I’m Anne Marie Bandoja from MERFIA. I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Fairtrade NAPP for sponsoring and organizing this invaluable Computer Literacy Training. This initiative has truly made a significant impact on my skills and knowledge in the digital world. I’m immensely thankful to Sir Ernie Mallorca whose expertise, dedication, and guidance throughout the program have been instrumental in shaping our understanding of Microsoft Office as well the Internet. Their commitment to fostering our learning and ensuring a supportive environment has been truly commendable. Thank you for the opportunity and for investing in our growth and development. Being part of the Computer Literacy Training has been an invaluable experience for me. The program provided a comprehensive understanding of various usage of Microsoft Office, improved my digital skills, and boosted my confidence in using technology effectively. This training has not only enhanced my skills but has also empowered me to navigate the digital world with ease and efficiency. I’m grateful for the opportunity and the support provided throughout this enriching learning journey.” – Anne Marie Bandoja, MERFIA.

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