“Know more about the community and its culture before planning and implementing gender and development (GAD) interventions.”

This was the advice given by Dr. June Prill-Brett, Professor Emeritus of UP Baguio and renowned Cordillera anthropologist, during the Training on Gender and Development (GAD) Planning and Budgeting conducted for the members of the Cordillera Regional GAD Committee (RGADC), a newly-created Support Committee of the CAR RDC. The training was held on February 22-24, 2016 at the Citylight Hotel, Baguio City.

Dr. Brett lamented the prevailing lack of sensitivity to the cultural context of target communities in the implementation of GAD programs and projects. By citing the Bontok culture as an example, she underscored the need to analyze gender relations in the context of the time periods, social class, ethnicity ideology, age, and degree of acculturation, as these intersect in women’s lives. Pointing out that there is no standard set of GAD interventions, she pointed out that any intervention should be customized according to the unique situation of the community.

Aside from Dr. Brett, other lecturers included experts in GAD mainstreaming such as Dr. Erlinda Castro-Palaganas of UP Baguio and staff from the Philippine Council of Women headed by Ms. Nharleen Millar.

To level-off the participants’ understanding of GAD, Dr. Palaganas presented basic gender and development concepts. She explained that gender is socially determined and culturally defined. Development, she added, is about attaining a full and satisfying life for all, regardless of age, sex, religion, ethnicity or class, and that attaining this is a shared responsibility.

Lecturers from the Philippine Commission on Women likewise gave an overview of GAD mainstreaming, its legal bases, and the various GAD mainstreaming tools which include the Gender Mainstreaming and Evaluation Framework (GMEF), Harmonized Gender and Development Guidelines (HGDG), and the Project Implementation, Management, Monitoring and Evaluation Checklist (PIMME). The participants were given tips on how to prepare good GAD plans and budgets.

The training ended with the RGADC Chairperson Mayor Edna Tabanda challenging all participants to be conscientious in gathering gender data as this is the foundation of gender mainstreaming and the basis for the preparation and implementation of truly responsive and development-oriented gender and development plans.