The US government, through the US Embassy in the Philippines United States Agency for International Development (USAid) is helping improve the reading skills of more than 420,000 students between kindergarten and grade three in the Province of Cebu and Mandaue City. This assistance is implemented in partnership with the Department of Education in Cebu’s more than 900 elementary schools through Basa Pilipinas, USAid’s P1.9 billion flagship basic education project.
“The US government continues to support the Department of Education’s commitment to advance the quality of education in the Philippines, so that every child has the best chance for success in life,” USAid mission director Susan Brems said during her visit to Vito Elementary School in Cebu’s Minglanilla District on August 9.
Through Basa Pilipinas, USAid has strengthened the reading skills of more than 1.8 million students from kindergarten through grade three, helped train more than 19,000 teachers and school heads, and provided more than 8 million copies of teacher guides, student workbooks, and other education aids.
“We do this with the shared belief that developing children’s reading skills during their formative years of schooling will give them the foundation for lifelong learning and academic success,” Brems remarked. She later met with provincial officials to further strengthen the partnership between USAid and local basic education partners.
From August 9 to 11, Brems visited other USAid projects sites, including the Hall of Justice in Cebu City, where USAid helped install eCourt systems in 22 Regional Trial Courts and eight Municipal Trial Court branches in 2015. The eCourt system automates key functions of the court, improving efficiency and increasing the effectiveness and transparency of case management. Court staff and judges demonstrated to Brems how they can better record case information, monitor case flow, and provide public access to the status of cases.
Continuing her visit to key project sites in Cebu, Brems visited the Teen Dreamers’ Home, a USAid-supported residential care facility for sexually exploited children. In Cebu, USAid partners with Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors, Inc., Children’s Legal Bureau, and Bidlisiw Foundation, Inc. to address human trafficking.
Brems later traveled to Mandaue City, where USAid is helping the city finalize its Green Building Code. She met with city officials, led by Mayor Luigi Quisumbing, and discussed how key measures, such as incentives to stimulate investment for green building, support the city’s work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Capping her visit to the Visayan province, Brems met with partners who are advancing health priorities in their respective communities, including a visit to Glory Reborn clinic, a private birthing facility, to interact with USAid-trained health workers who are providing services to marginalized women. She later met with leaders from the Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of Saint Arnold Janssen to discuss how faith-based organizations help promote TB awareness and education.