On March 8, 2019, we celebrated International Women’s Day with a theme, “Conversations on Women And Change”.
Paulina Lawsin-Nayra or Ate Pauline, World Pulse Ambassador and President of WEAVERS (Women Enablers Advocates and Volunteers for Empowering and Responsive Solutions), spearheaded this forum in partnership with the University of the Philippines - Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment (UP-OASH); Environmental Management Bureau - Gender and Development Focal Point System (EMB - GAD FPS); and World Pulse.
The venue of the event took place at one of the conference rooms of the University of the Philippines Tacloban.
Stella Paul, World Pulse Global Lead Trainer and a multi-awarded journalist, flew all the way from Metro Manila to Tacloban City to commemorate Women’s Day here. She and Ate Pauline have been friends since they met on World Pulse on 2011. Both of them became participants of World Pulse’s Training Program, Voices of the Future 2012.
The moment the three of us met, the halls of the venue was filled with joy as we embraced each other! The jubilation stirred the curiosity of the participants on what World Pulse is all about.
Crisanta Mihangos of Institute on Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) hosted the program. She began by saying, “Every successful woman aspires to lift up other woman”.
Maribel Munsayac, the Focal Person of EMB-GAD FPS, welcomed everyone. She shared about the relationship of women and the environment, particularly in the context of climate change; and how women are prone to violence when they are displaced by disasters and when they secure food and fire for their families.
Ate Pauline gave the overview of what Conversations on Women and Change is all about. She said this forum was a gathering of women leaders. She also gave a brief history of women’s movement worldwide and how it began in the Philippines.
She shared that laws such as Republic Act 9262 or the Violence Against Women and Children (VWAC) Act are passed because women likes to share their problems with one another. Through telling their stories, women can discuss their problems that eventually lead to submitting these concerns into policies.
Ate Pauline also facilitated an activity where we group ourselves with participants we haven’t met before to discuss the following:
1. What is my best qualities as a leader?
2. What are my challenges as a leader?
Ate Pauline then randomly called women to share what they learned the interactions from their group. From there, a list of qualities were enumerated. Among those were being understanding, empathetic, patient, decisive and so on.
Stella Paul shared her story on how sad her family was when she was born a girl. She paid tribute to her mother who went through all kinds of trouble just to keep her alive. Without her mother’s love for her, Stella would not be lucky to be alive today due to an illness she caught as a toddler. She also shared how she found her calling to be a journalist, to go through the hardest reached areas so she can document women stories and write them for the world.
Stella then shared what World Pulse is and why it is her second family. She urged everyone to write their stories and reminded each of us that no story is trivial or insignificant.
She also talked about women’s participation on environmental protect and climate change action. She named three impact stories where women organisations from India, Africa and Myanmar provided solutions for the threat on climate change.
Zonia Camarillo of the Philippine Statistics Authority presented a wealth load of data on the situation of women and men on Eastern Visayas.
During the afternoon session, I was privileged to impart how my World Pulse journey began with one storm story. I took the opportunity to honor the resilience of the women Super Typhoon Haiyan survivors. I invited them to write their experiences during the wrath of the world’s strongest typhoon.
Stella gave away World Pulse brochures. We also showed the participants the World Pulse film (just in time we found out how to connect to the University wifi).
Stella suggested that we World Pulse sisters give away three World Pulse t-shirts as a reward to those who’ve worked overtime to make the event a success and to those who showed interest to #LogOnRiseUp.
On her closing remarks, Prof. Querima Quinsing from UP OASH considered it a miracle that a venue was available in the University even for a short notice which usually needs to be booked months prior. Awarding of Certificates followed. Then finally, a group picture taking.
The International Women’s Day celebration was a success!
Thanks to the leadership and expertise of Ate Pauline on bringing the WEAVERS’ partners together.
Thanks also to Stella Paul for finding ways to visit us in Tacloban City. “Fortune favors the bold; fortune favors a brave woman!” (one of the many quotes I heard from her motivational talk).
It was through World Pulse that Stella, Ate Pauline and I met, and together, we’ve invited more sisters to join this global sisterhood. Truly, World Pulse weaves women together.