The entire AdZU-SUGPAT team flew to Manila last October 10 and 11 to help co-organize the Galing Pook Governance Fair 2018 with the theme “#BagoTayo: Youth in Innovative Governance” at the Novotel Araneta Center, Quezon City.
This year’s theme, Youth in Innovative Governance, is using #BagoTayo as its battlecry. Guided by the collective goal of inspiring the newly elected Sangguniang Kabataan officials to practice innovative good governance, organizers prepared activities and sessions highlighting best practices around the country.
“It has always been SUGPAT’s thrust to empower the youth both in terms of innovation and local governance so this opportunity with Galing Pook is the ideal platform to expand our mission not only in Zamboanga City and Western Mindanao but to the national landscape as well,” SUGPAT Program Director Kiko Miranda said.
Being an active partner of UNICEF Philippines, SUGPAT was tapped alongside Ideas Positive, the premiere youth engagement platform of UNILAB foundation, and Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) Pilipinas to develop the program that catered to about 300 Sangguniang Kabataan Officials and Youth Leaders from all over the country.
Miranda continued: “There is real value in expanding partnerships in development work with like-minded organizations such as Y-PEER and Ideas Positive to complement mission especially because our work involves something as important as the youth engagement.”
This is SUGPAT’s second national event following the Bilib Ako Adolescent Forum organized with the Department of Education in April this year.
“SUGPAT has been UNICEF’s partner since 2015. Time and time again, the team has proven that it could take on different roles, no matter how challenging it may seem,” Emee Lei Valdehuesa, UNICEF Philippines’ Adolescent & HIV Officer, said.
Valdehuesa added that along with other youth-led organizations whom SUGPAT has never worked with before, they nonetheless “fitted like pieces of a puzzle” to make the event successful.
“I am honoured and humbled at how they would acknowledge the strength of other organizations in making sure that the forum is delivered the best way possible,” she said.
During the two-day event, youth participants not only learned about the best projects and programs from different Local Government Units all over the nation, but developed projects themselves using the principles of human-centered design.
“Human-centered design will help our leaders develop programs that are responsive to the pressing needs of their community with consideration to the resources available, community dynamics, and existing culture of their community,” Ideas Positive Project Lead Alfred Dicto explained, “we want our new SKs to think of the needs first rather than adopting old-school templated programs.”
During their project exposition workshop, SK Officials and youth leaders grouped together and identified problems within their respective clusters: education, environment, peace and security, civic engagement, health and nutrition, and social inclusion. They then developed an array of solutions which were exhibited in a gallery walk around the workshop venue.
The innovation forum ended with a symbolic flying of paper airplanes inscribed with the commitment of the participants for their respective communities and for the country.
Valdehuesa expressed her sentiments: “I’m sure the participants were thrilled by the fact that each of them was given the opportunity to decide on and design their own commitments and were given the platforms to start on equal footing.”
The governance fair is an annual event organized by Galing Pook Foundation to recognize efforts of local government units and its officials who demonstrated good governance through various programs for their communities.
The event is supported by UNICEF Philippines and co-organized by: Department of Interior and Local Governance, Office of the Cabinet Secretary, National Youth Commission, Local Government Academy, SUGPAT, Y-PEER Pilipinas, Ideas Positive, and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
TEXT BY: Val Amiel Vestil
PHOTOS BY: Shekinah Benitez