Cablegate: S/Gwi Project Proposals - Philippines

DE RUEHML #0349/01 0500841
O 190841Z FEB 10




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 09 STATE 132094

1. Embassy Manila submits two proposals for consideration for
the 2010 Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues Small
Grants Initiative. The first is a $50,000 project to fund
the expansion of a women's support center in the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The second is a $100,000
project to train and sensitize attorneys and local
legislators to advocate for and defend the rights of women at
the grassroots level. If S/GWI selects either of these local
organizations as a grantee, the grant will be managed by the
Human Rights Officer in the Political Section, acting as a
Grants Officer Representative, and a Grants Officer in the
Public Affairs Section. The point of contact for these
submissions is Political Officer Doreen Bailey,


PROJECT TITLE: Construction and Expansion of Existing Women
Support Group Center in Kasalamatan Village, Jolo, Sulu

3. POST NOTE: This project will fund the expansion of a
women's center in Jolo, a strategically important city in the
conflict-affected island of Sulu in Mindanao. The Sulu
Archipelago, and Sulu island in particular, have suffered
from economic stagnation and neglect brought on by weak
governance, a decades-long separatist insurgency, and
terrorist threats ranging from the homegrown Abu Sayyaf Group
and Rajah Solaiman Movement to the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah
Islamiyah. The USG's interagency approach to the challenges
in this region includes programs that address the poverty,
corruption, and underdevelopment that can give rise to
terrorism. The committee selected this project because it
supports the Mission Strategic Plan goal of defeating
terrorists and fostering peace through its efforts to improve
access to social services for the women of Sulu. The
committee also appreciated the fact that our funding would
allow the Center to significantly expand its services to
reach a broader community. Bansag Babai is well-known to the
U.S. military forces temporarily deployed in Jolo, and has
worked with the Philippine and U.S. militaries on joint
social service projects in the past. END NOTE

4. PROBLEM STATEMENT: According to the Philippine National
Police (PNP), between 2007 and 2009 there were 30 instances
of violent acts against women (rapes, abduction, physical
abuse, etc) in Sulu Province, but due to social taboo against
reporting such acts, the actual number is likely much higher.
There is currently no organization in Sulu that provides
support for women victims of abuse and violence. Bansag
Babai Inc. has recently inaugurated a center that is aimed at
providing a shelter to female victims of violence. The
center would also be a place to further the education of
women in Sulu through educational programs in livelihood and
leadership training. The center is sustained through private
donations, but Bansang Babai is looking to expand their
facility and resources to better serve the women of Sulu.

5. PROPOSED PROJECT SUMMARY: The center currently consists
of one small two-room building. The proposed project would
triple the size of the existing structure to include a total
of three classrooms to be used as a conference room for
counseling, training and meetings, one room to serve as a
health clinic, and one room with restroom facilities to be
used as a temporary living space for victims of violence.
Funding for this project would also provide furniture and
materials such as chairs, desks, computers, books, beds, and
cabinets to fill the expanded center. Lastly, the project
will provide equipment, such as food processing equipment,
sewing machines and other educational materials to further
the center,s capacity to conduct livelihood and skills

6. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Proposed project would:

-- Expand the current building from 600 sq. ft. to 1,800 sq.
-- Furnish the expanded building
-- Provide educational materials and equipment

The expansion would allow the center to expand the services
the center currently provides, including:

-- Assistance for abused women & children, to include
counseling and guest lecturers on women,s empowerment;

-- Vocational classes;

MANILA 00000349 002 OF 004

-- Doctor,s visits, including lectures on general health
care, reproductive health, pre/post natal care, immunization,
preventive medicine and water sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

-- Victim support--temporary shelter, counseling, health
assessment in coordination with the Department of Social
Welfare and Development (DSWD), Rural Health Units and
Philippine National Police (PNP) Women,s Desk.

-- Skills training (food processing, sewing, computer
literacy, solid waste management and recycling)

-- Education (WASH, basic literacy, women,s issues,
reproductive health, values formation activities, leadership

Desired Outcome:

-- Serve as the main healing center for women and children
victims of violence for the Province of Sulu.

