Mindanao Youths Learn Leadership Skills

Davao City – WITH the emerging scenario that some young people are taking great roles and responsibilities when leading their peers in their organizations in different issues in the country, it is also a must that these young leaders are equipped with the knowledge on responsible leadership, anchored on the framework of “peace.”

Hennce, some 33 young leaders from different parts of Mindanao, including one from Zamboanga City and this reporter, participated in a weeklong “Leadership for Peace Training for Young People” held last June 25-30 at Mergrande Resort, Talomo, Davao City.

According to Joy Lascano, children and youth coordinator of Manila-based Balay Rehabilitation Center, who sponsored the activity, the training was intended “to develop the capacity of young people to lead their constituents and other youths in their organizations towards peace.”

Balay is a human rights NGO working for different psychosocial rehabilitation especially for internally displaced persons (IDSPs) in different conflict-affected areas. The organization is also focusing on programs for the development of children and youths.

“Part of the training is to enumerate the characteristics of leaders for peace and demonstrate relevant skills on leadership for peace to the participants,” Lascano told PeaceWorks.

She added this is in response to “changing concepts of leadership and participants are expected to come up with a unified working definition of leadership for peace from just a plain leadership.”

The training was also accompanied by a workshop, in which participants learned planning for future activities for peace.

“The training also aimed to give the participants a venue where they can share good experiences and exchange notes within their area of their leading for peace,” Lascano said.

Participants were mainly from Mindanao, including the provinces of Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Bukidnon, Sulu, and from the cities of Davao , Iligan, Cotabato, Kidapawan, General Santos and Zamboanga.

Sharing ideas of non-Filipino thoughts was shared by Son Jung Won, a guest participant from South Korea , who is also enrolled for exchange studies in Manila.

“The lectures were very nice, lively and enjoyable,” said Won, who during the training was known by her Filipino nickname Namoo.

“The inputs, particularly on the concept of ‘Leadership for Peace’ is very interesting,” added Michael Ong, a participant from General Santos City.

During the training, Balay Executive Director Loreine B. dela Cruz also challenged the participants to continuously work on what they had started.

“You are on the right track, so continue working for the young people and for peaceful Mindanao ,” she said.

Other participants also shared their experiences of the training. “The concept is something new but you could really see it as useful especially in leading organizations in the Mindanao setting,” said Khairodin Amerol of Alyansa ng Kabataang Mindanao Para Sa Kapayapaan (AKMK) based in Iligan City .

Cotabato’s Kahar Benito said: “The training was really exciting especially the participants.”

“The participants were also quite cooperative,” added Jhey-Are Eyas of PAZ’s Zamboanga Youth for Peace Organization (ZYPO).

Main speaker of the five-day training-workshop was Lascano. Helping facilitate the activity was Balay’s Cis Doctolero and Amy Flores.

The topics of the five-day training included “Concepts of Leading and Leaders for Peace,” “Identification of Participants’ Individual Leadership Style”, “Capacity and Competency,” “Leadership for Peace Skills,” and “Practice of Leadership for Peace.”

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