Inspiring young change-makers in the Philippines

International Alert has trained vulnerable young people in the Philippines to address the everyday challenges they face and become more effective leaders in their communities.

The eight-day training took place last November and involved 28 youth leaders from Metro Manila and Mindanao, where young people often feel excluded from social and political life and face widespread discrimination and unemployment. If left unaddressed, these can deepen grievances and make them a target for recruitment by extremist groups.

Young people can play an active role in inspiring development and peaceful change in their communities. Our training tapped into this potential by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to analyse and address the problems they face. In particular, we improved their understanding of the causes of crime, violence and instability, including the everyday threats posed by informal or ‘shadow’ economies (e.g. trafficking of drugs, guns and people) in the Philippines.

We developed the bespoke training course with our partners at the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute. The young people who took part were aged 18-35 and came from a range of backgrounds, including schools, academia, government, civil society and different indigenous peoples groups.

Over the eight days, they came up with a number of ‘change projects’ – concrete action plans and solutions for tackling specific issues and threats in their communities. These plans focus mainly on three themes: strengthening youth empowerment and participation, promoting inclusion and cultural sensitivity through online and offline campaigns, and mainstreaming peaceful narratives as an alternative to violence.

All the projects, which will be implemented from February, draw from the new tools and lessons learned from the training.

Find out more about our work in the Philippines.