Youth take part in promoting peace in Marawi
At least 25 student leaders and school advisers from four schools in Marawi City gathered for the Empowering Children as Peacebuilders (ECAP) training of trainers last May 5 to 11, 2018. The activity was led by World Vision, in coordination with the Department of Education, Education cluster and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP).
“This initiative is in response to the adolescent and youth education forum which showed that the top three needs of the youth are education, livelihood and peace-building initiatives. We have integrated these three sectors in our response programming in Marawi City,” shared World Vision national director Rommel Fuerte. “I would like to reaffirm World Vision’s commitment to furthering the advocacy on peace-building among children and youth.”
From the past forum initiated by the Education cluster, it was discussed that based on the learners’ tracking data, the number of out-of-school youths had increased by 579% in school year 2017-2018. Young people are likely to become more prone to the recruitment of groups that promote extremism and violence. A separate child protection rapid assessment conducted by the Joint Regional Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence Working Group last October 2017 also showed that 24% of the assessed sites reported that girls have allegedly joined armed groups.
18-year-old Alex, one of the student leaders who participated in the ECAP training, recalled an alarming fact at the height of the Marawi fighting. “We were running for our lives during the exchange of gunfires. I saw that several of the armed group members were youth. If the concept of peace can be inculcated in us at an early age, that incident can be avoided.”
Children empowering children
The five-day learning activity was facilitated by World Vision-trained child leaders from Misamis Occidental.
“I was nervous when I was first asked to help facilitate this training. At the same time, I felt excited to help my fellow children affected by the armed conflict in Marawi,”shared Christian, 14.
The child facilitators were able to share their experiences in advocating for peace across Mindanao. Sessions on how to empower other children and youth as agents of transformed relationships and peace advocates in their family, peers & community were also tackled.
Participants from the training, with ample guidance from their Supreme Student Government advisers, are expected to echo their learnings to their respective schools and peers.
“I look forward to sharing what I learned to other students in Marawi. It was encouraging to have our fellow children facilitate the training for us because if they did it, we can also do it. It also made me realize that we can help one another regardless of our differences,” shared 16-year-old Kyla, another ECAP student leader participant. “Child facilitators are a testament that investing on peace and on the young generation is never a waste of resources,” said Hermie Carillo, World Vision’s peacebuilding specialist. Carillo looks forward to have at least 21 trained students to be part of World Vision’s pool of trained ECAP child facilitators in Marawi.
World Vision/May 16, 2018
World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.