Tuesday, December 12, 2017

YSEALI members hold ASEAN-wide week of community service campaign

By Graciela Mante

BUTUAN CITY, Dec. 12, 2017 – To celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), a series of more than 150 youth-led activities were conducted from December 1-10 across Southeast Asia in a community service campaign called YSEALI YOUnified.  

Launched in December 2013, the YSEALI is the United States government’s premiere program to strengthen youth leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Designed for ages 18-35 years old, YSEALI’s wide array of programs – U.S. exchanges, regional workshops, in-country programs, grant opportunities, and social media campaigns – allowed young leaders in the region to hone their skills and connect with their fellow leaders. YSEALI focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region: economic growth, sustainable development, education and civic engagement. To date, YSEALI is now 112,000 members strong.

YOUnified, a portmanteau of the words youth and unified, started in December 2015 in the Philippines when Filipino YSEALI members mobilized more than 400 volunteers and engaged close to 4,000 Filipino youth to mark the 2nd anniversary of YSEALI. There were 20 simultaneous YOUnified events nationwide that encouraged youth to be civically engaged and to collaborate on developing solutions to pressing local, national, and regional issues.

In 2016, YOUnified brought together hundreds of YSEALI members and alumni for an ASEAN-wide day of service. Together, they led 107 projects engaging an unprecedented 16,000 people on issues such as: environmental conservation, trafficking, education for underserved areas, disability rights, women’s advancement, and youth engagement with local leaders.

This year, members of YSEALI organized more than 150 projects that took place throughout the 10 Southeast Asian countries and in the United States on Dec. 1-10, 2017. 

In the Philippines, 40 activities - 7 in Metro Manila, 9 in Luzon, 3 in Visayas, and 21 in Mindanao - happened during the 10-day celebration, reaching an audience of more than 5,000 Filipinos. Activities youth-led solutions to community challenges such as a digital marketing boot camp in Baguio City, debate on regional environmental issues in Cebu City, psycho-social intervention programs for families affected by the Marawi siege in Lanao del Sur, and youth mentoring program in Pasay City.

Surigao had two activities to celebrate the fourth Younified anniversary. On December 6, a Partnership Meeting for the Mamanwang Malambuon project was conducted in the Surigao Chamber of Commerce Office in Surigao City. The Mamanwang Malambuon: Mamanwa Youth Livelihood and Entrepreneurship Project was selected for funding by the United States Embassy through its U.S. Exchange Alumni–Philippines Program and aims to economically empower the Mamanwa communities by training their youth in modules on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, youth leadership, organic farming, basket weaving and handicrafts making. It also aims to inspire the youth in sustaining their communities and increasing their resiliency to radicalization. It will be implemented starting January 2018 in partnership with the Surigao Chamber of Commerce, the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), 30IB of the Philippine Army, Rotary Club of Surigao Midtown Jewels, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Provincial Agriculture Office, and YSEALI youth volunteers.

On December 9, Surigaonon youth artists held the Jari Na Sab Kami! (Here we are again!) Arts Workshop where participants learned the basic watercolor painting and anime drawing for free. The activity was aimed to nurture the creativity of the youth of Surigao and build their talent to express their thoughts and emotions to better connect and change their communities.

To know more about the details of the different activities happening in the Philippines and how to participate, visit facebook.com/ysealiyounified. To check all activities happening across ASEAN and the U.S., visit facebook.com/yseali.


For information on the Mamanwang Malambuon Project and Jari Na Sab Kami Arts Workshop, please contact the Project Coordinator Graciela Mante at 09778317519 or lalamante@gmail.com. (YSEALI/PIA-Caraga)