A Women Champion: Vice President Leni Robredo meets SPARK

The government agenda includes the integration of the gender equality principle in the 1987 Philippine Constitution (Philippine Commission on Women, 2009) promoting women as part and parcel in development and nation building. The partnership of NGO and government for development is a contributory factor to fully realize inclusive growth. By this means, SPARK team had a discourse with VP Leni Robredo on women’s issues in the Philippines. Discussed in the meeting are future development initiatives that will promote and protect women’s rights, increase women’s political participation, and empowering girls to achieve sustainable development.

DSC_1994(From Left to Right: Victoria Garchitorena–Founder of Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Repormat at Kaunlaran, Inc. (SPARK), Hon. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo–Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, Dr. Jenny Lind Elmaco–Executive Director and Managing Trustee of SPARK)

 VP Leni was sworn in as Vice President of the Philippines on June 30, 2016. She was appointed as the 11th Chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). She is initially known to the public as the widow of the late Jesse Robredo – the beloved Mayor of Naga City and former Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government. She served as a Public Attorney and is a member of the alternative lawyers group SALIGAN. She devoted her entire professional life in the service of the most vulnerable sectors especially to women. .

DSC_1996(From Left to Right: Anwedda Navarra–SPARK Project Officer, Mikaela Luisa Carmen Teves–SPARK Operations Manager, Victoria Garchitorena–SPARK Founder, Leni Robredo–Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, Dr. Jenny Lind Elmaco–SPARK Executive Director/Managing Trustee, Hamilcar Chanjueco Jr.–Project Officer, Lyrra Kaye Castillo–SPARK Admin and Finance Officer)

On August 16, 2016, the Quezon City Reception House, the Office of the Vice President, opened its doors for SPARK. This marks future multi-sectoral initiatives rallying equal chances for women and girls.

SPARK attends Dr. Jonathan Woetzel talk on the Power of Parity at Asian Development Bank

A new McKinsey Global Institute report finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. The public, private, and social sectors will need to act to close gender gaps in work and society.

DSC_1340(From Left to Right: Sonomi Tanaka–Technical Advisor on Gender Equity at ADB, Jonathan Woetzel–Director of McKinsey Global Institute, Joseph Ernest Zveglich–Director of Macroeconomics Research Division at ADB)

According to the report, Gender Inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. If women—who account for half the world’s working-age population—do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer.

DSC_1348SPARK team with the speaker, Dr. Jonathan Woetzel (From Left to Right: Mikaela Luisa Carmen Teves–SPARK Operations Manager, Anwedda Navarra–SPARK Project Officer, Lyrra Kaye Castillo–SPARK Admin Officer  Jonathan Woetzel–Director of McKinsey Global Institute.)

The SPARK team learned immensely from the talk of Dr. Jonathan Woetzel and believes in the Power of Parity. SPARK supports the advancing of women’s equality for economic global growth.

Break that Silence, Squash that Hunger: Women Vote Express and Social Enterprise for Women

IMG_20150430_095107466 Spark Philippines Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran together with J. Amado Araneta Foundation (JAAF), team up for a livelihood project for women that maximize different strategy in developing skills and social relationship. The making of Nutritious Squash noodles, the said project, is a healthy and one of a kind approach to creating a living.

It was attended by women from different places namely from Calamba City, Laguna, Bayawan Negros Occidental and Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.  They were housed in the White House, Calamba City which is sponsored by Mayor Roman Lazaro. The event in Laguna was held in Technical School in cooperation with the local government and lastly the Dumaguete City project was held in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in cooperation with Women’s Sectoral Officer.

The 4-day event starting from February 7, 2015 was a huge success for the organizations themselves and for the women who took part in making the Nutritious Squash Noodles. The noodles were made from pure scratch and were deliciously converted to a healthy delicacy.

A hands-on workshop was led by Ms. Kristy Sumague, Executive Director of YMCA San Pablo together with Mr. Eric C. Mercado, Admin Officer of Spark Philippines, who both served as the trainer for the pilot organic squash making. They led the women into the actual creation of the squash noodle.

A women’s livelihood workshop wouldn’t be complete without the cooking session. Ms. Kate Alyzon Ramil, Senior Program Officer of Spark Philippines conducted the “Cooking Pasta with the Women” activity where they made delicious and nutritious delicacies.

In addition to the hands-on workshop, the event was graced with a talk from Ms. Jenny Lind Elmaco, Executive Director of SPARK Philippines wherein she talked about the women vote express. Ms. Shammah Bulangis, also gave her remarks on the Women’s Political Empowerment, she is the Coordinator of SPARK Philippines for the Women’s Vote Expresss.

These talks from two influential personalities serves to encourage women to take part in the political process themselves and be the voice in their community in developing harmonious governance. This is as well to motivate women in taking full responsibility and choosing leaders that are ensured of a positive change and betterment of their communities.

With this livelihood project, another set of women have been imparted with knowledge and enhancement of skills that they could use forth in their development as individuals. Thus, it is important to educate women for learning doesn’t end and women should be built with limitless possibilities.

#HackforHER! The Spark a Smart Change Hackathon happens March 21


SPARK! together with SMART Communications and the J. Amado Araneta Foundation joins the call for women’s empowerment through “hacking the gender gap”.Be part of history by joining the SPARK-a-SMART Change Hackathon happening on March 21, 2015! Exciting gifts and tons of freebies await hackathon participants and cool prizes for the top 3 apps! Visit www.womenhackph.eventbrite.com to register and to know further details or e-mail hackforher2015@gmail.com for other inquiries. On March 21, together let’s #HackforHER!

SPARK! mentors innovative Women Design Sprint, celebrates GDay


SPARK! Philippines joined the Google Business Group and Google Developers Group to celebrate GDay last December 20.

SPARK! believes that is critical nowadays for women to increase their active participation in ICT and STEM.

SPARK! co-organized the Innovative Women Design Sprint with Google and created problem statements to encourage the creation of safe spaces for women. Participants then created paper designs of the Apps that would address the challenges that women face.

Winners were awarded Google Cardboards – a neat tool that allows you to turn any Android 4.1+ phone into a virtual-reality headset. Runners up were given Google USBs and other freebies.

SPARK!’s Executive Director, Jenny Lind Elmaco, thanks Google through Chelle Obligacion-Gray, Commune’s Ros Juan and Katherine Sy-Yap of GBG for supporting gender equality in ICT and for partnering with SPARK in initiatives such as these.


Paper Design App for Safety


SPARK!’s Lyrra Castillo attends GDays Manila 2014


Major support from Google


Ros Juan of Commune, Chelle Gray of Google and Leigh Reyes of Lowe Philippines


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