Youth Leadership and Governance Program diffuses to barangays

As part of the youth week celebration last August 9, Carmela M. Constantino, Municipal Sangguniang Kabataan Federation (MSKF) President of Malungon, Sarangani, spearheaded the rollout of the Barangay Youth Leadership and Governance Program (BYLGP) in five barangays in Malungon, where high incidence of teenage pregnancies persists.

Encouraged by the participants’ enthusiasm for change, Constantino said she will implement the program in 31 more barangays. “I appreciate the young people for co-owning the responsibility of addressing our problem of having high teenage pregnancies,” she said.

BYLGP is the scale-up program of the Zuellig Family Foundation’s Youth Leadership and Governance Program (YLGP), which started in 2019 and will be closing out with a colloquium in November 2022. While YLGP focused on youth leaders at the municipal level, BYLGP aims to capacitate youth leaders at the barangay level to help them create programs to prevent adolescent pregnancies and promote adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights (ASRHR).

Youth leaders under YLGP, including Constantino, were trained on coaching and facilitation to help them pilot-test, roll out, and provide coaching and mentoring during the implementation of BYLGP.

Piloting BYLG occurred between July and August 2022 in 18 barangays that had the highest cases of adolescent pregnancies. These barangays are in the municipalities of Malungon, Kalamansig in Sultan Kudarat, and Piagapo, Taraka and Kapatagan in Lanao del Sur.

A total of 100 participants underwent program design and leadership training and deep dives (immersions). They came up with 25 behavior-centered programs, which will be implemented by November this year. The programs are expected to get the support of stakeholders, including traditional and religious leaders and parents in reducing teenage pregnancies and early marriages.

Lance Neil Caberte, MSKF President of Kalamansig, said that together with the newly-trained barangay youth leaders: “We will convene the Katipunan ng mga Kabataan in September to diffuse BYLGP learnings and innovations, and co-create our Linggo ng Kabataan program.”

For Saidaliah C. Ayonan, MSKF Secretary of Piagapo, “BYLGP is an opportunity for other youth leaders to appreciate what we have been doing in YLGP, and for them to also undergo the same experience and be encouraged to look deeper into the complex issues of teenage pregnancy and early marriage.”

“BYLGP allows us to create spaces to let the voices of the youth be heard,” said Muhammad Rasdam Usodan, MSKF President of Taraka.

Moreover, the youth is not only heard but also appreciated. “Our SK and Local Youth Development councils recognize the contributions of the BYLGP-trained leaders in co-creating ASRHR programs,” said Faroc Palawan, MSKF President of Kapatagan.

(Published on August 31, 2022)