TAYO 8 Finalists


Young Educators of Mapulang Lupa

Creating Change Through: YESkwela Kalsada PLUS Nina Ate at Kuya

When a struggling young man decided to persevere amidst a series of personal disappointments and loss, it gave birth to organization called Young Educators of Mapulang. Transforming grief from the death of his father into inspiration to help others, this young man, now known to his students as Kuya Vanjo, launched the project Lupa the project YESkwela Kalsada PLUS Nina Ate at Kuya.

What’s the Story?

YESkwela Kalsada PLUS nina Ate at Kuya is a mentoring program which is patterned after a Sunday School format. It is a combination of tutorials, outreach activities, theatre workshops that focus on youth development.

Activities under the said program strongly encourage the involvement of parents. Occasions like Grandparents Day or Halloween are used as timely opportunities to introduce lessons in a more entertaining way. Singing, dancing, even exercise function as vehicles for learning as well.

Thirty active members, young professionals and students alike, make up the Young Educators of Mapulang Lupa. Despite minimal funding, they continue with their commitment to hold the weekly activity YESkwela Kalsada PLUS Nina Ate at Kuya since starting out in October 2009. Sometimes they are able to acquire donations from private individuals; sometimes assistance comes from companies like Telus (Kuya Vanjo’s employer). But oftentimes expenses come from their own pockets, spending for materials needed for the weekly activities such as paper and ballpens.

But no matter how many challenges come their way, members of this organization continue to power through. Needless to say, this is a story of people seeing hope in each other, content in seeing the children they teach develop an awareness on social issues, ethics and literacy as well as gain self-confidence.

Recognition and Success

Teaching in the streets of Mapulang Lupa became the fertile ground that gave both underprivileged kids and their teachers a new perspective on life. Dessa Jean Peralta, Young Educators’ representative to the TAYO National Finals knows this success story all too well. From being part of beneficiaries from the efforts of the young volunteers, she is now a volunteer herself and is able to earn some income as a tutor.

She expressed that the Young Educators of Mapulang Lupa truly are “committed to empower and inspire every young individual in our barangay to volunteerism and community service.” Barely two years old, their project YESkwela Kalsada PLUS Nina Ate at Kuya has indeed achieved a lot.

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Watershed Management Youth Council (WMYC)

Creating Change Through: Davao City Youth Working Towards Saving Davao’s Last Water Source

When the members of the Watershed Management Youth Council (WMYC) learned that the natural course of the Tamugan-Panigan River in Davao is threatened with plans for the construction of a Hydroelectric Powerplant, they were very much alarmed. The information came to them as they already knew of a study projecting the demand for water in 2011 will equal supply and that the only other viable source of potabe water is the threatened Tamugan-Panigan River.

Migrio Vina Cagampang joined other youth representatives and championed her cause during the TAYO Week last December 2010. She explained the efforts of WMYC in preventing “a looming water crisis” is also inspired by lines form a Cree Indian Prophecy:

Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

What’s the Story?

In 2007, WMYC took a stand in their hopes to protect the water supply of all 1.8 million Davaoeños. The said youth organization launched an information and education campaign advocating the Watershed Code – a city ordinance geared at protecting and preserving the watershed areas in Davao City.

Under the umbrella project called Davao City Youth Working Towards Saving Davao’s Last Water Source, they conducted school-to-school campaigns and barangay forums appealing for support from their fellow youth and Sangguniang Kabataan councils. They also lobbied their cause to local legislators through a 6- week silent protest and carried out a signature campaign garnering 40,700 signatures.

Perseverance and unfailing hope paid off as WMYC managed to convince Davaoeños to maintain the Tamugan-Panigan River strictly as a source of drinking. Their actions also lead to the protection of the flow of the Talomo River which recharges the Dumoy Aquifer- the present source of Davao City’s water.

Recognition and Success

In 2010, two years after WMYC’s crusade began, the City Council of Davao declared that the purposes of potable water will be prioritized in the case of the Tamugan-Panigan River, as opposed to making way for power-generation activities. Such a triumph is one that only bold ones like members of the Watershed Management Youth Council can claim.

Displaying the no less than the TAYO spirit of youth involvement and volunteerism, WMYV continues on with the information, education campaign in order to educate more youth as well as monitors the implementation of the Watershed Code to “ensure water sustainability for the present and future generation.”

