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Tomorrow's leaders get the volunteer spirit

A group discussion about HIV/AIDS at City College of Calapan. (UNV)A group discussion about HIV/AIDS at City College of Calapan. (UNV)The 'YES4MDGs' workshops are designed to strengthen leadership, promote HIV/AIDS awareness, and provide information on volunteerism for development. (UNV)The 'YES4MDGs' workshops are designed to strengthen leadership, promote HIV/AIDS awareness, and provide information on volunteerism for development. (UNV)
19 February 2009

Vigan, the Philippines: UNV is reaching out to young Filipino leaders to get them involved in development issues, particularly HIV/AIDS awareness, through voluntary action.

The Youth Empowerment Series for the Millennium Development Goals ('YES4MDGs') workshops are designed to strengthen leadership skills and networks, promote awareness of effective HIV/AIDS prevention, and provide essential information on volunteerism for development to youth in the Philippines.

The second of three Youth Empowerment Series activities took place in mid-February in cooperation with the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), the United Nations Associations of the Philippines, and the University of Northern Philippines.

"This activity highlights the dynamic partnership among the UN agencies, government, academe, and non-government organizations toward stronger multisectoral collaboration in development efforts," says Joselito de Vera, Executive Director of PNVSCA.

Over 40 leaders from five universities participated in the two-day programme in Vigan city covering a range of topics such as an introduction to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a report on HIV prevention among young Filipinos, and workshops on integrating volunteerism into grassroots development activities.

For many of the students, it provided a wealth of new information. “This training makes me realize the reality of our society,” said Emed Ferrer, the president of the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College student council. “This is truly the most unforgettable training I’ve attended in my entire college life.”

“Motivating others to act, utilizing existing resources, and making change towards betterment can be achieved by quality leadership and volunteerism,” said Precious Angelique from St. Paul University Philippines.

"Through this project, UNV is building bridges between the Government, UN agencies, academic institutions and NGOs," explained UNV Programme Officer Hiroyuki Takita from Japan. "We have also advocated for volunteerism as guest speakers; advised partners on improved delivery; provided educational materials on volunteerism, HIV/AIDS and the MDGs; and mobilized online volunteers in Australia and the USA to publish press releases and web materials."

The first 'YES4MDGs' activity took place in Calapan City at the end of January, and Philippine Normal University in Cadiz City will host the next at the end of February. All are financed by the UNV Programme Officer Empowerment Mechanism or 'POEM' fund, a discretionary fund given to UNV Country Offices to enable volunteering initiatives. At the end of the three 'YES4MDG's, the UNV team will publish a 'Youth Declaration for HIV/AIDS-free Philippines'.
UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)