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Empowering women in communities through food processing innovation

Elvie Labis, a simple housewife who’s daily routine revolves around managing her own household, takes pride in her new found niche. With the DOST’s Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program, Elvie and the other women of Alubijid, Misamis Oriental are shifting gears from the complexities of daily housekeeping to the world of food processing innovation.  


From taking care of her husband and children to buying and cooking food for the family, Elvie had done it all.  She mentioned that just like the majority of women in their area, if not a fish vendor, she is just a plain housewife. However, in 2017, CEST came to Alubijid, particularly in barangay Baybay, bringing opportunities that empowers the community to become self-sustaining.


Elvie is currently the president of Alubijid Vegetable and Sardines Association (AVENSA), which was organized in 2017 through the initiative of World Vision. Jointly with the Alubijid Municipal Social Welfare Department, AVENSA was introduced to the DOST’s CEST program as a potential beneficiary of a livelihood project. Sharing a common advocacy and objective, DOST and the Local Government Unit of Alubijid, pursued the “Establishment of a Common Service Facility for Food Processing”.


“Nalipay kaayo ko kay nakita nako nga gi-barog na [ang facility] and mahikap and magamit na ang mga [processing] equipment.”, Elvie figuratively and literally expressed her contentment for the S & T interventions provided to the women of Alubijid.


AVENSA participated in trainings on Enhanced Food Processing Technologies on squash noodles and bottled sardines, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), orientation on Gender and Development (GAD) principles and the learning visit to the Food Innovation Center (FIC). These activities equipped them innovative processing technologies to develop and produce quality food products. With gratitude, Elvie said “Dako among pasalamat sa mga trainings nga among na-apilan, kay kung wala [trainings], wala sad gyud mi kahibal-an”. She acknowledges that the trainings they attended were beneficial as they have obtained the knowledge on food processing and food sanitation.


CEST in Alubijid is in full swing since the launching of the project in March 2019.  Elvie has committed herself in managing the association and encouraged other women non-members to be actively engaged while also soliciting support of the men. In Alubijid, CEST is not just about bringing in additional livelihood and income. It is about an engaging experience of men and women in utilizing science, technology and innovation for community empowerment.

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