Young men and young women were trained in digitized civilian protection monitoring as well as project concept development.  The activity was spearheaded by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society and sponsored by the Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO Philippines and held at Pagana Kutawato last January15-17, 2020.

The activity was started with an opening prayer led by Khusari Amelle, one of the youth participants from Sulu and it was preceded with a fun-learning style of introduction facilitated by Julie Esmael, VSO Peace Educator. The activity aims to encourage the youth participants to be part of civilian protection component and increased their knowledge on CPC issues. Thus, it also aims to empower the youth by introducing them to resource mobilization and opportunities they may undertake in the current Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

There were lectures on CPC Framework, Institutional Mandates and its Role in the Peace Process and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) given by Muamar Alim and Sarato Pasante from Non-Violent Peace Force where they emphasized the greater role each youth in the community is holding. The significance of understanding the CPC Framework was also highlighted.

It was then followed by a lecture on Safeguarding and workshop on Digitized Local Conflict Monitoring and Reporting led by Ms. Daryl Arceo, Security & Safeguarding Officer, VSO Philippines and Sheen Alexandre Tato, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist, also from VSO Philippines. The lecture on safeguarding involved an introduction on ways to recognize signs and symptoms of an abuse. And it was followed by the overview and workshop on the VSO Peace and Resilience Application which the youth participants can use to report incidents under the Civilian Protection Component.

The two-day activity promotes volunteerism and encourages participation on activities where youth can greatly help and be part of. A Message of support and inputs on the Internation Monitoring Team (IMT) Mandates and best practices in Civilian Protection was given by  Hazwan Afiqq Hamzah, Head Coordinator, CPC-IMT where he showed the participants his journey in the IMT in promoting peace and preventing violence. As he said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time but they have the heart.”

The Office of the Bangsamoro Youth Affairs representative, Nass Dunding presented the opportunities for youth involvement under the current Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Further, participants were coached on how they can get involved by first getting familiarized with what is happening in their communities,  what it is they want to change, what they can contribute, what and how their collective efforts can create a peaceful change process. CBCS-VSO’s resource Mobilization Specialist, Ms. Wilhelmina Aquino facilitated the workshop discussions.  The workshop results were used by Mr. Robert Apadan, CBCS Program Manager as a jumping board in coming up with an Indicative Plan per province.  In addition, the body also agreed to maintain an informal coordinative structure by appointing youth focal persons per province, a well as agreeing to maintain a e-group for continuing exchange of ideas and information.

The two-day activity was a step towards empowering the Bangsamoro youth to be productive and peacefully engaged in their own communities.