PLDT Inc. wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. is training members of Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC), one of the biggest cooperatives in the country, to create and design their own strategies in rolling out ICT-based programs for their farmer-members.
Smart’s newest program, Smart Coops, is an ICT-based capacity development program equipping farmer members with basic knowledge on digital tools which would help them improve their skills, expand their knowledge on online transactions, and cope with the digitalization efforts of their cooperative.
Recently named the newest tech partner of LMPC, Smart is aiding the livelihood of farmers through digital tools and solutions especially during a time of pandemic. “This is just the beginning of our partnership with Smart. We promise to keep the passion of our trainers alive to realize the vision of this program because many people really need our help,” says Ellen Limocon, General Manager of LMPC. It is LMPC’s vision to become an efficient cooperative that can provide for the needs of their members.
“It is our mission to make technology and innovation work for your cooperative, keeping you in lockstep with technology driven solutions through digital literacy training,” says Catherine Yap-Yang, First-Vice President/ Head of PLDT and Smart Group Corporate Communications. “We are aiming to help other coop members learn how to use the internet and different mobile technologies to become more productive so we can take part in the digital economy,” she added.
The two-day training, held in Pinamungajan, Cebu, followed a blended learning approach. On the first day, LMPC’s core trainers joined a three-hour discussion on how to effectively roll-out the Smart Coops program to their respective communities. The second day of training was largely focused on the Design Thinking Workshop which was facilitated by Limitless Lab. Core trainers were trained to formulate their own strategies that they see fit and necessary for the roll-out of this program.
“Our goal is to help prepare the cooperative for its farmer-members’ training on ICT. Through this partnership we will also be able to train other coops through the Smart Coops’ program. We are hoping that this contributes to LMPC’s push for digitalization,” says Stephanie Orlino, Assistant Vice President/Center Head Smart Group Corporate Communications-Community Relations.
“We used to do farming manually, from plowing of the fields to selling of our products under the heat of the sun. It was fulfilling but we cannot deny the fact that it consumed too much of our time and energy,” said Roselyn Orlanes, LMPC Area Team leader and one of the trainings’ participants. “Today, digital technology has made farming and selling easier. And my husband also keeps on learning by researching online about efficient farming strategies,” she added.
Mark Edcille Canda, Project Specialist of LMPC and one of the participants, expressed confidence about the success of the Smart Coops program as he considered it as steppingstone towards the improvement of the lives of their farmer-members. “It is not that our farmers do not have the capacity to learn, they just lack education on this new technology,” he added.
Apart from the series of trainings, Smart has also provided LMPC with 20 units of smartphones, pocket WiFis, 5G-ready SIM cards, and load cards to aid them in rolling out of Smart Coops. Earlier this year, the cooperative received discounted smartphones and a Smart Infocast facility, which would help facilitate seamless communication with their members amid the pandemic.
These initiatives are aligned with Smart’s “Live Smarter for a #BetterWorld” campaign, which highlights Smart’s long-running community partnership programs, enabling “personal revolutions” that generate lasting positive impact to society through connectivity and CSR initiatives. Enabling this level of performance is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the country’s most extensive at over 478,000 kilometers as of end-March 2021. This fiber network also supports Smart’s mobile network, which covers 96% of the population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi. PLDT and Smart’s relentless push to provide connectivity for all is also aligned with the group’s long-standing commitment to help the Philippines attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.