Pep Talk by Dante Corteza ZABIDA and USAID’s MYDev program – will it work? Let’s see the results PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 June 2014 00:00

As far as I am concern and to my knowledge, there are many advocates, programs and activities geared already towards out-of-school youths by government agencies, NGOs, and private sectors these past years. And I wondered how many of these good and noble activities have really created an impact or have resulted to what it has intended to be. Many money and efforts have been wasted.

What I have noticed statistically there seems to be an increasing number of youth especially from poor families getting into troubles nowadays. There are only few who are able to really rise from their poverty, became successful, and an inspiration to others.  I dread more for the youths from far-flung barrios and in our neighboring islands like Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. They are easily being target and recruited to join rebel groups or worse become bandits fighting without a cause.  

So when Fr. Angel Calvo president of ZABIDA (Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance) asked me to feature the  launching of the  Mindanao Youth Development Program (MyDev) last  Monday, June 9, at Centro Latino , I am happy to do it. Imagine, the 300 plus out-of-school youths who attended it will become good citizens and successful in their lives someday. It is something that we can praise God and thank ZABIDA and the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) for initiating this program.

I was not able to attend the event but I learned that the program will give the attendees opportunities to continue their education through basic literacy and skills training. The MYDEV program will consist of 3-pronged approaches.  These are the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education for high school dropouts aged between 15-24 years old, values training in peace education, and TESDA vocational training courses for employment or to start a micro-business.

USAID will give the funding while ZABIDA and host barangays will provide counterpart supports like classroom spaces, administrative chores, and expert support. Other supporters of this program are the City Government of Zamboanga, Task Force Zamboanga, and Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (I wonder what's the contribution of the TFZ.)

In his message, Fr. Angel hailed the program’s multi-sectoral partnership. He said the partnership engenders a cooperation amongst them that is indispensable to the success of anti-poverty projects like MYDEV. The cooperation ensures the delivery of comprehensive services and resources the beneficiaries would need to achieve a fundamental and meaningful change in the lives of the youths and their families.

Zamboanga chamber president Edwin To, one of the speakers, urged the youth learners to take full advantage of this opportunity to get an education and learn livelihood skills. Like EDC Youth Development Specialist Robinson Wee, I also believe the out of school youths can be developed to become effective, good leaders of their communities. Same time, I wish and pray that all our local businesses can comply with the minimum wage law salary or give more benefits so at least the parents of some or if not the majority of these youths will earn decently enough to support the family needs.

Will MYDEV trainings be implemented effectively?  I will wait for the results.  I hope there will be a reunion next year, same date, and same place of the attendees, and let’s see if this program had worked.

"If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth."  Numbers 30:2 ESV