SoCot chosen for labor dept?s SWEED program

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the SWEED program primarily aims to raise the level of livelihood and improve the capability of the informal sector workers.

"It intends to help train our poor residents into productive and competitive entrepreneurs," she said.

A report from the Public Employment Service Office–South Cotabato cited that SWEED program's target beneficiaries are the self-employed individuals who are living below the poverty threshold.

Under the program, the beneficiaries will undergo six-month entrepreneurial courses on basic business, technical and vocational skills under its WorkTrep Training Course component.

The SWEED program is an initiative of DOLE and the United Nations Development Program for micro-entrepreneurs and self-employed workers in the informal sector.

A consultation workshop on the SWEED program was conducted last month by the DOLE in coordination with the Bureau of Rural Workers.

The workshop was aimed at developing a concise manual of operations and implementation guidelines for the SWEED program.

Fuentes said DOLE has committed to help local government units establish their own SWEED programs by providing interventions such as the provision of capacity-building services, work entrepreneurship training, facilitation of access to technology, market, and raw materials and facilitation of access to credit under the government's micro-finance program.

She said DOLE will also provide equipment and essential tools for business and livelihood and facilitate access to social protection services.

Fuentes said the program will be launched in Mindanao in January 2007.

The program's other pilot areas are Laguna, Benguet, Southern Leyte, Bohol and Surigao.