On May 2019, under the #YESBANGSAMORO project Maranao People Development Center (MARADECA) Incorporated, in partnership with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Philippines and UNICEF conducted a youth-led community consultation on the Bangsamoro Youth Agenda through Focused Group Discussions in five (5) different barangays and municipalities in Lanao del Sur.
Its purpose: engaging the youth in identifying the issues and concerns they are facing in their community as well as to introduce network strengthening through youth conversations.
The partner youth organizations who conducted the FGDs identified that the lack of community participation and involvement of young people is one of the common issues and challenges that most communities are facing which can only be resolved if more people are to contribute in empowering the youth.
“The government should prioritize the issue on education as it interconnects with the rest of the issues – As they say, investing in the education of youth is the best thing to do in the betterment of this region and of the country as a whole.” For all that, they believe that education is the best solution as for the young Maranaws to be equipped in empowering and bringing change to the Bangsamoro.
Watch: VSO Philippines Youth Engagement
Thus, to improve adolescent and young citizens’ engagement in their communities, a social messaging tool and data collection system known as U-REPORT Philippines was introduced. It uses polls and alerts, collecting real-time responses for raising adolescents and young people’s voices that can guide in policy development and social accountability.
“Sa U-Report, Youth voices matter” as this campaign encourages the young people not to hesitate and let their voice be heard for them to be more empowered and become ambassadors of change.