Dr. Victoria R. Arce, together with Maria Kristine Josefina G. Balmes and Nharleen S. Millar of the PCW, signs the memorandum which certifies UNP CGAD as a National Training Center for Gender Sensitivity Training (GST). With them are Dr. Maria Elena Benzon (former CGAD director) and Dr. Eleanor Belizar (certified national GAD expert).

The University of Northern Philippines, through its Center for Gender and Development (CGAD), was certified by the Philippine Commission of Women (PCW) as a National Training Center for Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) during the 6th General Assembly of the National GAD Pool of the Philippines held at the Lucky Chinatown Hotel, Manila on 6 December 2022.

While the University has been offering the Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) program since 1997, the certification is a proof that UNP’s implementation is on par with the set standards of the PCW. 

Seven institutions applied, but only three institutions were certified and awarded: University of Northern Philippines, FORA Strategic Communications Consultancy Inc., and Women and Gender Institute (WAGI) of Miriam College.

More specifically, the certification proves that UNP’s training program “conforms to the core messages and standards set by the PCW on the provision of GAD technical assistance that is relevant, effective, appropriate, and responsive to the needs and requirements of government and private sector clientele.”

The designated members of the GAD Pool of Trainers in the University are serving as resource persons or learning facilitators of the training, two of which are national GAD experts being certified as members of the National Gender Resource Pool by the Philippine Commission on Women. They are Dr. Eleanor R. Belizar and Mr. Frederick Pablico, who were also re-certified as experts in the same affair.

Belizar and Pablico grab a photo opportunity with other re-certified national GAD experts.

The award, according to the PCW, “introduces a system of certification to set standards in the conduct of capacity building on GAD in the Philippines.”

In addition, the PCW said that UNP’s accolade means “increased client enrolment as the training institution will receive technical assistance referrals received by PCW from individuals and local and international organizations.”

In addition, UNP will receive the following support from PCW: review of GAD related training modules and its core messages to ensure that they are up-to-date and based on recent developments on GAD; provision of opportunities as a venue for sharing of good practices to strengthen GAD training capabilities; firsthand access to GAD-related materials, tools, policies and guidelines developed by PCW, including those shared to PCW by other institutions; attendance to PCW-led advocacy campaigns, launching activities and other similar events; and monitoring support for the improvement of the GAD training program/s.

Dr. Victoria Arce, CGAD director, together with Belizar and Pablico and former CGAD director, Maria Elena Benzon, received UNP’s recognition.

Maria Kristine Josefina G. Balmes (Deputy Executive Director for Operations) and Nharleen S. Millar (Chief, Technical Affairs and Information Resource Management Division (CAIRMD) awarded the program certification.

Belizar shared on Facebook: “Congrats to  the UNP administration headed by Dr. Erwin F. Cadorna, and to CGAD former directors Maria Elena Parel Benzon and Alegria Oandasan, and present director Vicky Riberal Arce for their commitment in sustaining our advocacy on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Congrats also to all academic and administrative units for supporting gender mainstreaming in the university.”

The rigorous certification process included three methods, namely: desk review of submitted documents; validation sessions and focus group discussions among key officers and staff of the institution as well as key informant interviews with trainers and clients; and final assessment based on validation results, accomplished forms, and other supporting documents.

According to the CGAD, UNP’s GST deals with the study of the social construction of gender. It concentrates on the discussion of basic concepts of gender, gender socialization, gender issues, the theoretical foundation of gender, gender and development and its legal bases, and gender mainstreaming as a strategy to attain gender equality and women empowerment.

Arce receives the certificate and the plaque from PCW.

From the UNP Center for Gender and Development and the UNP Public Information Office

Photo credits: Frederick Pablico