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Youth Proposes Projects for the Environment

Last modified August 11, 2008

In a conference held last 18 August at the Cebu International Convention Center, youth teams composed of scholars of the Young Minds Academy (YMA) proposed projects to help solve environmental problems.

The Young Minds Academy (YMA) is a youth citizenship and leadership program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., (RAFI) launched in October 2006. The YMA aims to develop character, build confidence, and promote active citizenship among the 16 teams, composed of five-members all admitted to the program.

The teams were classified into: Generation 1 (21–30 years old), Generation 2 (17–20 years old) and Generation 3 (12–16 years old). After various training and immersions since January 2007, the scholars formulated projects addressing issues on YMA’s theme – environment. Ten short-listed proposals on global warming, biodiversity conservation, coastal management, solid  waste,  endemic  bird  protection,  river rehabilitation and environmental awareness, among others, were presented during the conference.

Representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education, National Economic Development Authority, United Nations Development Program Global Environment Facility – Small Grants, Ayala Foundation Inc., Association of Foundations, Guiuan Development Foundation, Peace and Equity Foundation, and the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, were invited to evaluate the proposals.

Teams  from  each  generation  were  awarded the “Innovative Young Minds Award” for their most innovative, relevant, and sustainable proposals. Team Mt.  Manunggal  of  Generation  1  received  the  award  for their proposal,  “Promoting  Local  Government  Initiated  Clean  Development Mechanism  to  Mitigate  Climate  Change.”  The team is composed of Karl Hegel Damayo,  Kaira  Zoe Alburo, Brenette Abrenica, Aldwin Empaces and Jiah Sayson.

From  Generation  2,  the  same award was given to the Mt. Licos team’s, “Medellin  Coastal  Management  Initiative”.  The  team  members are Mel Fatric  Rhai  Yan,  Heno  Rey Chin, Charmie Trixie Homecillo, Rehne Gibb Larena and Danilo Sabarre. Team  Osmeña  Peak of  Generation  3,   composed of Vashti Castro, Mischa Castro, Chelo Cala and Theresa Yee, also received the “Innovative Young Minds Award” for their “Youth Empowerment in Zaragosa.”

The said proposals will be funded by RAFI and other interested private and public institutions.

In his message during the culmination ceremony held on the same day, RAFI President, Roberto E. Aboitiz, emphasized the importance of making the right choices.  He encouraged the YMA scholars to discover their purpose in life and fulfill their roles “To give back to society, to your community, and to your country”.

The  74  pioneer  YMA  graduates  underwent  the  eight-month  training  on leadership,  basic   social   development,   research,   and   proposal development.  They also immersed in different communities in Cebu and were exposed   to   the   work   of   other   environment and social development-oriented organizations in Davao and Samar.

Young Minds Academy Season 2 will be launched in September this year and will focus on public health. Interested applicants may contact the Program Officer of the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center at (032) 255-5626 or email myan@rafi.org.ph.