Social entrep helps tribes

A SOCIAL entrepreneur has intensified her company’s help to Mindanao tribes in enhancing the quality as well as marketing their products.

At the Wednesdays forum @ Habi at Kape – Abreeza yesterday, Mary Ann Montemayor of Kaayo Modern Mindanao said her company has been intensifying the promotion of the products of Mindanao tribes that it is helping.

Kaayo is an enterprise that is helping Mindanao tribes transform their creations like woven cloths into marketable products.

“It is our way to introduce Mindanao to the market by promoting indigenous apparel,” said Montemayor who recently was named as one of the 10 awardees of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs as three of them are from the city.

This developed as Montemayor’s group is looking at helping the weavers of Marawi City once the conflict in the city ceases. “The Marawi weavers are very good weavers,” she said, adding that her group will partner with other groups that would provide livelihood to the residents of the city once the rebuilding process starts.

Among those that the enterprise is helping are the T’boli tribe in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato and the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe in Davao as they produce traditional fans and head cloth, respectively.

In Lake Sebu, she said her group is helping five people’s organizations that are into weaving, beading, and embroidery.

Motemayor added that her company is also helping the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe in marketing their “tangkulo,” a woven head cloth which the market has recognized. “This is helping our IPs (indigenous peoples) as they depend on the production of traditional creations for livelihood and that we can mainstream (these products),” she added.

Montemayor said Casa Mercedes Inc., the oldest fan maker in the Philippines at about 60 years, has started discussing with her group the mass production of traditional fans that will incorporate T’boli and Bagobo designs.

These fans, she added, will be sold in major department stores in Manila.

She said the tribes have increased their production by teaching other members of their tribes the skills necessary sothey can join in the endeavor. For example, initially the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe could only produce 12 woven head cloths a month, but their production has increased 10 folds as more and more members are joining the activity.

But Kaayo is trying to ensure that the authenticity of the products by consulting the communities including the cultural aspects of production.

 Further, Montemayor added that they intend to prioritize the weaves from Marawi City as the place is capable of producing strong woven materials. This will also be a way for the company to take part in helping those affected by the recent armed conflict in the city.

“The Marawi weavers are very good weavers. With this, we can make use of all the weaves of Marawi and turn them into products,” Montemayor said.

Posted in Business