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Terrestrial and Aquatic Restorations By Students Immersed In Environmental Reforms

Creating Change Through: The Can-ugkay Community-based Watershed and Habitat Restoration Project

A name like Terrestrial And Aquatic Restorations By Students Immersed In Environmental Reforms or TARSIER would surely spark the interest of many. However, the success of this small school-based organization from the Visayas State University (VSU) was of that of the little-tugboat-that-could, having started with simply the will to help even amidst scant resources.

The Can-ugkay Community-based Watershed and Habitat Restoration Project was conceptualized by former TARSIER president Jihan Santanina Santiago. The project site, the island municipality of Pilar in Cebu, is where Jihan is from. And despite this being far from their home base in Leyte, TARSIER members dedicated their weekends, travelling on land and across the sea to make great things happen.

What’s the Story?

TARSIER’s Can-ugkay Community-based Watershed and Habitat Restoration Project is a response to the deteriorating water supply of the Can-ugkay Watershed, which provides water to 1,500 households and plays a key part in keeping ecosystems and biodiversity in place.

Due to the dwindling forest cover and the increase of harmful and unsustainable farming practices such as the slash-and-burn technique, TARSIER members took a stand to believing that “a deep sense of environmentalism is a key to sustainability”. They addressed the lack of alternative sources of income for farmers or fisher folk and worked to counter negative environmental effects through a rehabilitation method called Rainforestation,

The Rainforestation Farming System integrates fruit-bearing trees like Lanzones, Durian, Rambutan and Mangosteen with native trees, resulting in a stable source of income for locals, the safeguarding of biodiversity and the protection of water supply. TARSIER tapped the expertise of the Institute of Tropical Ecology (ITE) of the Visayas State University and garnered the support of Plan International, Villahermosa Barangay Council and the Sangguniang Kabataan.

As local government units supported travel expenses, TARSIER members conducted training on Rainforestation Farming and Environmental Leadership seminars for farmers, youth leaders and high-school students alike. This not only produced a 1-hectar Demonstration Farm with 250 grafted fruit trees and 5,000 indigenous trees but also lead to the establishment of a centralized farmers’ group named the Can-ugkay Rainforestation Farmers’ Association or CaRFA.

Recognition and Success

In October 2009, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Municipality of Pilar and Visayas State University for TARSIER’s continuing project. And for three consecutive years, TARSIER has been recognized as Best Student Organization.

During the TAYO 8 National Awarding, Team Energy awarded TARSIER 20000 pesos and a computer set-up for their “strength in synergy while demonstrating the power to serve and help build lives to inspire change among the Filipino youth.” Serving both man and nature, it is truly is a monumental achievement for the little-tugboat-that-could.

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Student Nurses Association of the Philippines (SNAP) of the West Visayas State University

Creating Change Through: Health and Education Action Reform Thrusts or HEART

The Student Nurses Association of the Philippines (SNAP) of the West Visayas State University is part of a nationwide association of nursing students. Their project aptly dubbed HEART or Health and Education Action Reform Thrusts is a year-round health awareness campaign consisting of three components namely Araw Pambata, Health Forum and Healthy Environment for a Reform Tomorrow. HEART served as an avenue where the nursing students were able to help their community in Iloilo City by applying the knowledge and skills they learned in school.

Faye Dominique Palmares served as SNAP’s representative to the 8th TAYO Search. She expressed the organization’s sense of accomplishment in knowing that they all contributed to the growth and development of the community belonged to.

In her presentation before a panel of judges, Faye reported that the accomplishment provided her and her fellow SNAP members an avenue for growth and self-development, firmly believing that people learn even from all people they engage with and from the one’s they teach.

“We make caring our target, and we empower people by putting health in their hands,” she added.

What’s the Story?

HEART serves as an “adopt-a-barangay” project where students are able to teach proper health practices and at the same time learn from hands-on experience. Nursing seniors mentor students from lower year levels to ensure continuing efforts and promote team-building.

Through SNAP’s spearheading, groups from the West Visayas State University such as the Mountaineering Club, The Extension and Research Office, and the Alumni Association of Nursing, worked hand in hand with barangay officials and residents. Non-government organization Help Panay also extended assistance in the form of learning materials.

Araw Pambata was conducted in the Day Care Centers of Barangay Nabitasan and Barangay Magsaysay. The members of SNAP assessed the health of the children in the centers and taught them healthy practices through games and storytelling.

The Health Forum was a seminar that aimed to raise awareness on Leptospirosis, a disease that is usually pervasive during flooding due to contaminated water. The forum was held in Barangay Nabitasan, where frequent flooding and crowded areas expose residents to a higher risk of contracting infectious disease.

The third component of HEART, which is the Healthy Environment for a Reform Tomorrow, was a tree-planting activity, carried out in cooperation with the Mountaineering Club in the Maasin Watershed of Iloilo.

