Friday, November 18, 2016

VYLH reps exchange best practices with Colombian Youth Leaders

Written by Joan Barredo (K4, Zamboanga City) 

VYLH-Philippines and the Colombian youth leaders joined by Colombia Joven Adviser Maria Francisca Cepeda,
Ugnayan ng Pahinungod UP Manila Advocacy Program Coordinator Davis Tan and Institute of Human Genetics-
NIH, UP Manila Director Dr. Mary Ann Chiong.


Representatives of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH)- Philippines met and shared various youth advocacy activities and best practices of the network with youth leaders from Colombia last October 24, 2016 at the Chancellor's Board Room, Philippine General Hospital - University of the Philippines - Manila.

The Colombian youth delegation all form part of the top winners recognized at the Fourth National Youth Volunteering Award. The awardees were selected from 190 nominees across Colombia and were chosen by a high-level committee composed of representatives from local, international, public and civil society organizations. 

Members of the Colombian Deelgation. From L to R:
Maritza Mera, Valentina Posada, Diana Montoya and
Jose Fabian Gonzalez
The national recognition came with an exposure trip to the Philippines aimed on facilitating the exchange of experiences between young people of both countries. The mission is part of the South-South Cooperation Initiative of “Strengthening Youth Organizations” between Colombia and the Philippines. 

The Colombian delegation include Diana Paola Montoya of the Association of Scouts, Jose Fabian Gonzalez of Fundacion Juvenil Laguna Verde, Valentina Cardona Posada of Institution Educativa Eduardo Santos, and Maritza Fernanda Mera of Microsoft Student Partner – University of Cauca. According to the head of the delegation,  Ms. Maria Francisca Cepeda, "they come from different groups in Colombia and they were all recognized based from the remarkable and life-changing activities that they do for their communities." Cepeda is also the advisor of the Directorate of the Colombian National Youth System “Colombia Joven”.



The three-hour meeting commenced with a welcome message from Dr. Mary Ann Chiong, Director of the Institute of Human Genetics - NIH, UP Manila, which was followed by the introduction of the participants from both groups and the youth organization presentations from UP Manila Ugnayan ng Panhinungod and VYLH-Philippines.

UP Manila Ugnayan ng Pahinungod Advocacy Program Coordinator Davis Tan gave a preview of the Pahinungod’s history and its involvement in the university and the community, while an overview of VYLH-Philippines and its advocacies was presented by former National President Ryan John Pascual.


The presentations paved way for a healthy exchange between VYLH representatives and the Colombian youth leaders, each disclosing the different advocacies and activities of the organization they represented. The youth conversation was facilitated by current VYLH – Philippines President Christian Emmanuel Enriquez.

"We are humbled that VYLH activities are slowly being acknowledged globally, and that we are given the opportunity to share with you the advocacies of our organization. At the same time, we are also excited for possible collaborations with Colombian youth," said Enriquez.

The bilateral meeting organized in coordination with the Embassy of Colombia in Korea and the Office of the Chancellor - UP Manila concluded with a sharing not only of the advocacies of the represented Colombian youth organizations but also with a sharing of gifts coming from Colombia and Filipino food for lunch.

The meeting with VYLH-Philippines was the first meeting of the Colombian youth delegation in the Philippines. During their visit in the country, the Colombian delegation also conducted meetings with the National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine National Commission for UNESCO (PHNatCom), and the Puerto Princesa City-based Palawan Conservation Corps.#

The following is a video about the Colombian delegation's visit in the Philippines posted at the Colombia Joven Facebook page.



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*Joan Mae Barredo is a former Coordinator for Advocacy and Development of the Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement (SACSI) Office of Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU). She finished her BS Mass Communication degree in ADZU last 2011. She is the current Treasurer of VYLH-Philippines.

Editor RPascual

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