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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Diageo PH empowers women through Plan W 2015

With the aim of empowering two million women across all socio-economic profiles by 2017, Diageo’s community investment program, Plan W, has been actively creating programs that nurture and develop the skills of women. Today it is implementing its program in the Philippines by creating a campaign geared towards the country’s passion: singing.

In a country where there is limited formal music training yet a flourishing singing industry, grassroots music teachers and conductors continue to struggle to raise the quality and standards of singing. This is further strained by the limited reputation, employment, and artistic growth opportunities that these self-taught music advocates experience. Plan W Philippines recognizes this and thus, in cooperation with Sing Philippines, will provide teachers and choir conductors the proper training in organizing, sustaining, and nurturing choirs.

Plan W Philippines aims to increase the competence, credibility, and long-term sustainable employment of women choir conductors and teachers in all regions of the country. Its target participants will be women conductors and choral group teachers who have the potential and ability to teach music, but have limited opportunity, resources, and access to formal training and education. Through Plan W Philippines’ program, these women will be provided with practical skills to organize and sustain choirs as they work towards uplifting the standards of choral singing in their respective communities.

“Diageo Philippines, through Plan W, affirms the Filipino’s gift for music and gives its women the opportunity to celebrate life in the way the country knows best: singing,” Diageo Philippines General Manager Jon God said. “Globally, Diageo knows that when women have access to learning and have an opportunity to pursue their passion, it creates a powerful ripple effect that impacts the society around them positively. This is Plan W’s priority, and is part of the company’s 2020 Sustainability and Responsibility targets which aims to build thriving communities.”

The program will be delivered by employing both immersion-type and experience-based training, supplemented with practice through coaching, cliniquing, and demonstration. It is divided into two stages.

During the first stage, the selected women teachers will attend a week-long experience-based immersion program covering essential competencies. The workshops and coaching sessions will be taught by Sing Philippines’ faculty and will cover a range of topics that will introduce participants to the key critical skills needed to empower them to organize, lead, and develop purpose-focused and culture-building vocal ensembles in their community and schools. These include sessions on musicality and musicianship, choral conducting, teaching techniques, and organizational management skills. The first stage also entails having the participants rehearse and perform as a women’s chorus to ensure that their training is more practical than theoretical.

During the second stage, participants will be sent back to their communities in order for them to develop their own singing groups. Workshop trainers will visit the participants to observe the application of their learnings and to provide guidance as the women work with their choirs in their respective localities. This will culminate in a local concert, thus introducing the outcome to the local community. This reinforces the goal of empowering women to make a difference by nurturing the Filipino culture to their communities through the inclusive nature of ensemble music.

“Outside of the few urban centers of the country, there are very limited opportunities and venues to train choir conductors and music ensemble teachers,” said Mark Anthony Carpio, Artistic Director of Sing Philippines. “Through Sing Philippines, Plan W addresses this need and opportunity by equipping women music teachers and choir conductors with practical skills that they may apply to their singing groups. This will have a multiplier effect: through these women, young singers will be exposed to a choral experience and thus develop a life-long passion for it. In turn, the future conductors and teachers will come from the ranks of these passionately engaged singers as well.”

Plan W, globally, aims to enable women to have the skills and resources to build better futures for themselves. Diageo believes that if women are empowered, they have more access to opportunities, thus their incomes increase, their families become healthier, and their children have greater access to education.

By teaching participants how to conduct choirs, Plan W Philippines not only empowers women, but also brings communities together. It not only creates skills, but also sparks the inner joy that drives its participants to passionately pursue their goals. This achieves the overarching goal of the programme: to progress society.

Diageo is the first beverage alcohol company to sign the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles globally. To date, Plan W has empowered more than 115,000 women and trained more than 43,000 men across 16 countries, impacting more than 575,000 people.

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