Recognition and Success

Aside from receiving a 25,000 peso grant, SNAP’s recognition as a TAYO 8 National Finalist strengthens the organizations goals and future plans. Currently, members are aiming to organize a health forum and further pursuing linkages with more partner organizations.

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Youth Solidarity for Peace

Creating Change Through: Peace Advocates Zamboanga for Shaping Mission Integrating Life’s Experiences or PAZ for SMILE

Youth Solidarity for Peace or YSP was formally established in 2008, stemming from a youth movement advocating the Culture of Peace and fighting against discrimination across cultures like Muslims, Yakan, Christians and Indigenous People. In an area perceived to be conflict-ridden, YSP now serves as the youth arm of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ). Hence, the name of the project PAZ for SMILE.

During the TAYO 8 National Finals, Aldrin Abdurahim spoke of how he was struck by a documentary he saw in Illinois “branding Zamboanga City as the kidnapping capital of the world.” He also explained that his experience of change-making and being part of the TAYO Search fueled his desire of “transforming our ideal communities to real communities that could change the image of the country in international scene.”

YSP espouses “a multi-faceted approach of synergizing and bridging peace, solidarity and leadership among communities.” Instead of merely preaching about the value of peace, PAZ for SMILE works in line with the philosophy that families, communities, individuals may truly come to embrace the ideal of peace, when necessities like food, access to healthcare and literacy are not overlooked. The project works in such a way that it first addresses the basic needs of people.

What’s the Story?

SMILE, short for Shaping Mission Integrating Life’s Experiences, created an avenue for interreligious dialogue, interaction and cooperation. From June 2009 to June 2010, YSP was able to reach about 2000 people in 7 communities by conducting peace camps, workshops, and outreach activities under this umbrella project.

The PAZ for SMILE consists of a 4-point program, namely: Responsive Education Amidst Adversity or READ, which addresses illiteracy and provides indigent kids reading materials and tutorials; PIYES, meaning feet in Chavacano, which provides slippers to children and the elderly; SHARE which stands for Smile for Hygiene Awareness; and Culture Across Real Experiences or CARE, which gives high school and college students a proper knowledge on the dynamics peace and the culture surrounding it.

Throughout the implementation of the project, YSP was able to connect thirty youth-affiliated organizations that include the Department of Education, 34 High Schools in Zamboanga City, Universities and Colleges, parishes, local government units and print/production houses.

Recognition and Success

While other people have given up on the peace and order situation in the South, Youth Solidarity for Peace has created a synergy of peace efforts successfully yielding partnerships with different peace organizations, hospitals and sponsors.  This youth organization decided that something had to be done to address the issue of peace by first truly connecting with people instead of merely telling them about it. These young peace advocates decided that there was no room to be angry. They decided that were going to be change itself.

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Palawan Conservation Corps

Creating Change Through: The Six Months Residential Program for Out-of-School Youth

Established in 1999 through the initiative of two Peace Corps volunteers, the Palawan Conservation Corps or PCC is now a non-profit, non-government organization that works to help underprivileged youth who are forced to stop schooling due to poverty, and more often than not, have resorted to earning money through means that are harmful to the environment. The organization works to rear and develop these OSY by teaching them marketable skills in conservation.

Current administrative officer and representative to the TAYO 8 Search, Gerly Camangeg of PCC spoke of a “primary vision of promoting environmental conservation through youth and community empowerment” during her project presentation. With confidence and an eager smile, she explained how staff, alumni volunteers, local government units, other non-government organizations and the private sector all came together in transforming out-of-school youth into productive individuals of society.

What’s the Story?

Every year, youngsters aged 16-24 who are unable to attend formal education due to financial constraints, are invited to join the Six Months Residential Program for Out-of-School Youth. Applicants undergo individual interviews and evaluation. If found qualified, they receive training and participate in workshops free of charge, while housed in an “environmentally appropriate dormitory” at the Rural Agricultural Center for a six-month period.

These scholars of the environment, so to speak, are further trained to facilitate the transfer of skill, significantly expanding the reach of the program. They tackle subjects such as conservation and restoration, organic farming and livestock management, entrepreneurship, arts and crafts, community service, and environmental advocacy.

Palawan Conservation Corps’ allowed out-of-school youth to gain a renewed sense of self by providing them not only the necessary skills to earn their keep but also the ability to teach others to do so. PCC’s active involvement paved the way for dynamism and hope where there were once bleak futures.

