November 4, 2013
During the summer of 2013, young local leaders of Accelerating Forward - Unlad Bayan - in partnership with Consuelo Foundation, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Don Bosco Calauan and Map Your World - conducted a needs assessment of Southville 7 (SV7), Laguna, Philippines. Southville 7 is located 77 km south of Manila, and is comprised mostly of impoverished, relocated families from squatter communities across Manila who arrived in 2009 and 2010 as a result of Typhoon Ondoy.
A baseline survey was conducted because of the lack of information on population, access to water and electricity, employment and income, and vaccination rates. However, more importantly, because of a disconnect of youth in the community, a leadership program was established for youth development, empowerment and life-skills training. The ultimate goals were two fold, to bring social justice to the forefront and to enable youth as a vehicle for hope, change, and opportunity.
The 25 youth and four adult leaders took on a project that might have seemed insurmountable at first, but with diligence and determination, they successfully canvassed 107 hectares and surveyed about 3000 families. Using a community-based approach and GIS mapping provided by Map Your World, the youth successfully collected information about the community’s needs, priorities, and vision. However, the most important impact was on the transformation of the youth who initially believed they were powerless in creating change. One young man describes his experiences below, which is a testament of the hope and empowerment instilled in all youth leaders.
“I was amazed that there is still hope..and that’s the main reason why I continue and still continue to dream. This project changed me a lot…I had improved my social life, leadership and personality.”
- Michael J, 19 years old, Star Leader