Zamboanga youth learn new skills to protect Coral Triangle in CTI-SEA’s Youth Summit

Zamboanga youth are passionate stewards of the Coral Triangle too! Students from Dumanquillas Bay implemented environmental projects and are determined to take it notches higher.

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EXCITED FOR NEW ADVENTURES. The Youth Summit gathered students from Buug National High School, Kabatan National High School, Kumalarang National High School, Lapuyan National High School, Toribio Minor National High School, and Malangas National High School in a three-day technical skills training that molded them into savvier environmental heroes.

Fifty-eight students from six national high schools in Zamboanga Del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay – together with their teacher-mentors – finished a technical skills training session during the Youth Summit organized by the Coral Triangle Initiative-Southeast Asia project from 19-21 April at Farmers Haven, Dao Sports Complex in Pagadian City.

The summit was a follow-up of the Youth Camp on Coastal Resource Management and Climate Change Adaptation, which was held in Buug municipality in April 2016. Both activities are part of the CTI-Southeast Asia’s Heroes of the Environment Campaign, which seeks to educate, inspire, and engage youth in coastal communities to protect the Coral Triangle.

“We are thankful because this program is a good starting point to encourage creativity among our students,” said Lucky Lagura, teacher from Toribio Minor National High School in Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur. The teachers from each of the six high schools have been guiding the student groups in implementing the environmental projects that they designed during the 2016 Youth Camp.

“Great things start from small beginnings. We believe that as we work harder and inspire more people, others will follow and act to save mother earth,” she added.

Using creative talents to save the environment

During the Youth Summit, each school reported the progress of their environmental projects which they started last year. These included coastal cleanups, reforestation within their school grounds, environment-themed dance performances and stakeholders seminars, among others.

A key innovation from the Youth Camp was the involvement of external experts who taught the schools on how to improve their current projects. Renefe Manginsay from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts conducted a workshop on the basics of theatre performance and critiqued the dance routines of schools, giving vital pointers on rhythm, balance, and movement.

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JUST DANCE. The Junior Bayani ng Kalikasan Dance Troupe performed a dance number as a presentation for the fellowship night.

Mr. Aman Santos, Design Consultant and former Fine Arts Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman, taught the basics of good photography and effective documentation and the preparation of effective information materials. The schools were tasked to prepare environmental posters and present these to a panel consisting of resource persons from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the CTI-Southeast Asia team.

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MASTERING THE ART OF MESSAGE DESIGN. A highly experienced artist and visual designer, Mr. Aman Santos shared his vast knowledge on how students can make effective information materials and good photographs.

“We will apply what we learned to serve our communities,” said Allan Canoy from Buug National High School. “What matters most is how we will implement what we’ve learned in this Summit.”

Enhancing technical skills for successful environmental projects

The session on solid waste management was facilitated by Karen Tandang of DENR Region 9. She gave tips on how to design solid waste management programs to meet their community’s needs as well as related laws and policies including the Republic Act 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. To complement this session, Mr. Angelo Jose Lumba, technical coordinator for CTI-Southeast Asia, also facilitated a session on making organic fertilizers using instructional videos.

Roberto Ballon, a much-awarded fisherfolk leader from the Kapunungan sa Gamay Mangingisda sa Concepcion or KGMC, delivered a lecture on mangrove management which highlighted the need to conserve the country’s remaining mangrove resources. The lecture also emphasized the need to match the mangrove species with the right planting site to ensure the success of mangrove reforestation activities. In the hands-on sessions, Mr. Ballon shared very important technical tips in growing bakawan propagules and pagatpat and miyapi seeds since several schools have proposed the establishment of mangrove nurseries as part of their Youth Camp activities.

These series of lectures provided the students with a good foundation on the concepts and procedures in environmental protection. By exposing them to these exercises and lectures, they become more well-rounded to lead projects in their communities.

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LEARNING MANGROVE REFORESTATION. Mr. Roberto Ballon teaches the students the proper steps in establishing a nursery for the mangrove species Sonneratia alba.

In the closing program, the schools expressed their appreciation and gratitude to CTI-Southeast Asia for the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills on resource management and conservation. The six schools pledged to work even harder to successfully implement their projects and encourage other students to join the Bayani ng Kalikasan clubs.  To provide further motivation, Raul Roldan, CTI-Southeast Asia Deputy Team Leader for the Philippines, announced the additional incentives to the best performing schools. He likewise expressed his appreciation for the valuable support extended by the Department of Education Regional Offices in Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay to CTI-Southeast Asia in implementing its various youth programs.

“We often hear the cliche that the youth are tomorrow’s leaders. But they cannot perform this leadership role successfully if they are not actively involved in today’s issues, especially where environmental degradation is concerned,” Roldan said.

“CTI-Southeast Asia’s investments and active collaboration with the schools in our project sites hopefully will result in a critical mass of youth leaders who are eager, informed, and ready to take charge in the coming years.”

About the Coral Triangle Initiative-Southeast Asia

CTI-Southeast Asia is a five-year (2012-2017) technical assistance to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines by the Asian Development Bank and the Global Environment Facility. It works in building the capacity of those living in coastal communities by providing them with resources, knowledge, and skills to protect the Coral Triangle.

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