Kapangan, Benguet – At first and even at second glance, many would not be able to recognize that one of the five workers manually mixing concrete for the irrigation canal in Brgy. Cayapes in this town was a woman.
During this time of pandemic due to Covid-19 when a mask covers feminine facial features and a headcover conceals long hair, Ms. Vicky Cayamso blends well with her fellow construction workers as she displays her agility in working hand in hand with men in hauling of construction materials, mixing concrete until the shaping of irrigation canals which are all being done manually.
Vicky shares that joining construction teams in government projects is a part of off-farm activities she and her fellow women farmers in barangay Cayapes participate in, even in the previous years. While waiting for the harvest of their crops, usually rice and bell pepper, some Cayapes women involve themselves in project construction.
Due to quarantine restrictions which resulted in the loss of some jobs, many of them (men and women) in the barangay wanted to take part in the construction activities. Their group made remedies by implementing rotation schedules were implemented to be able to accommodate interested and qualified workers. As such, other women participate in construction on other days as scheduled.
When asked about participation of women in construction activities, Barangay Kagawad Pablo Mendoza said that people in their area are open-minded to such things and that women have since been part of the labor force especially in government projects.
The ongoing Cayapes Communal Irrigation System (CIS) is funded under the Extension/Expansion of Existing Communal Irrigation System (EEECIS) CY 2020 which is expected to generate an additional service area of 13 hectares and benefit 45 farmers. Other facilities of the irrigation system were earlier funded and constructed in 2013 and 2015.
As part of the gender and development program of NIA, women participation is strongly encouraged in all phases of irrigation project development.
Photo by: ARMANDO BOLISLIS
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