Youth leaders tapped to help bring out-of-school peers back to school

Published December 9, 2021, 2:38 PM

by Betheena Unite

Sixty youth leaders in Nueva Ecija have been trained on how to encourage their out-of-school peers go back to school.

(Photo courtesy of the US Embassy in the Philippines)

The three-week training initiated by the U.S. Peace Corps and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) concluded on Dec. 3, the US Embassy in the Philippines said Thursday, Dec. 9.

“The training taught 60 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) youth leaders and beneficiaries how to encourage their out-of-school peers, through life skills and leadership sessions, to go back to school,” the Embassy said in a statement.

The sessions are a core part of the 4Ps conditional cash transfer program and are typically conducted by DSWD staff. The U.S. Peace Corps and DSWD are piloting the new peer-to-peer approach, with the goal of more effectively reaching out-of-school youth and getting them back to school.

The peer-training model is expected to benefit more than 1,000 youth in Nueva Ecija.

“Youth leaders who are also 4Ps beneficiaries have firsthand experience in overcoming their fears and building their self-esteem, making them well-placed to support their fellow youth in coming back to school,” said DSWD Field Office 3 Director Marites Maristela.

Peace Corps Philippines Country Director Jenner Edelman commended the youth leaders for “playing a crucial role in developing [their] communities and inspiring out-of-school youth to believe in themselves and see education as a key pathway to achieving their dreams.”

The Regional Youth Development Training of Trainers is a pilot initiative of the U.S. Peace Corps and DSWD Field Office 3 to supplement existing 4Ps support to youth not attending school, and is funded jointly with the United States Agency for International Development.

While limited to select 4Ps youth leaders and beneficiaries due to pandemic-related precautions, this is the first in-person training the partners have undertaken to reach out-of-school youth since the start of the pandemic.

The U.S. Peace Corps is the U.S. government’s premier volunteer organization and has supported Filipino students since 1961. More than 9,300 American volunteers have served as youth development facilitators or filled other roles requested by host communities across the Philippines.