Youth Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction

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Launching of U-INSPIRE Metro Manila Chapter

U-INSPIRE Philippines Vice President for Metro Manila, Ms. Liza Velle Ramos, officer-in-charge of the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), led the launching of U-INSPIRE Metro Manila. As President of U-INSPIRE Philippines, I gave an overview of our new organization and presented plans for the next few months. Other U-INSPIRE Philippines officers present were Dr. Mica Carada, VP for Luzon, and Ms. Justine Arela, Secretary. U-INSPIRE mentors, Prof. Gretchen Kalonji of the Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction, Sichuan University – Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Dr. Noralene Uy of Ateneo de Manila University, were also in attendance. Aside from students, teachers, and practitioners, out-of-school youth were also invited to attend the inclusive event.

Establishment of U-INSPIRE Philippines

We finally had our U-INSPIRE Philippines inception meeting on August 20, 2019 at Ateneo de Manila University, hosted by our mentor, Dr. Noralene Uy, the coordinator of Ateneo’s Master in Disaster Risk and Resilience Program. Here are our interim set of officers who will be tasked with (1) drafting the constitution and by-laws, (2) SEC registration, and (3) organizing initial activities. 

President: Glenn Fernandez (Sichuan University)
VP Luzon: Mica Carada (University of the Philippines)
VP Metro Manila: Liza Velle Ramos (Makati DRRM Office)
VP Visayas: Gin Permejo-Cuaton (Leyte Normal University)
VP Mindanao: Cha Rell Romano (Mindanao State University)
VP Offshore: Xerxes Seposo (Nagasaki University)
Secretary: Justine Arela (Makati DRRM Office)
Treasurer: Gabrielle Ann Guevara (Ateneo de Manila University)
Auditor: Jairus Josol (Ateneo de Manila University)

The U-INSPIRE initiative was started by a group of young Indonesian DRR researchers and practitioners. The organization was formally launched in November 2018 in Jakarta during the “2018 Regional Workshop on Strengthening, Empowering, and Mobilizing Youth and Young Professionals in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Innovation (SETI) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Asia and the Pacific,” which I was able to attend. The participants of the regional workshop are now working on establishing their own U-INSPIRE chapter in their country. The first chapters to be formed were U-INSPIRE Pakistan, U-INSPIRE Malaysia, U-INSPIRE Nepal, and U-INSPIRE Kazakhstan.

First Meet-up of U-INSPIRE Mindanao

We had a lively discussion during the first meeting of U-INSPIRE Mindanao. Happy to know that there are many student organizations in MSU-IIT working on DRR inside their campus and in different barangays in Iligan City. Looking forward to hearing about the concrete plans of U-INSPIRE Mindanao in the coming weeks.

U-INSPIRE Philippines

I’m helping establish the Philippine chapter of U-INSPIRE, a new platform for youth participation and leadership in disaster risk reduction. U-INSPIRE was launched in Jakarta, Indonesia during the first UNESCO Regional Workshop on SETI in DRR in Asia and the Pacific. In December 2019, we will be hosting the second regional workshop at the Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction in Chengdu, China.

2019 International Workshop on Models for Multinational Collaboration on Disaster Resilience, June 30 – July 4, Chengdu, China

I was appointed focal person for the “Youth Participation and Youth Leadership in DRR” breakout group. As one of our group’s planned activities for the next 12 months, I proposed a compilation of case studies on formal mechanisms of youth participation in DRR, citing the youth councils in the Philippines as an example. I’m already working with Prof. Rajib Shaw of Keio University SFC, Japan on a compilation of 29 case studies on youth participation in disaster recovery submitted by partners from all over the Asia-Pacific region.

Among the 50 plus workshop participants, eight are IRDR Young Scientists. I co-moderated with fellow IRDR Young Scientist Dr. Emmanuel Raju of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark the plenary workshop sessions on the last day of the workshop.

2019 Public Lecture at Syiah Kuala University, Indonesia

2018 Regional Workshop on Strengthening, Empowering, and Mobilizing Youth and Young Professionals in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Innovation (SETI) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Asia and the Pacific, November 1-4, Jakarta, Indonesia

I was invited to join the discussion panel on “Youth and young professionals in SETI for DRR: Challenges, Gaps, Needs, Expectations, and Initiatives.” I also moderated the panel on “Introduction to Integrated and Transdisciplinary Research in DRR.”

2018 FGD on Youth Participation in Marawi Recovery (with MSU-IIT and MSU Marawi)

2018 Public Lecture at Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, Philippines

2015 Cited by the National Youth Commission

It’s very heartwarming when your research gets utilized as basis for policy advocacy. One of my main recommendations for enhancing youth participation in DRR in the Philippines was the inclusion of the National Youth Commission (NYC) in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The membership of NYC in the NDRRMC will send a strong signal that the youth are being taken seriously and are recognized as a major partner in DRR. In addition, this will help connect institutionally the 42,000 youth councils with the 42,000 Barangay DRRM Committees in the country. As local-level implementation of national policies frequently follows the national-level model, the inclusion of the NYC in the NDRRMC will encourage the inclusion of the SKs in the Barangay DRRM Committees. If the youth have no participation at the national level, then this might send a message to the local level that youth participation is not required or is unimportant.

2014 National Youth Parliament

I was an observer in the Committee on Youth Participation (part of the data-gathering for my PhD research on youth participation in disaster risk reduction).

2013 Kyoto HIV Forum

As President of the Kyoto Association of Pinoy Scholars (KAPS), I represented our group, and also encouraged our members to participate, in different activities of Kyoto, such as disaster drills; HIV prevention information, education, and communication drives; and cultural immersions. I always advocate and promote active participation of residents in community affairs.

In the 2013 Kyoto HIV Forum, KAPS was working with our long-time collaborator, the Center for Health and Rights of Migrants (CHARM). With me at the event was my friend, Mica, who also later became KAPS President.

2012 International Education and Resource Network – Japan (JEARN) Youth Summit, Hyogo Prefecture Koseikai School, Kobe, Japan

I gave a presentation on youth participation in disaster risk reduction in the Philippines.

2012 Field in Infanta, Quezon for my research on sangguniang kabataan (SK, youth council) participation in DRR

In contrast to my well-machinated interviews in Makati, finding SK officials in Infanta was a bit difficult. Most of the SK chairs were studying in universities in Manila (absentee officials). My fieldwork opened my eyes to the realities of local governance in rural areas. To interview barangay captains, I had to gate-crash a birthday drinking party in the middle of a corn field. It was a very memorable experience.

2012 Field in Makati for my research on sangguniang kabataan (SK, youth council) participation in DRR

The SK Federation Office of Makati took care of scheduling my interviews at each of the 36 barangays of the city. The SK and barangay officials were prepared with copies of reports and documentation of youth activities. I was very impressed with how orderly my fieldwork in Makati went, thanks to the support of the city and barangay officials and staff. Truly, a researcher’s dream study site!

2010 National Youth Science Camp on Disaster Risk Reduction

I was part of the Organizing Committee of this summer science camp. Almost 1,000 science club members and advisers from different provinces of the Philippines joined the camp.