Success and Recognition

So far, PCC has instructed over 236 OSY from different rural barangays in Puerto Princesa City. And in 2004, the organization received the Kabalikat Award from the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for its contributions to technical vocational education and training in the country.

In addition to receiving commendation as a TAYO 8 National Finalist, PCC also received a special award along with a 25,000 peso grant from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), for their valuable contribution to poverty alleviation and to empowering the marginalized.

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Nursing Central Board of Students – UST

Creating Change Through: Nursing Nature

Nursing Nature is the advocacy program on environmental awareness, protection, and preservation of the UST Nursing Central Board of Students (NCBS). Launched in June 2008, the school-based program is implemented through a 3-part scheme consisting of Awareness, Action, and Advocacy.

What’s the Story?

The story begins with the initiative of Rachel R. Milante, NCBS Secretary for the 2008-2009 school year. For her, participating in a youth camp in Hua Lien Taiwan changed everything. At the camp, they tackled the issue of global warming— an issue that became close to her heart after having dealt with the severe aftermath of super typhoon Reming in her hometown in Legaspi City. She then spent most of her time thinking of concrete ways to raise awareness on the issue and this lead to the conceptualization of the Nursing Nature project.

NCBS, through a core committee, carried out environmental seminars, held a paper drive and set-up a 5-peso discount scheme on non-use of Styrofoam food containers in the cafeteria. They also took cues from certain approaches they learned in their studies such as preventive care and applied them to pre-emptive projects like waste reduction.

Furthermore, they re-introduced basic concepts in environmental concern by holding popular events such as beauty pageants and pet shows to garner participation of more people. The project gradually expanded from a movement within the College of Nursing to bringing the issue to the UST community and to participating in the Saving Planet Earth Expo and Conference held in TriNoma Mall last April 2010.

From a simple idea to a campus-wide movement, Nursing Nature shows that steps in the right direction, no matter how small, add up to a collective effort.

Recognition and Success

Last December 9, 2010 Nielson Dane Gustilo of the Nursing Central Board Of Students gave a speech in the Malacañan Palace on behalf of the all TAYO 8 participants. He addressed an audience, that included the President of the Philippines, and called on everyone to have faith, to help each other and to be part of the solution. He spoke calmly in Filipino:

“Napag-isa kami ng aming pagmamahal sa kapwa at bayan. Sa komunidad ng TAYO, naramdaman naming hindi kami nag-iisa. May kasama kami sa pakikibaka… Baon namin ang mayayaman na karanasan na natutunan namin sa isa’t-isa. Tunay na panalo na kaming lahat.

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Catuguing Palayamanan 4-H Working Youth Club of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

Vermicomposting is a technology that transforms degradable wastes and manure into high quality organic fertilizer using earthworms. Compost generated from the process reduces the need for pesticide because this method allows nutrients to be readily absorbed by the plant and remain intact in the soil. Such was the vision of the Catuguing Palayamanan 4-H Working Youth Club of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, when members ventured into their Vermicomposting Project.

When Catuguing representative Ric Salviejo started talking about African Nightcrawlers before a panel of judges, no one knew what they were. Not until he explained that these were a species of earthworms used for composting that the puzzled looks went away. Despite his shy demeanor, it was apparent that Ric knew everything about the project by heart from the details of how to breed these earth creatures to the bigger scope of the project’s impact on the community— displaying knowledge that can only be gained from being dedicatedly hands-on.

What’s the Story?

The Catuguing Palayamanan 4-H Working Youth Club’s vermicomposting project started out when 2 members attended a training seminar conducted by the Department of Agriculture at the University Training Center in Batac City. From this, the club set up 3 vermi-beds as assistance from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management came in the form of 1 shredding machine, 2 compost tea brewers and 15 kilograms African Night Crawlers for breeding. The first set of compost material, or vermi-casts, successfully produced was used in the youth club’s Dragon Cactus production and Bio-Intensive Garden projects.

As a favorable outcome, high demand for organic fertilizer now provides stable income for members of the youth club. Farmers in the area are now inclined to use this type of fertilizer instead of buying other brands. In addition to this, the zero waste management program of the community is supported since degradable wastes are collected and utilized in vermicomposting.

Recognition and Success

Proof of their hard work and important contributions, the Catuguing Palayamanan 4-H Working Youth Club has been recognized as an Outstanding Young Farmers Organization on the municipal, provincial and regional levels.

Garnering a 20,000 peso grant as a TAYO 8 national finalist, the youth club also bagged the Gawad Kabataang Agri Pinoy for Luzon. This award given by the Department of Agriculture also comes with a 25,000 peso grant that will be used to further the youth club’s initiatives in their self-sufficiency programs.