-- Capable of supporting at least five victims at any one
time with temporary shelter.

-- Serve at least 150 women in the center in the first year
of operation.

-- Hold regular educational symposiums in all municipalities.

-- Engage and train an active community of local women
leaders who can continue to provide services to the province.

-- Develop the mechanism with the line agencies (DSWD, PNP,
RHU, LGU) to better serve and support victims of violence as
well as maintain better records of violence.

Construction Materials: $25,000
Furnishing: $10,000
Computers: $5,000
Educational materials: $10,000
TOTAL: $50,000

is one of the active Women Organizations in the town of Jolo,
and is actively involved and engaged with other foreign
donor-assisted projects in Sulu, such as the
Philippine-Canada Local Governance Support Program in ARMM
for two projects -- as CSO Coach for the Building
Constituency in Participatory Governance and as Managing CSO
Partner for the WASH Service Delivery component. The
organization has recently worked in partnership with a
Philippine ) Australian community-assisted project with
small grants for facilities and livelihood programs for
women. They are also a partner of the Armed Violence
Reduction Initiative to promote peaceful communities.
Currently, Bansag Babai has 40 members, the majority of whom
are professionals involved in strategic development programs
and advocacies. Bansag Babai has also organized a network of
chapters in different municipalities in Sulu. One of its
major programs is the newly established Women Support Group
Center, which started its operation in November 2009 with
active involvement of other stakeholders such as DSWD, the
PNP Women,s Desk, and the Provincial Board Member-Women


ORGANIZATION: Women's Legal Education, Advocacy and Defense
(Womenlead) Foundation
PROJECT TITLE: Capacitating Lawyers and Local Legislators and
Building Alliances to Improve Access to Justice for the
Survivors of Violence Against Women

11. POST NOTE: The Philippines has legislated many laws for
the protection of women, but implementation of these laws at
the national and local levels is hindered by the lack of
awareness and knowledge of these laws. Through training and
network building, this project seeks to strengthen lawyers,
and local legislators' ability to advocate for and defend the
rights of women at the grassroots level. The project
supports the Mission Strategic Plan goal of transforming
governance and protecting human rights through engaging
government and civil society to promote good governance,
effective rule of law, and respect for human rights. Post
appreciates the positive public diplomacy opportunity
presented by this project, as the project would culminate in

MANILA 00000349 003 OF 004

a three-day national conference with 200 stakeholders,
including judges, justices, prosecutors, community and NGO
paralegals, police, legal advocates, among others. END NOTE

12 PROBLEM DESCRIPTION: The Philippines has a robust legal
framework for addressing violence against women (VAW), with
laws considered to be models in the region which conform to
international VAW standards. Yet, the actual impact of these
laws on individual women's lives and knowledge of these legal
projections remains limited. Specifically, in the area of
access to justice, barriers continue to impede women and girl
survivors of VAW to access justice through the legal process.
These barriers include the lack of access to legal services,
which is due in turn to the dearth of knowledgeable legal
service providers. When services do exist, women are still
confronted with a lack of sensitivity on the part of lawyers,
paralegals, and other service providers who purport to
represent them and assist them in their legal struggles,
thereby further disempowering these women. The lack of a
gender-sensitive lens through which the provisions of the law
are interpreted by prosecutors and judges, in turn, works to
nullify the intent of these the legal framework against VAW
and creates impunity for those who commit VAW. The lack of
support mechanisms and services meant to facilitate the
recovery and reintegration of VAW survivors within the
community also aggravate women,s difficulty in accessing
justice. This project seeks to address these disabling
conditions and increase women,s access to justice.

13. PROJECT SUMMARY: Womenlead envisions an effective legal
system through which VAW survivors can access justice under
the national VAW laws. Improving women's and girls' access
to justice is essential in attaining substantive equality for
women, so that these laws will actually impact women's lives
and become a true instrument of healing and justice for them.
Making the law meaningful in addressing survivors, actual
experiences and needs will encourage their greater use of it,
and in turn, greater respect for the laws and legal process,
by offenders and other stakeholders in the legal process. It
seeks to create the enabling conditions within the community
so that women can effectively seek redress for violation of
their rights and reintegration into society. It is expected
that at the end of the 18-month project local women
legislators and lawyers will have the capacity to analyze
women,s issues from a gender perspective; to advocate within
the local legislature and the courts via legal and judicial
reforms, respectively, to realize women,s human rights; and
to render gender-sensitive legal services and decisions for
VAW survivors. It is also expected that they, together with
other stakeholders in the justice system, will build
alliances for a more effective response to VAW cases.

14. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The overall objective of this
project is to contribute to the creation of enabling
conditions in the community for improved access to justice of
survivors of violence against women. It will conduct
capacity-building and alliance building among key
stakeholders in the justice system in order to make these
target beneficiaries become more gender-sensitive advocates
and legal service providers for VAW survivors.

The project will accomplish the following:

1. Capacity-building of and alliance-building among women
local legislators for the creation of enabling conditions for
women,s empowerment at the local government level

Thirty female local legislators from all over the Philippines
will undergo a five-day capacity-building course to train
them on the women,s human rights framework in the
Philippines and enable them to analyze local problems from a
gender perspective, and to enact local ordinances and
measures to carry out the policies and intents of existing
anti-VAW national legislation.

2. Capacity-building of and alliance building among lawyers
to enable them to render gender-sensitive legal services for
women and become proactive legal advocates for women,s human

Thirty lawyers from all over the Philippines will undergo a
five-day capacity-building course to train them in the
women,s human rights framework of legal advocacy; to analyze
the law and jurisprudence and its manner of implementation
using a gendered perspective; and to gain practical
principles and guidelines in providing legal services that
will be empowering to VAW survivors.

3. Sharing of knowledge and building alliances among the
stakeholders in the justice system towards a more gender
sensitive legal service delivery and legal advocacy and

MANILA 00000349 004 OF 004

decision-making for VAW survivors.

Two hundred participants, consisting of local legislators and
lawyers who participated in the training under this project,
together with Womenlead,s partners under other projects
(i.e., community and NGO paralegals) and networks of judges,
justices, prosecutors, police and other legal advocates,
participate and share knowledge in the country's first
three-day conference to enhance their knowledge and skills in
rendering gender sensitive legal services and decisions in
VAW cases.

This proposed project complements and expands on Womenlead,s
existing projects and builds on Womenlead,s decade of
experience in providing legal services for VAW survivors, and
its provision of legal education and capacity-building
seminars for various audiences. The organization has no
current U.S.-funded projects.

15. PROJECT BUDGET: The total budget of the project is
$117,067; of that, Womanlead is requesting $100,000 from
S/GWI and will secure the additional $17,067 from local
partners. Post has reviewed the detailed budget submitted in
the grant proposal, and will send it to S/GWI upon request.

Legal Education, Advocacy, and Defense (WOMENLEAD)
Foundation, Inc., is a non-governmental organization (NGO)
founded in June 2000. It exists to provide legal services
and engage in public education and advocacy for the promotion
of the human rights and sexual and reproductive empowerment
of Filipino women and girls. Womenlead,s organizational
goals are to: (1) Create a policy environment conducive to
advocacy for changes in the legal system towards addressing
the needs of women and girls; (2) Raise the consciousness of
the general public on women,s and girls' human rights and
sexual reproductive rights; (3) Build the capacity of
stakeholders for the empowerment of women and girl-children;
(4) Provide strategic legal intervention that is affordable,
appropriate, empowering and responsive to the needs of women
and girls; and (5) Develop strong partnerships with various
stakeholders towards a more effective advocacy and service
delivery. Womenlead has rendered legal services to over 500
women and girl survivors of VAW; provided legal education for
a wide array of audiences (e.g., justices, police, community
officials, community women, students, NGO workers);
participated in public and legislative advocacy for the
passage of pro-women laws including the VAW laws under this
proposal; created several publications and conducted research
on various on women,s issues. Womenlead's Director, Claire
Luczon, is an alumnus of the International Visitor,s
Leadership Program of the U.S. Department of State, under the
"Role of NGOs in Promoting Women,s Global Issues" program.
The organization has two full-time staff members and a cadre
of volunteers.

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