Aahon tayo! Youth leaders take the spotlight in 19th TAYO Awards

Published December 20, 2021, 6:47 PM

by MB Lifestyle

The past two years may have been difficult for Filipinos, but 10 youth organizations inspired their countrymen to find hope and rise from adversity. Through their advocacies, the winners of the 19th Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards are helping create a better future for many Filipinos.

Co-presented by the TAYO Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, and San Miguel Corporation, the 19th TAYO Awards recognized youth organizations that are positively impacting communities through Culture, Arts and Heritage; Education and Technology; Environment, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation; Health, Wellbeing and Human Development; and Livelihood and Entrepreneurship. This year’s TAYO Awards received a record number of entries at 933, with 67 validation interview qualifiers, 40 semi-finalists and 20 national finalists.

Tayo Awards

“We are forever inspired by your stories. TAYO started out in 2002 as an award-giving body and funder of projects that empower communities. Every year, we give seed grants to youth organizations to help them start or continue programs proven to uplift the communities where they are based. For us at the Coca-Cola Foundation, being part of the TAYO Awards for the past 15 years has been rewarding. The challenges the awardees took on back in 2012 are radically different from the challenges of 2021–what remains the same is the grit, the passion to be stewards of the nation and the environment,” Cecile Alcantara, Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines President, shared during the virtual awarding ceremony.

Champion of sustainability
The Coke Barkada Award was also conferred on one TAYO 19 finalist, which will be receiving a P30,000 grant from Coca-Cola Foundation to advance their sustainability programs, for improving the well-being of communities by implementing projects aligned with The Coca-Cola Company’s sustainability priorities.

Tayo Awards

Kabasalan National High School YES-O (Youth for Environment in Schools Organization) bagged this special award for providing potable water to far-flung communities in Zamboanga, where families have been struggling for decades to access clean water. Through the leadership of Franco Apoyon, Kabasalan NHS YES-O braved rough terrains to reach and educate homes on the importance of sustaining the environment, conserving water and restoring watersheds. After eight years of communicating their youth-led advocacy, Kabasalan NHS YES-O was also declared one of the TAYO 19 awardees.

The winners of TAYO 19 stayed true to this year’s theme, “Aahon Tayo!” that’s by inspiring hope to Filipinos and encouraging them to come together for a better future even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

Tayo Awards

FHMom—a Taguig City-based organization that empowers women, especially mothers, through free webinars and online courses on entrepreneurship, parenting and personal growth—was among the first winners of the TAYO Award. Following their triumph is Kristiano-Islam Peace Library, a non-profit organization that built libraries and provided educational support to Filipino children struck by conflict and poverty.

Supporting the “magpapadyak” of Cagayan de Oro City through income-generating programs secured a TAYO Award for Tabang Sikad, a volunteer-based organization that provides livelihood opportunities for pedicab drivers and their wives. TAYO 19 awardee FarmBox, meanwhile, uplifted the lives of at least 225 local farmers in Calaca, Batangas province, through boxes that helped them gain access to quality farming essentials, agri solutions, digital tools and handbooks.

Tayo Awards

Education, legal and financial aid for underserved communities, students

The student-gamers of Iloilo City saw renewed hope through scholarships granted by San Agustin Golden Eagle Esports, which supported their passions and provided financial aid for their studies. By beating the stigma surrounding the esports community, the organization was recognized as a TAYO 19 awardee.

Sulong! Philippines, another well-deserved winner, helps victim-survivors of sexual harassment and violence achieve justice and healing by providing free legal and psychosocial aid. Similarly, Project Smile and Therawee has been providing children with disabilities and their families access to remote therapy since September 2020.

Acknowledging “vaccine hesitancy” among Filipinos at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alliance of Public Health Advocates won the TAYO 19 award for launching a region-wide vaccine education campaign in Calabarzon.

And as the LGBTQIA+ community in Mindanao continues to face discrimination to this day, Mindanao Pride rose to lead social media campaigns by sharing stories of love, compassion and acceptance in a region wrought by conflict.

The finalists included an organization from Mandaluyong City that initiated educational campaigns on tuberculosis; health and security advocates for women and children in Cagayan de Oro City; youth leaders promoting an environment-friendly society in Agusan del Sur province; a group of education advocates in Marinduque that brought classrooms closer to learners; an Aklan-based project that provided inclusive, relevant and quality education for learners with special educational needs; a group of young leaders that donated books to public schools in Negros Occidental province; a grassroots movement in Mandaue City, Cebu province, that is improving the lives of underserved communities through the use of renewable energy; a non-profit organization that offered farming scholarships for children in Pangasinan; a university student council that initiated educational campaigns that preserve the rich culture of the Ata in Negros Occidental; and a volunteer group in Cagayan province that provided school supplies for hard-to-reach communities.

“TAYO has grown from being more than just an award-giving body; it has also become a bridge for organizations like yours to collaborate and work together for the country. We hope this continues even beyond the awards. I hope that you use this TAYO experience to go beyond good for your members, communities and for your beloved country,” Alcantara told the awardees.

Since 2006, Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines Inc. has been a partner of the TAYO Foundation in recognizing the initiatives of empowered youth organizations striving to create a better, more sustainable future for Filipinos. The award is a testament to Coca-Cola’s support for the country’s young changemakers and its commitment to empower future generations.