You’re never too young to champion good governance; the AYL Iloilo experience
The line ‘Bata ka pa; hindi ka dapat makialam sa pulitika’ ("You're still young, you shouldn't meddle in politics") is an all-too-familiar narrative young leaders receive whenever they try to engage in civic participation and nation-building, but ironically so, it comes from the same culture rooted in the belief that the youth is without a doubt, the light of our country’s future.
From the historic and revolutionary youth participation in the 2022 elections, a driving force in the spirit of volunteerism, and the continuously increasing youth movements —time and time again, youth have exemplified the power they hold; it’s raw and passion-driven —if given the right guidance, it can be so much more.
To help equip our country’s youth leaders with the necessary skills and values in advocating good governance, Kaya Natin! Movement, in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation, launched the Academy for Young Leaders (AYL).
A closer look at the AYL Iloilo Experience
Academy for Young Leaders Iloilo is a gathering of individuals with varying backgrounds and advocacies, but if there is one thing similar to everyone gathered in the cohort, all of them desire good governance.
Following his firm belief in the youth’s transformative power, Vance Praire, 21, joined the Academy for Young Leaders Iloilo in hopes of acquiring the ‘necessary competencies’ of a leader.
‘’I understand that true leadership goes beyond personal ambition; it is a commitment to uplifting the lives of those around me,” he fondly shares.
For Aura Marie Layese, 19, joining the AYL Iloilo is an opportunity for her to get to know other young leaders sharing the same ideals as her. She furthers that the program made her realize the youth’s immense potential in nation-building.
“The learnings I had and the experience made me realize what lies ahead for Filipino youth,” she explains.
When asked what their greatest lesson learned from the two-day training and workshop, both of them shared their interesting takes.For Layese, “To be a leader must first know how to listen. Know what your people need and provide them with it.”
“I also learned the phrase, ‘You can’t change the system if you’re not inside the system,’” she explains, directly quoting Infanta Vice Mayor LA Ruanto, one of the program's speakers.
Praire’s take shares that real change starts from within, “Be the change you want to see in this world. If all you see is darkness, all it takes is a spark within you to create a luminous journey ahead.”
The two-day training and workshop featured activities designed to make the youth fellows feel more involved in the political systems of their local government. From first-hand experiences discussed by exemplary guests and engaging in a community dialogue with Oton, Iloilo farmers, the Academy of Young Leaders is a cove of unique and inspiring experiences.
"It feels empowering to be with empowered people! I find myself ignited with a renewed sense of purpose and determination,” Praire excitedly recounts his AYL experience. He further explains that being in the same group with people of similar ideals inspires him to become a better leader.
Layese describes her experience as ‘fun-filled and interactive’, further explaining that it allowed her to gain more knowledge in governance, “I was able to broaden my prior knowledge in leadership. This allowed me to become a better leader.”
As we gear up for the next leg of the Academy for Youth Leaders in the Visayas region, we remain steadfast in our advocacy of espousing the Ethical, Effective, and Empowering brand of leadership in the nation’s youth.
True to our maxim, Basta’t sama-sama, Kaya Natin!
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