|Bridging Leadership in Mindanao for Cultural and Environmental Stability|
|Wednesday, 25 August 2010|
A key learning for ESSC as it continues to work in Mindanao is the need to engage with the youth, especially young adults in lumad  communities, if stability and sustainability are to be sought for their cultures, their environment, and their resources.
This is a strategic sectoral shift, even as efforts are continued and sustained with upland communities and local governments in natural resource management.
With support from Misereor , ESSC is exploring a three-year work activity titled Bridging Leadership in Mindanao (BLM) in three selected areas in Mindanao, engaging with its indigenous communities in the nurturing of the next generation of leaders. The framework for this BLM project is anchored in the goal to nurture this new generation into becoming Mindanao leaders grounded on their indigenous culture while finding equity and meaning in engaging with a global culture.
In particular, the key areas for engagement for this project are:
The impact of marginalization in most lumad communities, manifested in their dissociation from social and economic decisions on their lands, resources, and livelihoods, need not be transferred to the next generation.
While there is a general acknowledgement that the youth are critical key agents for social change in a community, most youth in lumad communities in Mindanao do not have the same level of access to information, education, and training compared with other young Filipinos.
The lumad youth such as the Pulangiyen, Teduray, Mamanwa, and Manobo youth need a response from broader Philippine society not just for them to catch up with their mainstream counterparts, but to prepare them for leadership and broader responsibilities in their own cultures.
ESSC's many years of experience in providing culture based education for the children of Upper Pulangi through the Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center recognize this need to accompany the same children, now the youth, and prepare them to take on community leadership, given the many challenges and changes they face.
These include adapting to the global culture that affect all aspects of life, the continued safeguarding and stewardship of the forest blocks within their ancestral domain, and minimizing the possibilities to join armed groups as an option to survive.
Two levels of BLM intervention
The BLM initiative takes place at two levels. The first is in bridging the increasing gap between current set of leaders or elders and the youth by empowering not just the current leaders, but more strategically the youth who will take over the leadersip in 10 to 15 years. They need to be prepared through parallel activities with the community leaders with levels of dialogue.
At the second level, interaction and engagements with other youth groups in Mindanao will provide a broader context for these lumad youth in understanding their situation beyond their communities.
With these, the BLM project intends to develop among lumad youth the following:
BLM Work Programs
Hulas is a Pulangiyen word for training and where formation programs for 150 selected Pulangiyen youth will be run in the next three years. Topics include cultural identity strengthening, leadership skills, environmental stewardship, culture of peace, state laws, policies and programs affecting the community, and technical skills will be included.
Annual Youth Summits will gather 100 youth members each year to provide a venue to share ideas, thoughts and experiences. The summit aims to foster understanding among the participants and help them develop wider perspectives of their situation and concerns and that of their peers.
Student Immersions and Internships will provide a venue for youth leaders and students from urban areas to link with situations in rural communities and for lumad and non-lumad youth to engage in dialogue. Three universities (Xavier University, Central Mindanao University and Bukidnon State University) are potential partners who can send their students as interns and undertake immersion visits.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 December 2010 )|