On November 14, 2023, the JSDF-supported project No Bangsamoro Child Left Behind in the Bangsamoro Autonomous in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) officially conducted its Project launching at the Ebrahim Hall, EM Manor Hotel, Cotabato City. The Government of Japan (GoJ) supports the project through the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) with the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) as the implementing agency in partnership with the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE) under the fund administration of the World Bank.
The project was coined with gearing objectives that will enable communities to work in synergy towards quality education by letting No Bangsamoro child be left behind. First, to increase the number of Out-Of-School Children (OOSC) who re-enroll in school, and second, to reduce the number of children who drop out of school in 100 pilot elementary schools in four (4) divisions: Lanao del Sur I, Lanao del Sur II, Maguindanao del Norte, and Maguindanao del Sur. The recipient 100 schools were selected following the criteria identified during consultations with the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education and relevant ministries.
In his welcome message, Mr. Guiamel M. Alim, CBCS Chairperson, said, “In the BARMM, promoting education for all is part of building peace and affirmative action for development. We are here as important stakeholders to commit ourselves in helping the educational institution achieve its long-term vision of No Child Left Behind in the BARMM. Out of our altruism, we can make things happen”.
In the same occasion, Chief Minister Ahod Murad E. Ebrahim of the BARMM and Honorable Azuka Ishizaka, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, delivered their inspirational messages, respectively. MBHTE Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal, Dr. Christian Aedo, Education Practice Manager for East Asia and Pacific Region, and Ms. Dan Dan Chen, Operations Manager, both from the World Bank, gave their Messages of Support for the project through the lenses of the BARMM government and the World Bank.
Ms. Karthika Radhakrishnan-Nair, Senior Education Specialist from the World Bank, presented what the project is all about, which caught the attention of everyone present. Hearing the relevance of the project, the school heads were all ears, which evidently boosted their interest and commitment to implementing the said project.
One hundred target school principals and division office representatives attended the project launch. International development partners from the World Food Programme headed by Mr. Giorgi Dolidze, Country Programme Head, and Mr. Larry Agpalo, were also in attendance. Mr. Elias Salazar, Project Officer, International Labour Organization (ILO), expressed an open opportunity for collaboration in shaping thechildren’s future by addressing one of the root causes of dropping out: child labor. The Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform, Indigenous People’s Affair, and the Ministry of Social Services and Development also attended the launch with the shared goal of helping the community for the betterment of the Bangsamoro children’s future. The Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO) took the lead in inviting different media partners who helped amplify the presence of the said project in the communities they work with.
Other members of the World Bank team were also in attendance. The team who showed their support, especially during the back-end works, in finishing the documents the bank required to implement the said project.
- Clarissa Crisostomo David, Senior External Affairs Officer
- Agnes Chung Balota, Environmental Specialist
- Aisha Lanette N. De Guzman, Senior Financial Management Specialist
- Melissa Santiago Yan, Procurement Specialist
- Norhana Kamid Wakay, Operations Analyst and BARMM Coordinator
Counterpart staff from the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, headed by Mr. Guiamel Alim as Project Manager, was very grateful for the fact that the project had officially started and will eventually start rolling out. Ms. Marivic Calubia, Project Supervisor, will start the necessary coordination work with support from Mr. Jeya Murugan, Technical Lead/Report Writer; Mr. Danilo Mocsin, Administrative Officer; Hasmina Cambri, Finance Officer; and Provincial Staff, who have important roles in the implementation and eventually the success of the project.
An African proverb says, “It takes a whole village to educate a child”, that village is us, who are committed to helping our children achieve their tiny dreams and make them a reality. The project will serve as an avenue for soliciting the concerted efforts of the whole community, the ministry, local government units, barangay leaders, parents, teachers, the school governing council, civil society organizations, international development partners, and other relevant stakeholders.
The launch was wrapped up with the signing of the Commitment Wall to support building a more sustainable future for the Bangsamoro children. The closing remarks was delivered by MBHTE – Director General for Basic Education Abdullah P. Salik, Jr., who expressed gratitude to those who were present and especially to the Japanese government for the support to the project. The traditional photo opportunity was given an allotted time to give everyone a chance to capture that momentous event and get the best shot of whatever there is that will forever be something to look back to.
By: MARIVIC G. CALUBIA