Maranding Women-powered cooperative-A A +A
Bahin sang Bubay
Sunday, January 5, 2014
IT TOOK only 17 Maranding women in 1996 to start building the foundations of a cooperative that not only serves the best interests of women, but even that of several communities in Lanao del Norte. To date, 17 years more or less, the Maranding Women Multi-purpose Cooperative whose members have grown to 14,000 strong has become a symbol of strength unsurpassed in a region where the peace and order situation is much to be desired.
The Maranding Women’s cooperative has exemplified perseverance in organizing and sustaining its services and programs in the face of daunting socio-political and economic situations confronting it through the years. A case study about this exceptional feat by women was made some time last year, as it was considered as an organization that can impart some insights and learning on the inclusive economic development of the Bangsamoro in Mindanao.
For one, the Cooperative operates under a political atmosphere where opposing political clans and dynasties have a hand with the barracudas and Ilagas in the province to advance their interests. On top of that is the strong MNLF and MILF operations in the region that has made it literally a battleground and very unsuitable for any business enterprise to prosper. It is also the location of the 103rd base command of the MILF under Commander Bravo. Most of all, Rido is prevalent in the area.
It is indeed a thought-provoking reality of a home-grown cooperative run by women at that, which has survived and even flourished in the midst of so many threats to its endurance as mentioned above. On hindsight, it could be said that the trust level among its clients is high, as it appears, and cluster meetings become conflict resolution, mitigation and resiliency mechanisms.
Organized mainly to address the problem on usury encountered by micro-entrepreneurs in Maranding, the cooperative has now four branches with about Php10M portfolio and seven field units with less than Php10M portfolio. All of these even with the absence of the formulation of conflict-sensitive micro-lending program which the field researcher recommended for the organization to undertake in addition to government regulations.
How could the women make such a remarkable achievement? It is a perplexing question to many, but one of its strategies includes the provision of accessible and socialized micro-credit to marginalized sectors.
It could be said that women’s capacity to carry the burden of procreation makes it easy for us to bear however heavy or frightening the task may be. It is women’s special qualities that we can say we are favored with, that inevitably lead us to success in whatever undertaking that we may fancy.
It is no wonder then that women will always play a crucial role in peace building.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 06, 2014.