Last weekend, I found myself surrounded by very enterprising ladies from Women for Progress of Nagpayong Multi-Purpose Cooperative. We had a 2-day strategic planning workshop for their 3-year old cooperative. I facilitated the workshop in my capacity as volunteer business adviser for small and micro enterprises, of the Philippine Business for Social Progress.
I enlisted as volunteer adviser (VA) for PBSP’s Business Advisory Program some three years ago. Despite that, it was only this month that I took a real advisory assignment. The other assignments that came in the past did not jibe well with my schedule. The other engagements I had with PBSP until last Saturday was limited to being present in its various seminars for VAs and emceeing an acquaintance party.
The Women for Progress of Nagpayong Multi-Purpose Cooperative is one of the many urban poor community enterprises that the PBSP supports. The PBSP on the other hand, is what we may now call as the country’s oldest living consortium of private businesses that aims to eradicate poverty through concerted, deliberate, and sustainable programs that empower the poor. This is not simply one of those private philantrophic activities that make donations for good PR or to ease a guilty conscience. PBSP is about corporate citizenship: we are citizens of the world therefore we should leave this place a lot better than we found it, whichever part of the world you may be right now.
Women for Progress is currently into sewing rags from scrap fabrics, sewing of school and office uniforms, and lastly, weaving of bags, mats and slippers using wicker and dried water lily stalks. Shown below is a screen capture of Alibaba.com promoting the products of WPMPC.
Interestingly, the Women for Progress MPC has already started doing internet marketing as a way of reaching out to their target customers. Aside from Alibaba.com, they also have their own website and presence in other online trading sites like Sulit.com.ph.
As an enterprise, I see that the WPNMPC has a lot of potential to grow and become successful. Hopefully, there will be more people and corporations who will lend a helping hand in ensuring that the cooperative will achieve their business objectives, and ultimately become significant contributor of income to the families of each of their members.
As for me, I was just glad that I cleared up my calendar for this activity. I’ve had the chance to meet the women of Nagpayong whom I admire for their steadfast commitment to bring their business to the next level. Their positive attitude, fighting stance and willingness to listen and learn, despite the negativity around them, was a powerful reminder that the poor Filipino is already fed up with government dole outs or pantawid gutom strategies of this government. The pantawid programs make them feel poorer, inutile and useless. Those are not sustainable response to the poverty problem.
Empowering the poor is the answer. But they can never succeed without our help. So pitch in and be involved. Let us stop poverty today.