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Ateneo Task Force 2010

Ateneo Task Force 2010 or ATF 2010 is a project that was launched through the combined efforts of 3 main organizations within the Ateneo de Manila University— the Sanggunian, Ateneo Residents Association (ARSA), and Council of Organizations of the Ateneo (COA). Spearheaded by the Sanggunian, the project focuses on student/youth involvement during last year’s National Elections.

During the TAYO 8 National Finals, Kenneth Isaiah Abante, then Secretary General of the SANGGUNIAN, explained that ATF 2010 aimed to “break institutional barriers.” When asked to share a quotation for his presentation before a panel judges, she shared one that expressed what their efforts meant— “It’s your country. Your elections. Your time to build the nation.”

What’s the Story?

Preparing for the National Elections served as the main driving force of ATF 2010. Satellite registrations were held in and out the Ateneo while forums were organized to promote voter’s education. Presidential candidates were invited as guest speakers while activities like Wear Your Candidate’s Color Day and mock elections were done to increase awareness and participation. And to strengthen these efforts, exhaustive documentation and surveying were performed for possible future replication or transfer of technology.

Fifty core volunteers guided the project through its four phases, with the 4th and final phase being the Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay Elections. The program was supported by partners like the COMELEC, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), Ayala Young Leaders Assembly, National Youth Commission (NYC) and Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP). As a result, more Ateneans were able to register to vote as well as engage in partisan work campaigning for their chosen candidates. On the day of the elections, they also participated in bantay balota operations and reported anomalies.

Recognition and Success

The idea of involving students in the electoral process is simple but also a multifaceted mammoth task— this was the challenge for the members of the ATF 2010. But they persevered and continue to persevere in the belief that vigilance is not only to engage youth voters known for being apathetic, but to hold elected officials accountable for the promises they made.

As an entry placing as a TAYO 8 National Finalist, ATF 2010 truly embodies the spirit of cooperation, teamwork, and unity. It displays the dynamism of the youth and shatters the image of a generation of apathetic youth.

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Association of Locally Empowered Youth – Northern Mindanao

Creating Change Through: Ecological Sanitation and Rainwater Conservation Project

Clean water and proper sanitation is a common problem in marginal areas here in the Philippines. A common solution, however, is not always as simple when the area of concern is beyond the reach of conventional modes of transportation. But this did not deter the Association of Locally Empowered Youth – Northern Mindanao (ALEY-NM) in taking on the Ecological Sanitation and Rainwater Conservation Project.

Hailing from Misamis Oriental, ALEY observed how the lack of water in upland marginal areas, such as Libertad, Initao and Manticao, make health and sanitation take the back seat. The little water that farmers obtain from far-off creeks isn’t enough for traditional flush toilets, much more for a proper sewage system. For this reason, ALEY members decided to turn things around by building arborloo ecological sanitation toilets; creating EcoPee, which is the collection of urine to be used as fertilizer; and storing rainwater for household use.

Mary Grace Maboloc, ALEY’s representative to the 8th TAYO Search, expressed that seeing the hardship in her community and how families struggle to survive is what pushed her to volunteer and become a member of the organization. She describes her fellow members as “willing to experience new things, motivated, and unstoppable.”

What’s the Story?

ALEY was originally organized by local youth leaders from 8 barrios and a Belgian volunteer. Under the Ecological Sanitation and Rainwater Conservation Project, ALEY has established a seedling nursery, raising 3200 seedlings; and has conducted a vegetable gardening project using EcoPee which translates to 120 home gardens producing an average of 300 grams of vegetables a day.

Furthermore, local families have been successfully oriented to the use of the arborloo toilets. Simply put, arborloo toilets are makeshift portalets designed and strategically positioned to fit the needs of families in the area. Hitting two birds with one stone, this simple yet innovative technique solves the problem of waste disposal for the environment as well teaches the families the value of hygiene to one’s health.

By means ofs “farm, non-farm, and off-farm livelihood projects, training, and networking activities”, ALEY members were able to educate stakeholders on proper hygiene, recycling, and water conservation while adapting to the needs of the community. They showed that, with sufficient research and the right attitude, there isn’t a problem too difficult to take on.

Recognition and Success

ALEY’s hard work does not go unnoticed. Besides besting more than a hundred other contenders as a TAYO 8 National Finalist,  the organization is also the recipient of the Gawad Kabataang Agri Pinoy, along with 25,000 pesos, awarded by the Department of Agriculture for their innovative and self-sufficient project on food security.

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