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Positive Youth Development Network

Last week I attended a couple of consultation meetings about how we can better engage young people on various issues, and almost in all episodes they pointed out gaps in engaging youth orgs and SK councils. When the topic boils down to participation for example expected responses will be along the following lines: “Gawain ng SK ‘yan,” “Dapat ginagawa ng SK ‘yan”, “We can tap your orgs to do it,” “Let the young generation do it,” etc. While this may sound encouraging to some, it can be overwhelming and sometimes even insulting to others who are already doing a lot.

I remembered clearly the question of a girl in one of our focus group discussions about climate change. She asked “Where are the adults in this conversation? Why do we feel that they abandoned us in this fight? Why are they not with us?” While I am clearly aware of what adults are actually doing about the issue, the fact that young people don’t feel our presence is something we should think about.

I believe that while we are rightfully expecting great things from our youth it is just right for us to reflect on what we are actually investing in them. It is unfair for us to expect so much output without looking into the value of our inputs. From what we are learning almost half of all SKs can’t even still fully utilize the allocated funds for them, a good number can’t even convene a quorum due to the lack of officers. Most youth organizations are still grappling with where they're going to get enough resources to sustain their advocacies, where they can get additional training, or when they are going to get proper support from institutions with whom they want to work with.

At PYDN we are a strong advocate of intergenerational collaborations. Where adults and leaders can tap on the energy, creativity, and boldness of the youth, and youth can hear the wisdom and get material and moral support from adults. The problems that we are facing right now are just huge and require all of us to work together, #StrongerTogether. So if you are a youth, don’t be afraid -engage and demand from adults. If you are an adult, have a youthful heart and support the youth who are trying to make a difference in whatever means you can.

Investing in the youth is a wise and worthy engagement. In our running Social Return of Investment (SROI) monitoring, we are seeing that in every peso invested in a youth group, they are returning it four times. So practically speaking, it is really worth the money. But more than that, cliche as it may sound- the truth remains that our investment in our youth today, is our investment for a better Philippines tomorrow.

For the Filipino youth,

Alfred O. Dicto Executive Director and Chief Purpose Keeper Positive Youth Development Network, Inc.


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