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.