The US Agency for International Development/Philippines has awarded US$4.2 million (P231 million) to a multi-sectoral program that seeks to improve the quality of education and enhance the life and employment skills of young Filipinos in Mindanao.
The program, Education and Livelihood Skills Alliance (ELSA), is a three-year initiative of the International Youth Foundation (IYF) in cooperation with an alliance of Filipino non-government organizations, foundations, and private corporations. The USAID grant has been earmarked for project components of ELSA in support of the Department of Education and the local government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In addition to addressing the educational and job training needs of out-of school youth, ELSA partners will provide teacher training, improve school infrastructure, enhance opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, and assist national and local government officials in implementing education policy reform. The program will benefit the ARMM provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Suli, Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur as well as the Zamboanga peninsula, Lanao del Norte, Cotabato City, Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sarangani.
“There is a need to present a range of opportunities to help young people in Mindanao develop skills needed to become more active participants in a productive economy,” said Michael Yates, USAID/Philippines mission director. “This program will support local initiatives and build on the considerable local expertise and experience we are so fortunate to have in the Philippines.”
ELSA builds on IYF’s nearly 15 years experience working on development challenges related to children and youth in the Philippines, in close partnership with key local organizations. The alliance created through the ELSA program includes the following partners:
1. Ayala Foundation will develop a leadership training program that will encourage high school youth to implement community projects and participate in learning sessions and interfaith dialogues.
2. Consuelo Foundation will provide non-formal basic and technical education to out-of-school youth.
3. Petron Foundation and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) will construct or repair 87 classrooms and provide equipment and facilities to target schools as well as educational assistance, teacher training, and health and nutrition programs.
4. South East Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH) will help improve the learning skills of students and instructional skills of teachers using technology-based learning strategies.
With the support of IYF and through collaboration with Mindanao based organizations, these key partners will develop and implement sustainable partnerships to increase access to quality education and livelihood skills. These programs will result in the increase of community-based learning opportunities, reintegration of out-of-school youth, expansion of teacher capabilities in the areas of Math, Science, and English, and school reform within the Mindanao region.
“IYF recognizes that multi-stakeholder partnerships have a greater impact in bringing about long-term improvements in young people’s lives,” said David W. Hornbeck, president and CEO of IYF. “With ELSA, we have established a strong core Alliance that will continue to address the education and livelihood challenges that affect this region.”
The ELSA initiative also builds on IYF’s leadership over the past two years in collaborating with global, regional and local partners, including the Ayala Foundation and SEAMEO INNOTECH, to design and implement the successful Bridgeit program. Known as text2teach in the Philippines, this program is an initiative of IYF, Nokia, United Nations Development Programme, Pearson, and the Philippines Department of Education that employs the use of new technologies to improve the quality of teaching in learning in the Philippines.
About the International Youth Foundation
The International Youth Foundation (IYF) is dedicated to supporting programs that improve the conditions and prospects for young people where they live, learn, work, and play. Since its founding in 1990, IYF has worked with hundreds of companies, foundations, and non-governmental organizations to scale up existing programs and build long-term strategic partnerships. Currently operating in more than 60 countries and territories, IYF and its partners have helped millions of young people gain the skills, training and opportunities critical to their success. More information on IYF can be found at www.iyfnet.org.
Philippines USAID assists Philippine partners in five areas: economic reform and governance; conflict resolution in Mindanao and other areas vulnerable to violence; family planning, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases; environmental governance and energy; and access to quality education. USAID/Philippines also responds to humanitarian emergencies such as natural disasters. Over the past several years, USAID bilateral and other assistance to the Philippines has averaged $90 million per year. About 60 percent of the bilateral program is allocated to Mindanao.