Political advocacy workshop brings together Social Welfare Committee in Bangsamoro, Philippines

People sitting around a table

Political advocacy workshop brings together Social Welfare Committee in Bangsamoro, Philippines

Ensuring that women and minority groups in Bangsamoro have political voice and meaningful representation is essential to enable the autonomous region to transition into a working democratic entity. In support of this vision, WFD recently held a Strategic Planning Workshop on Political Advocacy for members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Social Welfare Committee (SWC) in Bangsamoro. From 11th – 13th August 2021, 20 members of the SWC gathered for the event which took place in Isulan town, Sultan Kuarat.

The aim of the workshop was to advise SWC members of the technical skills needed for crafting an advocacy plan that would help influence policy and legislation in the Bangsamoro government. 

Malta-based experts, Francesa Binda and Victoria Zwein of Binda Consulting International were amongst the contributors of the workshop and taught the group about different tools to guide them in constructing a successful advocacy campaign and a risk matrix to assess risks and assist decision making.  

The workshop is part of WFD’s programme of work to support domestic stability in the Bangsamoro, funded through the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. WFD’s work in the Bangsamoro addresses some of the most pressing areas of transition, including supporting women political leaders to work together to identify and influence policies and laws. 

Speaking of the workshop, Guiamelan D. Sayutin, chair of the Widow Committee, said that “As SWC member, we see women’s rights and livelihood as two major issues that need urgent response. Not recognizing women’s rights lost our self-confidence and perpetuate discrimination against Bangsamoro women. The ceaseless armed conflict particularly in SPMS Box destroys our livelihood.

“This workshop is important [in] giving us [guidance] and direction to make clear the values, vision and mission of our advocacy; understanding the various issues in our communities and identify correct strategies for resolution.” 

WFD Bangsamoro programme coordinator, Judy Ann Lubiano, said, “Women are often in the background and have little access to the formal institutions where important decisions are being made. Our participants have expressed in various occasions that with the new Bangsamoro government, they see new opportunities to discuss their legitimate issues. As part of WFD’s objective to strengthen women’s political leadership in the Bangsamoro, it’s important that we give them opportunities to discuss among themselves what issues concern them the most and how they can contribute to addressing these problems as grassroots women.  

“By providing political advocacy support to women’s groups such as SWC, they can effectively contribute to delivering inclusive legislative and policy outcomes in the Bangsamoro government”. 

A detailed Action Plan for an advocacy campaign will be the final output of the activity designed by the SWC women themselves.