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Talahib Handicraft
Jones, Isabela
Jones, a fourth class municipality in Isabela province had creatively found a way of generating jobs by using an indigenous material like talahib, a type of grass which grows abundantly in the area. Innovative minds and creative hands of students, housewives and farmers transformed the talahib into saleable items like wall decors, flower vases, lampshades, candle holders and multi-purpose racks. The municipal government in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Association of Barangay Captains and the National Manpower and Youth Council launched a trade fair in 1992 to discover local talents on creative craftsmanship using indigenous materials. These products were not only sold locally but also exported to other countries. Skills training on weaving were conducted for volunteers from the different barangays. To ensure stable and sufficient supply of talahib, the municipal government coordinated closely with the farmer suppliers.
During the 3-year program implementation, employment was generated for 150 summer students, 306 out-of-school youths and housewives and 279 full time weavers. In addition, on-call weavers from the six barangays can be relied on to absorb the increase in production demand. Weavers earned as much as P240 per day depending on their skills and speed. The farmers increased their talahib. Some of them became independent manufacturers of handicraft and marketed their products to the municipality through a buy-back agreement. Idle time of the youth had been made productive thereby reducing youth-related problems in the area. The women earned additional income which were used in sending their children to school and in providing additional food and for their other daily needs.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 1997 Galing Pook Awards.
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