Engaging the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) in the Life Skills Education

Code:    07-065
Date:    01/01/2007 - 12/30/2008

The project was in response to a self defined need by young people which surfaced during the Mindanao Young Peoples’ Summit for Peace and Development held in 2004 – how to improve their capacities in their role as future parents. It aimed to impart knowledge and skills on adolescent sexuality and reproductive health (ASRH); responsible parenthood and citizenship; and stewardship of the environment through actual projects implemented by the youth; and to tap the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) structure and resources.

In Pikit, Cotabato, 7 barangays were targeted by Balay.  They trained Christian and Muslim youth on how to manage SK funds for ASRH and community-based environment programs.  Using the "Appreciative Inquiry in Community Mobilization" approach, the SK in the pilot communities dialogued with the 7 barangay councils on issues afflicting the youth.  This process helped unlock the 10 percent funds from the LGU budget to support youth projects.  Consequently, there were about 505 youth from the barangays who benefited in various training and seminars (e.g., child-and-parent encounter, life skills, organic farming, leadership, advocacy and resource mobilization, and SK lecture series on governance), and activities (e.g., watershed reforestation and monthly clean-up drive).  A manual on Life Skills Education for the Young that incorporates modules on human rights-based approach, environment, RH, and governance of SK (which are vital for program sustainability), was pre-tested and finalized.

However, the recent military operations in Cotabato have affected all the project barangays. Although majority of the displaced youth and their families have returned to their respective barangays, the situation remains precarious.  Youth activities such as clean-up drives, collection and sale of bottles, and vegetable gardening continue to be conducted, but are limited to the relatively safe areas. A consultation among the youth leaders was held to ventilate their feelings and ideas on what has happened as part of the healing process.  

With all these developments, the project has demonstrated that the youth can be empowered leaders of their community.