Zamboanga, November 24, 2014 —Mindanaoan Youth Discuss Peace through Technology. The “Empowerment for Youth through Information and Communication (EPIC),” a joint program between the United States Embassy in Manila and Peacetech, Inc. started with community workshops to empower 100 out-of-school youth from Cotabato, Maguindanao, Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Participants received training in project-management, social media, and peace building, and learned how to use information and communication technology to address local challenges.
On November 14, over 2,500 Mindanaoan youth, including the 100 EPIC participants, from Cotabato province and ZAMBASULTA connected through a mass digital video conference for a dialogue on peace building, mutual understanding, and tolerance. The U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Philip S. Goldberg, opened the event from Zamboanga City, commending the youth participants for “reaching out to each other in peace and connecting for a better future,” and took questions from participants in both cities. Ambassador Goldberg also joined a “human chain” where participants from the two cities held hands digitally to show unity amidst distance. Guest speakers affected by the Mindanao conflict, including two kidnap victims, a former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) member, and a retired Philippine marine who lost his leg in a combat, shared their stories and encouraged the young people to work for peace and communicate with their peers to overcome ignorance and violence. As Ambassador Goldberg said, “All of you, standing together, can make a difference.”
At the end of the program, the 100 participants received grants to implement community projects on crime and drug prevention, solid waste management, livelihood training, and disaster management and preparedness.
U.S. Department of State’s Macon Phillips interacts with MYPEACE students, teachers and local partners.
October 23, 2014, Zamboanga –On October 21, 2014, the U.S. Embassy Manila launched the Madrasah Youth Promoting English Advancement for Community Empowerment (MY PEACE) at the Sarang Bangun Learning Center in Zamboanga City.
The MY PEACE program was launched by Macon Phillips, the U.S. Department of State Coordinator for the Bureau of International Information Programs, which provides and supports the places, content and infrastructure needed for sustained conversations with foreign audiences abroad.
The program aims to empower youth in Mindanao through English language training.
The MY PEACE project aims to empower at-risk youth in Mindanao by providing English language and life-skills training. Local partner, Voice of Mindanao, provided English language training to Madrasah teachers who will provide evening and weekend classes to youth that have little or no exposure to English. The program establishes a center with internet connectivity, five computers and multimedia equipment. Over the course of 10 months, local partners Voice of Mindanao and Naawan HELPS Incorporated will implement the MY PEACE project in Marawi and Zamboanga. The language classes will also teach life skills such as entrepreneurship and civic engagement.
A local NGO leader discusses the importance of clinical legal education in Mindanao.
Manila, September 29, 2014– As part of the U.S. Embassy Manila’s ongoing support to the Legal Aid Program in Mindanao (LEAP-Mindanao), forty participants from law schools, civil society organizations, and government agencies across Mindanao gathered in Opol, Misamis Oriental, to discuss clinical legal education. Participants drafted a series of policy recommendations for the government to consider.
LEAP-Mindanao started in 2012 to help ten law schools in Mindanao, and one in Palawan, open legal aid clinics. Students at these clinics provide free legal counsel to people in need. The clinics handle a diverse caseload, including issues of land ownership, gender rights and the environment. These students promote rule of law and human rights in Mindanao and provide peaceful alternatives to extrajudicial violence and factionalism, which has burdened the area.
For more information on LEAP-Mindanao, please visit:http://www.ajaphil.org/
Entrepreneurship bootcamp participants, alumni of U.S. Government programs, and PNP officers release 500,000 Bangus fish stock in Sarangani Bay as part of an environmental community outreach activity
Cotabato, September 8, 2014 – U.S. Embassy Manila Empowers Young Entrepreneurs. September 5-7, in partnership with the United States Embassy in Manila, the Alcantara Foundation sponsored a series of camps in General Santos city to provide young leaders with entrepreneurship skills to start small businesses and improve their communities. Over sixty youth leaders from the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Cotabato participated.
The young leaders presented community projects, stemming from a July 2014 Entrepreneur Bootcamp and joined sessions to strengthen their skills in leadership, networking, collaboration and community service. On Saturday, September 6, the participants, along with alumni of U.S. Government programs, planted mangrove trees as a community outreach activity and released 500,000 Bangus to promote environmental conservation and protection.
During the July camp in Cotabato, the youth participated in a series of workshops that encouraged innovation and creativity through business planning. At the conclusion of the bootcamp, participants designed community outreach projects, which ranged from educating indigent children in North Cotabato on proper hygiene, to promoting environmental awareness to Alternative Learning System (ALS) students through a tree planting in Tacurong City, to teaching women and youth how to grow vegetable gardens in Maguindanao as a source of income.
Calling all interested applicants from BAGUIO, PALAWAN (Brooke’s Point), and TAWI-TAWI, the deadline of submission has been extended until SEPTEMBER 22, 2014.
Recruitment is still ongoing (for Baguio, Palawan (Brooke’s Point), and Tawi-Tawi) for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (K-L YES) Program. Thirty Filipino high school students will receive a full scholarship to spend one academic year in the United States of America!
For the full program mechanics on how to apply, visit http://manila.usembassy.gov/opportunities/study/klyes.html