The United States (US) Embassy in the Philippines recognized the achievements of Filipino youth organizations that made a positive impact on their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and after the recent natural disasters that have affected the country this year by awarding P400,000 in grants through the YOUnified Awards Night on Dec. 19.
The event is part of the 7th Anniversary celebration of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the US government’s flagship program to strengthen youth leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia.
YSEALI recognized eight youth organizations that led projects promoting environmental sustainability and food security, good governance, volunteerism and community mobilization, and economic development.
Each of the winning organizations received a plaque and grants worth P50,000 from the US Embassy to bolster their community initiatives.
Awardee Sulong Kabataan Youth Organization from Binangonan, Rizal, mobilized 112 youth to raise P2.3 million to provide food, hygiene kits, and personal protective equipment for 1,112 families displaced by the recent typhoons.
Another awardee, Sakai.QC, developed a Facebook and Viber bot that provided reliable driving routes and directions and COVID-19 updates to almost 20,000 commuters in Quezon City.
Other winners included GoodGov PH, Keep Hope Alive, Accessible Assistance Alliance, Light In Giving Hope for Tomorrow, Inc., Global Shapers Iloilo, and the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Baybay, Leyte.
“Although the ongoing global pandemic has restricted the ability to hold in-person YOUnified events, YSEALI members have still found innovative ways to collaborate and promote positive change across the region,” US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law said.
YSEALI members throughout Southeast Asia are organizing 261 online and in-person community service projects, including 76 in the Philippines, in December alone.
Since its launch in 2013, YSEALI has provided Southeast Asian youth leaders with educational and cultural exchanges to the US and Southeast Asian countries, seed funding for innovative project ideas, and training programs on civic engagement, sustainable development, education, and economic growth.
YSEALI has grown to become a network of more than 150,000 youth leaders in Southeast Asia, including more than 28,000 in the Philippines.