07 June 2007

UBC report on youth development

JUDGING from the first three of six presentations by our visiting UBC graduate students that took place at the Bicol Science and Technology Centrum yesterday, the studio course, I must say, has far exceeded our expectations.

My Bikol Express' Aldy Manrique, who also writes a weekly column for the Bikol Reporter, made it, and shared his thoughts here. Several personalities, like Bicol Mail business editor and consumer advocate Joey Co and Recha Claveria-Queen of the Partido Development Administration who heard about our event over the radio, also joined in. So did Gina Bordado, research director of the Camarines Sur State Agricultural College (CSSAC) and Vice Mayor Gabby's better half.

Plus many more whose names I can't remember (poor me, I'm only good at remembering faces, not names) who also made the first salvo most interesting and memorable. My apologies.

The presentations, which viewed Naga from a fresh lens, as Joy Capiral of the Ateneo de Naga University described the effort, was so interesting Gabby (subbing for Mayor Robredo who will be out of town until Friday) had to sit all throughout -- not an easy thing to do, given the expanded demands of his job.

Dr. Leonora Angeles, in his opening remarks, underlined the constraints and limitations of the report, particularly the language barrier and the very short three-week period available for data gathering.

But these, I think, did not detract from the high quality research work done by her students, which not only elaborated on the key challenges facing Naga but offered practical recommendations on how to address them, building on the city's unique strengths and key assets.

The first report, for instance, took an aim at our existing youth initiatives and organizational structures, pointed out their limitations, and using international good practices as reference, suggested how we can make the engagement process more inclusive, sustainable and mutually reinforcing.

For example, it proposed a mentoring scheme that will allow graduates of the City Youth Officials (CYO) program to help incoming CYOs to shorten their learning curve and document their activities so that the wheel need not be reinvented every time a new batch takes over.

The written report is not yet available, but the group's Powerpoint presentation should do for the meantime, using Slideshare which I finally got to use, courtesy of the Filipino Librarian who tipped me about it many months back.

The full file, according to Slideshare, is also downloadable in Adobe PDF format (with file size less than 4 MB); it is actually my only other alternative as the original Powerpoint files all exceeded Slideshare's 30-MB threshhold.