Davao City—Eight young leaders from various parts of Mindanao will be departing on Friday to Wellington, New Zealand for a four-month bespoke leadership program.
The Mindanao Young Leaders Program will expose the scholars to new ideas and institutions, inspire them to think critically about what they can apply in their own communities, and develop their research, evaluation, and communication skills to contribute in the sustainable and peaceful development of their communities.
“New Zealand is committed to do what it can to support peace and stability in Mindanao. We recognize the pivotal role youth will play as agents of change,” New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan said during the send-off dinner.
“It is our pleasure to host these talented young leaders. We hope that their New Zealand experience will help them develop their own communities and contribute to peacebuilding,” he added.
Vicente Lao, New Zealand honorary consul to Mindanao, said he looks forward to the participants’ return and their contributions to the region through their chosen sectors.
“These young men and women can learn from what the best of New Zealand has to offer and share these solutions for the development of Mindanao,” he said.
The program is supported by the New Zealand government and managed by UnionAID in collaboration with International Alert Philippines and Victoria University of Wellington.
New Zealand has allocated more than P97 million for the program.
“I’m deeply honored to be part of this pioneer batch of MinYLP scholars,” said Abubakar Basman, 23, from Marawi City. “I appreciate that the program will help me learn the best mechanisms and practices not only in managing disasters, but in managing risks, which is what New Zealand is proud of.”
During the Marawi siege in 2017, Basman was part of the white helmets volunteer rescue group that saved some 1,700 lives by going into the battle zone.
He is currently the public relations and programs officer of the Lanao del Sur Early Response Network, a network of local disaster risk reduction and management officers from 39 municipalities and Marawi City in Lanao del Sur that monitors and coordinates both natural and man-made disasters, including tensions and critical events that may lead to violence and high human cost, and coordinates prompt multi-stakeholder response to these.