What if you could do something to solve real community problems? Through Project Citizen, high school students are doing just that.
Through an international program implemented in select high schools nationwide by the Philippine Center of Civic Education (PCCED), Filipino students are learning what it means to be an active citizen by being part of and creating real solutions to community issues and problems. Project Citizen is a program which trains high school students to seek public policy interventions in solving community problems. With the aim to transform the youth as effective and active citizens, the program also trains teachers on understanding public policy, effective research and communication strategies, and Project Citizen methodology.
In the Philippines, Project Citizen was rolled out in several areas nationwide in 2012: Batangas, Benguet, Davao, Zamboanga, Bicol, National Capital Region (NCR), and Bohol. Globe Telecom supported its Batangas run and the National Showcase held last April 13.
Eight teams composed of enthusiastic students from all over the country traveled to Manila for the National Showcase, flaunting their Project Citizen portfolios with some projects already awaiting discussions on the possibility of becoming actual barangay and city ordinances.
“Our policy proposal is pending a public hearing with the city government. Noong una, ang goal kasi namin ay makagawa lang ng project. Hindi naming akalain na yung ginawa namin matatanggap sa barangay, pero pati sa city level, tinanggap,” shared Rickly Kamille Baldoza, 15, of Muntinlupa City National High School. Baldoza added, “We were also awarded ‘Best in Research’ during the NCR showcase.”
Muntinlupa City National High School’s project portfolio showcased a policy proposal to address the rising number of students spending time in computer shops in Brgy. Poblacion during school hours.
The National Showcase also highlighted community issues such as the hazardous canals. The students from Regional Science High School of Region IX proposed a water clean-up drive in their community which is also being considered by their barangay as a policy.
But more than producing policy proposals which can be turned into actual ordinances, Project Citizen is a transformative program which empowers the youth to collaborate and contribute to a better community and a more efficient government.
“Nung na-practice na namin yung Project Citizen, dun ko nakita yung essence ng teamwork. If you want change, you can’t do it alone. In order to create change, you have to have teamwork and collaboration. Eto yung pinaka-importanteng lesson na natutunan ko,” shared 16-year old Nehemia Fajardo of Zamboanga.
All eight teams represented the best projects in their respective provinces and the Tanauan School of Fisheries took the plum prize in the recently-held National Showcase at the University of Makati. The Batangas team bested the other national representatives and were evaluated by a panel based on their understanding of the problem, analysis of alternative policies, public policy development and implementation of their action plan. The panel of judges for the National Showcase included Leon G. Flores, Chair of the National Youth Commission; Dr. Yolanda C. Quijano, former Department of Education Undersecretary; Ms. Zen Dimalanta, program director for E-Media of ABS-CBN Foundation; Dr. Ferdinand Pingul, Professor at University of Asia and the Pacific and PCCED Board Member, and Mr. Rob Nazal, CSR Head of Globe Telecom.
“Globe is continuously working hand in hand with partners and organizations who share the same advocacy of inspired and responsive local governance. Through our partnership with PCCED, we hope to transform students to become the country’s next generation of leaders through Project Citizen,” said Yoly Crisanto, Head of Globe Corporate Communications.
Project Citizen is one of the Globe-supported projects which champions active citizenship as an integral part of good governance, one of the advocacies of the corporate social responsibility arm of Globe Telecom.