Perhaps it’s because it’s their only link to home, or maybe it’s because seeing what your loved ones are up to back in the Philippines can make one feel less distant. Whatever the reason is, OFW’s tend to be quite active on social media.
And now, Facebook Philippines and the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) have partnered up to give OFW’s an opportunity to hone that hobby into something more productive.
The joint effort was announced during this year’s National Migrant Workers’ Day celebration, with the introduction of certain programs designed to provide OFW’s with basic digital literacy and small business training. OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac noted that Facebook has become “a life line, a hope line, an assurance line” for OFW’s the world over, hence the social media platform being especially ideal for this purpose.
Digital Literacy Training for OFW’s
A one-hour digital literacy workshop has now been integrated into the OFW exit program. Here, OFW’s will be educated on hot-button topics such as protecting your privacy and safety online, practicing critical thinking and empathy, and of course, identifying fake news. Participants will specifically be given tips on how to use the correct settings for sharing content and how to differentiate between facts, opinions, and plain old misinformation.
“How do you make sense of it especially when you are away from your family and friends? Even if you find out something to be true, what is the intent you have when you share it? Are you trying to bring joy and happiness? Or are you trying to harm?,” Clair Deevy, the director of community affairs for Facebook Asia Pacific was quoted saying, “Unfortunately, there are bad actors out there who want to spread misinformation that are not true so we have some basic tips.”
The program was officially launched this month, shortly after the said workshop was pilot-tested on 70 outgoing OFW’s last May. Given how the participants reportedly described the session as “really fun and interactive,” Facebook and OWWA hope to reach a further 40,000 OFW’s later this year.
Facebook Business How-To’s
Putting their hard-earned savings towards a thriving business has been a common concern among many OFW’s, not least because they see it as a way for them to be able to stay home and still provide well for their families.
OWWA has been offering to train OFW’s and their families in baking, sewing, and even serving as local tour guides – skills that could lead the way to lucrative business opportunities.
As part of the partnership’s two-prong approach, Facebook’s Boost Your Business module has been integrated into the program to help participants capitalize on the latest digital marketing trends. OFW participants and their family members will be taught the basics of Facebook marketing, including how to set up and manage a Facebook page and/or Instagram account, how to take better photos, and how to analyze page insights, among other things.
To encourage the OFW participant’s progress beyond the program, each one will be given a notebook containing a checklist on what they need to do to their social media accounts during the first 30, 60, and 90 days.
Facebook and OWWA aim to reach about 1,500 OFW’s and their family circles with the social media business training program, and the locations and provinces they’re specifically targeting are currently being mapped out.
In the meantime, interested parties can check the OWWA Facebook page for details and updates.
Let’s face it, many of us spend an unhealthy amount of time on Facebook every day anyway. Might as well get something productive out of it, eh?