“Connected young peace influencers across Mindanao.”
This is one of the many outcomes of the Mindanao-wide Tech Camp program that Equal Access International (EAI) is implementing in the Philippines. This became more evident when the twelve (12) Tech Camp alumni under the Kabataang Payapa Network (KPN) started their re-echo activities in March 2021.
Noting the importance of collaboration, EAI encourages Tech Camp Alumni to work together and tap on each other’s potential in order to complement their respective organizational and personal advocacies. Under the Communities and Schools Leading in the Fight Terrorism (CS-LIFT) project, the 12 Tech Camp graduates from the December 2020 batch and the newest addition of the growing EAI alumni community, took an opportunity to re-echo their Tech Camp learnings in their own communities.
Joemar Asan, one of KPN core members recently held a re-echo in his Basilan hometown where he was joined by other Tech Camp alumni, Mush-abulkhayr Ahmad (OURmindaNOW Tech Camp Batch 1) and Nushaiva Basri (Up2Youth Tech Camp Batch 1), who served as facilitators and speakers during the implementation. “I was very happy working with my co-alum from the other batches. We were able to share our experiences in leadership, and I also learned a lot from them. We used each other’s strengths to achieve the objectives of our re-echo,” Joemar shared.
Joemar added that they gave support to their fellow Basileño, Tech Camp alumnus and fellow KPN core member Adzrie Jalil, who conducted his re-echo in a separate venue.
KPN as a knowledge-sharing, collaboration platform for young peace advocates
The Tech Camp re-echo activities conducted by KPN core members from the 12 communities in Mindanao are just a start for a broader and connected peace movements.
Datu Raid Salik, an alumnus of the OMN Batch 2 Tech Camp, who was tapped as a speaker during a re-echo in Cotabato City organized by KPN core Johana Kamir, shared his insights from the recent event.
“The KPN session was participated by youth leaders from different organizations. Their diverse backgrounds shaped the session into an insightful discussion and resulted in comprehensive outputs. Perhaps their unique experiences on various milestones brought meaningful impact to the session through knowledge-sharing and exploring best practices that re-affirmed their commitment in pushing forward for advocacy,” Datu Raid shared.
This also holds true to what the KPN core member in Marawi City, Hana Yusoph, has to say during her first re-echo activity. She likened the opportunity as goods bought in the market.
“If peace and sanity were for sale, I am sure there would be many young peace influencers in our area buying their shares. The beauty of the Mindanaoan youth today, is that they are active in playing their roles as promoters for peace. We just need to establish a win-win partnership or collaboration among youth sectors, and that’s what exactly our KPN would like to do,” Hana said.
Hana’s re-echo activity which was attended by select youth from the different municipalities in Lanao, gave her a timely realization of how the young people are eager to act their part in shaping their communities.
“Opportunity and a platform to do so is what the KPN is. We are giving (them) the chance to connect and learn peace,” she added.
Strengthening EAI Alumni community collaboration
Gathering young individuals in one insightful event such as the Tech Camp gives a way of cultivating new collaborations in the future, as they continue to work in their respective advocacies. That even after the Tech Camp, they stay connected.
During the community lockdown last year, several Tech Camp alumni-led activities were realized and done online. Now that limited face-to-face gatherings are slowly being allowed, young people are becoming more creative and are back to reaching more of them, especially in remote areas.
EAI Philippines continues to tap the alumni network in its interventions through opportunities to facilitate and host events, mentoring, and providing platforms to amplify their collective advocacies.