Young Min­dana­won in­flu­encers un­dergo train­ing to cre­ate al­ter­na­tive nar­ra­tives of peace

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Billboard / Community - By Val Amiel Vestil

Thirty young in­flu­encers from across five re­gions in Min­danao gathered last Au­gust 26-30 in Ho­tel Koresko, Cagayan de Oro City for the 2nd OUR­min­daNOW Tech Camp or­ga­nized by Equal Ac­cess In­ter­na­tional Philip­pines (EAI-PH).

With the aim of strength­en­ing the ca­pac­ity of young in­flu­encers in Min­danao to cre­ate pow­er­ful al­ter­na­tive nar­ra­tives that pro­mote peace, the sec­ond it­er­a­tion of the Tech Camp trained lead­ers from var­i­ous re­gions in the is­land in­clud­ing North­ern Min­danao, South Cen­tral, CARAGADava­o, Lanao, and the Zam­ba­sulta Re­gion.

“This is the sec­ond camp un­der the OUR­min­daNOW project, and the fourth Tech Camp over­all. We want to train more peace in­flu­encers here in Min­danao so we can reach even more youth and Min­danaoans through their dif­fer­ent cam­paigns and com­mu­nity projects,” said Joel Di­zon, EAI PH Pro­gram Man­ager.

Dur­ing the 5-day train­ing, campers un­der­went ses­sions that helped them have a deeper un­der­stand­ing of peace, con­flict, and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism, know­ing Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ist Or­ga­ni­za­tions’ (VEO) nar­ra­tives and how to creative al­ter­na­tive mes­sages to counter them, and how they fit in the big­ger pic­ture of peace in Min­danao.

One of the campers from Marawi, Lanao del Sur said that a unique as­pect about the Tech Camp was that it en­cour­aged full par­tic­i­pa­tion of all campers to max­i­mize their po­ten­tial re­gard­less of their re­li­gious or eth­nic back­ground.

Ah­mad Ban­tuas quipped: “The most spe­cial thing about the camp is putting ev­ery­one in one set­ting in spite of com­ing from dif­fer­ent tribes of Min­danao which even­tu­ally erased any prej­u­dices we had. We were able to have fun to­gether be­cause of the cul­ture of tolerance and com­mon un­der­stand­ing that was ob­served dur­ing the camp.”

A high­light out­put of the camp was the cre­ation of im­pact­ful dig­i­tal cam­paigns that pro­mote peace, and among them was the “Or­phans, OURphans” campaign from the South Cen­tral re­gion team.

The campaign aims to share the di­verse nar­ra­tives of or­phans from Maguin­danao to pro­mote their po­ten­tials and per­sonal iden­tity in spite of their cir­cum­stances.

“We con­sider chil­dren to be one of the most vul­ner­a­ble sec­tors of so­ci­ety, most es­pe­cially those who have been or­phaned, which is ex­actly why we need to in­vest in them more. Through the campaign, we wanted to share their ex­pe­ri­ences to pos­si­ble stake­hold­ers who would want to help them in shap­ing their fu­ture,” said Ab­dul Rah­man Alon­gan, one of the pro­po­nents from Cota­bato City.

The campers are ex­pected to run these campaign pro­to­types when they go back to their re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties af­ter the train­ing.

EAI-PH aims to cre­ate lo­cal mes­sag­ing hubs that builds the ca­pac­ity of the youth to am­plify al­ter­na­tive mes­sag­ing that pro­motes so­cial co­he­sion and broader in­clu­sions, de­velop al­ter­na­tive mes­sag­ing strate­gies, sup­port dig­i­tal and grass­roots ini­tia­tives, and en­gage atrisk pop­u­la­tion.

Apart from the Tech Camp, EAI-PH does this through its dif­fer­ent com­po­nents in­clud­ing the peace pro­mo­tion fel­low­ship, ra­dio pro­grams, and com­mu­nity fo­rums among oth­ers.


CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE. Tech Camp par­tic­i­pants from the North­ern Min­danao re­gional team brain­storm on their "Ka­malaYOUNG Campaign" aim­ing to in­crease aware­ness on Min­danao's di­ver­sity and in­clu­siv­ity among stu­dents in MOGCHS.

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