From November 7 to 10, Asia Pacific Director Erika Tatad and Director of Operations Tamara Tan covered four cities and provinces in Regions X and XII of Mindanao. Information Sessions where held in reputable schools, strategically chosen for their impact on their respective communities. The institutions involved were Mindanao State University (Iligan and Marawi campuses), Action for Dynamic Development and the Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte. Students of the Mindanao State University System are renowned as the scholars of Mindanao. Action for Dynamic Development is an umbrella organization whose young members are leaders in numerous colleges and other organizations in Cagayan de Oro. The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte is in the process of improving their educational program and invited WYA to inspire and develop leaders among the youth. The Information Sessions introduced the World Youth Alliance, its beginnings, its mission and Charter. Participants were invited to sign the Charter, join WYA, and avail of the training programs.
Each Information Session was followed by a Roundtable Discussion between WYA representatives and selected students and teachers. Roundtable Discussions were organized to identify committed members of a core group in each area, allow for questions that have not been raised during the Information Session due to time constraint, and to learn more about the young Mindanaoans. It was discovered that the interests of the youth vary with each place. Consequently, the strategies for membership development and the creation of a core group, to undergo training, likewise vary. Core groups were created in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City, where consensus centered on the promotion of human dignity and membership expansion in their cities via information drives. Marawi City was found to be abundant with social advocates and young leaders whose interest in WYA’s world network yielded intentions for organization–affiliation. In Lanao del Norte, a different kind of strategy was adopted to expand membership and training – via integration of WYA principles in educational institutions of all levels, particularly in school activities and class lectures.
In all of the places, the participants asked about specific activities and projects of WYA, other than Viviamo, that concretize the concept of human dignity. It became important to emphasize WYA as a network or a framework for all things, as opposed to an organization that creates projects for them and requires projects from members.
The Mindanao Information Series exceeded expectations. An overwhelming number of participants attended the Information Sessions and a total of over 1,200 young people signed the Charter. Schedules for information drives, meetings and training applications have been set. Information drives will begin on January 2007. In addition, institutions from other provinces of Mindanao have invited WYA to go to their provinces and conduct another round of Mindanao Information Series.