The meaningful participation of women, the elderly, the youth, people with disabilities and indigenous people can easily be overlooked in project implementation. Organising consultations with marginalised groups has become increasingly difficult during the pandemic, as restrictions in movement and assembly are strictly imposed.
The Global Future Cities Project Philippines delivery team provided spaces that allowed the voices of different community groups to be heard. A hybrid face-to-face/virtual approach was utilised while firmly observing health protocols. Transportation was provided to participants. The elderly, the youth, people with disabilities and indigenous people were invited, present, and active in the consultations, and 53% of participants were women.
In Cebu, consultations were allowed to be held in person, ensuring a deeper level of engagement.
Discussions were held in the vernacular, and participants were asked questions to identify the barriers they faced and their concerns about the project. Participants’ recommendations to increase their economic and social benefits from the project were considered and integrated into the strategies and designs for the housing and central park projects.
As a result of the consultations, the delivery team has led government partners in New Clark City and Cebu City to commit to:
- Continuing community engagement activities for greater participation;
- Adopting affirmative action policies to employ local women, youth and IP residents during project construction, operations and maintenance and allocate commercial spaces to display and sell livelihood products for increased economic empowerment;
- Endorsing the proposed PWD-, elderly- and women-friendly designs for better accessibility and safety; and
- Involving the Gender Focal Point going forward for continued mainstreaming of gender and social inclusion concerns.
March is Women’s Month, an excellent time to recognise that GFCP is paving the way for government partners in New Clark City and Cebu City to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Philippines.