Youth create waves of change
MANILA (Feb. 22, 2017) — “The youth must develop a habit of making even small waves of positive change,” said Bing-bing Reyes, who was among more than 50 young leaders who participated in the recent Young Leaders Forum in the Philippines. Echoing the sentiment, another participant Mark Quezon urged: “Find an organization that suits your advocacy and volunteer. Be an instrument of change.”
Held on February 4 in Pasig City, Manila, the forum was the pilot initiative of the Habitat Young Leaders Build. It brought together experts and young leaders from ADB Youth for Asia, World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific, Habitat Philippines’ campus chapters, iVolunteer, Scouts as well as other organizations. They spoke widely on youth leaders’ role in raising awareness and funds, volunteering and advocacy including for adequate housing. The participants also pledged to encourage donations via their social networks, to volunteer with their family and friends on Habitat builds and to advocate for policy improvements, among others.
Architect Abigail Camille Manalo who represented the Asean Young Leaders’ Association at the forum, actively sought an invitation to the event. She explained: “It is a challenge for me to encourage my colleagues in the design and build industry and the allied fields to contribute our expertise and enable people to improve their lives. Also, it is a personal challenge on how to contribute in producing applicable and acceptable housing policies for our people or even the Southeast Asian countries.
“The forum made me realize that I, as a young leader, should not be complacent. This type of advocacy needs technical skills and empathy to make it work.”
Opportunities for youth
The forum kicked off the launch of the call for advocacy grants, also part of the HYLB campaign. Habitat supporters are invited to submit proposals for advocacy activities that aim to influence decision makers, or change practices or systems with regard to secure tenure, gender and property rights, slum upgrading and disaster resilience. A successful applicant can be awarded up to US$250 per grant. The deadline for the second call of the proposals is March 31. Find out more.
In Indonesia, representatives of seven schools in Jakarta gathered for the Habitat Indonesia Youth Movement. This is the initial meeting for a circle of young leaders that aims to involve more Indonesian youth to strategically work toward helping families living in poverty move into adequate shelter and more livable communities. A video competition (in the Indonesian language) organized by Habitat Indonesia in support of HYLB is calling on local youth to document the young people whose homes are situated in unhealthy environments. Video submissions will be accepted until March 30.
While young people are the prime movers in the campaign, vulnerable groups are not forgotten. “I feel that we should go beyond just exerting physical strength to do the cleaning and be ready to offer empathy to those who need it,” said Crystal Quek who volunteered for Project HomeWorks, Habitat Singapore’s signature program that improves the living conditions of elderly people who live alone.
Across the region, there are myriad ways of supporting HYLB. Read more.
The Habitat Young Leaders Build culminates on April 22 with various activities and events scheduled across the Asia-Pacific region. For updates on the campaign, follow twitter.com/HabitatYLB and join bit.ly/HabitatYLB.