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Friday, August 14, 2020

Youth Redesigns a Resilient and Sustainable Future for their City



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World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines staff trains students to think about sustainability back in December of 2018. The Education for Sustainable Development framework trains students to be young leaders for the environment.

Just in time for this year’s International Youth Day and amidst the ongoing pandemic, selected Quezon City high school students and Alternative Learning System (ALS) learners have released their final vision statement detailing their dreams and aspirations for a more inclusive, healthier and livable future for their home city.

A total of 293 youths from Balingasa High School, Judge Feliciano Belmonte Sr. High School, Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma Senior High School, and the Alternative Learning System who are participants of the Our City 2030: Youth Visions and Solutions project helped conceptualize their own vision for Quezon City by the year 2030. Inputs from two batches of students and learners from 2018 up to present were gathered and consolidated through a series of workshops



ALS learners arrange their concerns with Quezon City in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals during a workshop held in March 2019. The Our City 2030: Youth Visions and Solutions project seeks to have students contribute to the sustainable development of their home city. Photograph © Debby Sy / WWF-Philippines

Focusing on youth and the city, visioning workshops were held last December 2018, March 2019 and February 2020, with a final online series in July of 2020. These included interactive lectures, group activities, and individual reflections. Through these activities, the participants’ perception of the interest, identity, and issues of the youth were identified. They were also asked to assess and rate the status of Quezon City on its life, work, and play dimensions, which were later paralleled to the pillars of sustainable development – people, progress, and the planet.

"If I can describe this visioning workshop in one word, it will be 'new'. Almost all of the things I experienced there were new—new learning,” said Kian D. Canapit, a student participant, on his experiences with the Our City 2030 project.

The workshops also aimed to broaden their knowledge on Climate Change, Sustainable Development Goals, Disaster Risk Reduction, and the 1.5C Global Warming. It also introduced the concept of ESD or the Education for Sustainable Development to help in developing the skills, knowledge, attributes, and values of the youth.

The Our City 2030 project team joins students and educators for an online visioning workshop, held in July 2020. Due to the restrictions set in place to combat the pandemic, the vision statement was formed through online meetings. Parental/Guardian consents were asked before the training was conducted. Photograph © MK Amador / Plan International Philippines

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the youth is considered one of the vulnerable sectors but they can also be mobilized to respond to these kinds of risks. That is why the project team from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines and Plan International Philippines continue to engage the youth participants virtually through various webinars and online training.

Part of the discussion on their recently concluded 4-day virtual training last July 2020 was the youth’s vulnerabilities to disasters and other risks. Participating students were also provided with a platform to share their observations and experiences on how their school administration, community officials, and city government respond to the current health crisis. From these learnings and discussion, a vision and roadmap/action plan were then produced towards the end of the online series.

Incorporating these outputs into the vision of the previous batch, the youth group devised an updated vision statement summarizing their concerns, priorities, and aspirations for the future of a “new” Quezon City:



“Kami ay nangangarap ng isang bagong Quezon City na maayos, maunlad at mapayapa, na pinamumunuan ng pamahalaang tapat sa tungkulin, may malasakit at pinahahalagahan ang boses ng kabataan; kung saan ang mga mamamayan ay may respeto, disiplina, pagkakaisa, pagtutulungan at lahat ay malayang natatamasa ang malinis na kapaligiran, maaasahang serbisyong pangkalusugan, epektibong sistema ng transportasyon, ligtas na pamayanan, sapat na pampublikong pabahay, matatag na kabuhayan at napapanahong teknolohiya na makakapagbigay ng makabuluhang impormasyon at makakatuwang sa kalidad na edukasyon pagdating ng 2030.”

As the Our City 2030 project enters its third year, it strives for this vision to be recognized by the city government and for the action plans of these young people to be included in the future plans of Quezon City. At the same time, the project continues to find larger platforms for the youth to speak out and inspire others to be involved in the planning for the future of their home city. Support WWF-Philippines, and help us #ChangeTheEnding as we build a sustainable future for all.

*Written with the help of the student facilitators of the Our City 2030 project.

Photograph © Alo Lantin / WWF-Philippines

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