Filipina Farmer is ‘Mentor of the Year’ in Women of the Future Southeast Asia Awards

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MoCA Family Farm RLearning Center Inc. Gigi Morris and her team of "community builders"

"Mentor of the Year" awardee Gloria Morris works with members of their community to boost local agriculture. (photo by MoCA Family Farm RLearning Center Inc.)

A farmer from Padre Garcia, Batangas is among two Filipinas recognized in this year’s Women of the Future (WOF) Southeast Asia Awards.

Gloria Morris, founder and president of MoCA Family Farm RLearning Center, was named “Mentor of the Year” in the program which aims to build a platform to showcase regional emerging leaders. The winners were announced in an online event streamed via YouTube on June 25.

“Inspiring women in a bigger platform is a huge responsibility, but then I have to remind myself that the real woman of the future doesn’t really run away from responsibilities. Instead, we embrace it and we say, ‘Bring it on!’” Morris said in her video-recorded acceptance speech.

Morris was recognized for founding MoCA Family Farm RLearning Center which has had a “major impact” in her community as local farmers and their children are learning new skills in agriculture. Aside from this, she was cited as the “driving force” behind a women-led family farm cooperative and a “key player” in the country’s family farming movement.

“I would also like to thank the women of past generations—the generations of my mom—for raising women of the future like us to be strong, tough, yet gentle and caring, and always ready to help and collaborate,” she added in her message.

The “Mentor of the Year” award is among the 10 categories that recognizes active mentors behind the success of younger women in Southeast Asia. Other categories include Arts and Culture, Business, Community Spirit and Public Service, Entrepreneur, Media and Communications, Professions, Property, Science, Technology and Digital, and Social Entrepreneur.

Atty. Lucille Dejito, Director of Legal Interventions at the International Justice Mission in Cebu, won the Professions category for her fight against commercial and online sexual exploitation of children.

The WOF Southeast Asia Awards is a component of the WOF Programme’s vision to build a global, collaborative network of women. The initiative started in 2006 and has since created “a community of women across industries, cultures, and countries who challenge and support each other.”

“Kindness and collaboration are the DNA of the Women of the Future Programme and it is these two qualities that have shone brightly over the past few months as the world has been rocked by COVID-19. As we face what is potentially the greatest challenge of our generation, I hope that the programme will be the vibrant platform you need to help you and many other women to succeed,” Pinky Lilani CBE DL, founder of the WOF Programme, said as she addressed all women leaders in the region.

Morris’ MoCA Family Farm RLearning Center is a regional extension service provider and a Farmers’ Information and Technology Services Center supported by Agricultural Training Institute CALABARZON. Morris and her team conduct training programs and extension activities including technical vocational education.

During the quarantine period, MoCA Family Farm RLearning Center also launched an online platform via a Learning Management System that offers short courses on different agricultural technologies such as drip irrigation, organic farming, and nursery management.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.