Student leaders from various Benguet universities may be busy working on their diploma yet they are also embarking on various environmental and livelihood projects designed to benefit their respective communities.
Projects include the construction of trellised greenhouse, creation of environment-friendly water bottles, learning innovative ways to recycle plastic materials, livelihood management training, and establishment of hand-woven product outlet.
They are the result of the Leadership Communities (LeadCom) program of the Ayala Foundation Inc. (AFI) in cooperation with Globe Telecom and youth-oriented nongovernment organization Active Aid Partnerships. Select students from universities in Benguet were chosen to participate in a three-day workshop to develop, inspire, empower and nurture them into becoming future leaders of the country.
Benguet is one of the Communities of Practice (CoPs) of Globe, the company’s way of giving back to the community where it operates. CoP brings together various advocacies and initiatives of Globe delivered through partnerships with community-based nongovernment organizations, barangay leaders and youth beneficiaries.
“Globe is committed to helping transform the youth into future leaders. We believe that our youth possess the creativity and energy to bring change in their respective communities. So we expect that through these activities, students would be encouraged and equipped to become servant leaders which the country could be proud of,” said Yoly Crisanto, head of Globe Corporate Communications.
At the end of the workshop, LeadCom participants were tasked to translate their leadership learnings into project proposals, which will benefit their chosen community or school. Small grants were given to leadership teams to help them mobilize, plan and implement their project.
From the University of the Cordilleras, students built a weather-barrier and structurally-sound greenhouse within the context of organic farming to protect crops from erratic climate change, with the hope of encouraging other farmers to practice, maintain and sustain organic farming.
On the other hand, University of Baguio students are offering environmental friendly water bottles to minimize the use of plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups. The student leaders are also conducting a massive information dissemination campaign to inform the academic community about the initiative.
Similar to what UB is doing, Benguet State University-Buguias Campus students are focusing on skill building among alternative learning system students, barangay women’s association, and community residents to find innovative ways of recycling plastic materials. It also involves an information campaign to create awareness on how community members could creatively lessen their plastic wastes without burning them.
Meanwhile, students from Benguet State University (BSU)-Main Campus decided to give their attention to livelihood projects. Indigent students of the university are given the opportunity to earn extra funds for their financial needs by establishing a partnership with Kabayan which is behind the handwoven products sold within the Cordilleras. The plan is to provide a product outlet within the locality to address unnecessary capital outlay while at the same time prevent overpricing. The end-goal is to attract more buyers that will eventually bring about better return on investment.
At the same time, BSU is training high school student leaders on livelihood project management to enable them to implement income-generating projects for their school. They are also being encouraged to utilize readily available raw materials in La Trinidad, Benguet in promoting micro-entrepreneurship.