Our community-wide livelihood projects enable women to participate and contribute to economic growth and simultaneously improve their quality of life. Through these projects, women are able to collectively harness their entrepreneurial and leadership strengths, raise awareness and advocate against sexual gender-based violence to bring about changes that support gender equality in their communities.
We apply the "Pay It Forward" principle to encourage empowered participants to influence and spread change in not just their own community but neighbouring communities. For instance, through exchange visits, women from the Kiau Nuluh pineapple project shared their agricultural knowledge and business experience with Tambunan women, who are planting ginger. Both communities are located in the Sabah highlands on the Crocker Range. In this sense, our projects are measured in terms of "social enterprise", whereby apart from profit-sharing, there is a positive social impact in the community's development.
The Everything Pineapple project with the women from Kg Kiau Nuluh is a shining example of a sustainable community-based women’s empowerment project implemented by Good Shepherd Services.
This is a socio-economic development project aimed at empowering women from Kg Kiau Nuluh, Kota Belud. The project was introduced to this pineapple producing community after the 2015 Sabah earthquake as part of a trauma recovery initiative which focuses on building the resilience of the poor and those vulnerable to environmental disasters. The main thrust is to enable women to increase their household income.
Presently, this community-based project involves 60 women from the community, which represents about 52% of total households in the village. There are four main pineapple products: jam, chutney, chutney bilis, chutney bilis (spicy) and juice. The first outlet shop carrying their brand “Everything Pineapple” was opened in Pekan Nabalu in May 2018.
Tambunan is a district known for its ginger which is said to be more pungent and aromatic. However, ginger is only cultivated on a small scale by smallholder farmers, mostly on the grounds around their home or as part of a mixed crop on their orchards. The produce is also sold individually to the middleman or at the Sunday farmer’s market.
As part of our on-going advocacy efforts in Tambunan, we involve the Women Support Group (WSG) from various villages on a livelihood project to produce two ginger-based products, namely ginger powder and ginger flakes. For WSG, this project enables them to participate in down streaming the harvested ginger into market orientated high value products that can generate a sustainable income for their continued advocacy efforts against sexual gender-based violence.
This ginger entrepreneurship project can be amplified and replicated to other rural communities to enable women to secure a source of income that utilises available resources to improve their household income and quality of life.
The setting up of a corn milling centre (CMC) in Kg Batu Lunguyan in 2019 provides the women there with agricultural and entrepreneurial opportunities in generating an alternative source of income.
Wirawati Enterprise Batu Lunguyan (WEBL) comprising housewives and farmers work together to cultivate corn for chicken feed as a way of generating funds. Some of the funds contribute towards the protection of children and women against sexual gender-based violence, as well as the welfare and education of children in need.
We hope that the CMC can expand its facilities and services in the near future and be developed to become an entrepreneurial hub that supports the economic empowerment of women in Sabah's rural villages.