Public high school students, Alternative Learning System (ALS) learners, and representatives from the local government, various businesses and civil society organizations (CSOs), gathered virtually on the 5th of February as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – Philippines and Plan International Philippines hold an event to showcase youth’s vision and solutions for Quezon City’s sustainable development.
The event, titled ‘QC 2030: Youth’s Vision and Solutions for the Future’ also served as the culminating activity of the “Our City 2030: Youth Vision and Solutions” project, a three year initiative in partnership with the local government of Quezon City and Schools Division Office. Launched in January 2018, Our City 2030 is a collaboration between WWF-Sweden and Plan International Sweden and simultaneously implemented together with three East African countries namely Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. The project provided a platform for the youth to be engaged in urban development of their home cities by creating roadmaps towards 1.5C trajectories including mitigation and adaptation solutions on sustainable planning.
Attended by more than 200 registered participants, the online event was hosted by WWF-Philippines National Youth Ambassador Robi Domingo and officially began with opening remarks from WWF-Philippines Executive Director Katherine Custodio and PLAN International Country Director Ana Maria Locsin.
WWF-Philippines, Our City 2030 Project Manager, Imee Bellen shared processes and results of the project since its inception, highlighting the array of key outcomes in the engagements of selected high school students, ALS learners, teachers including SPED educators, parents, youth leaders and city officials. This was followed by a discussion on the role of youth and education with Plan International Philippines Project Coordinator Marie Kristy Amador emphasizing the importance of leadership as an invaluable aspect of young people in terms of their capacity to assist the community and city like in disaster risk reduction management. Thereafter, the WWF-Philippines Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Program Manager, Dino Calderon held a short presentation amplifying the role education towards sustainability through the new learning concept that develop skills, knowledge, attitudes, values and action competencies.
A short visual presentation allowed few student facilitators of the “Our City 2030” project to share their learnings and experiences in their participation to the project as well as the enhanced vision statement of these youth for Quezon City by 2030 that put more details on transportation, health, socio-economy, education, security and leadership sectors.
Days before the culminating activity, a total of seven solutions developed by the youth were exhibited online for public voting of their top three solutions. These most voted youth ideas are: (1) An online news app called QuteC, which aims to make current events digestible for the youth while filtering out fake news; (2) a clean up drive and workshop titled Clean, Clean, Clean, that aimed to streamline regular cleanup activities; and the (3) Commuter’s Haven, a proposal for redesigned bus and PUV stops that are well-kept, prioritize safety and are made from recycled materials. Presentations of these top three solutions were done by the student representatives from Judge Feliciano and Justice Cecilia Munoz-Palma High School, respectively.
A panel of Quezon City officials were invited for a live dialogue with the student presenters. Present were Councilor Dorothy Delarmente, Education Affairs Unit Head, Ally Medalla, EPWMD Head Andrea Villaroman, Youth Development Office Head, Maricris Laureta as well as Dr. Maria Teresa Namoro, Chief of Schools Governance and Operations Division of Quezon City Schools Division Office. Students impressed the panel with their developed solutions while also responding to the clarifications raised by each panel member. They were also able to express their sentiments on the need of support from the city government to further enhance their ideas and realistically achieve the goal of their innovations.
“I had a great time with my group mates and my batch mates when we thought of our solution [based] from the vision and roadmaps of our batch–we were able to get along as we were the same age and had similar ideas. During the presentation, we were really nervous that the panelists might ask us difficult questions but we managed to get through it because of our unity as a team”, said Daniella Arca, a Grade 9 student from Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma High School and one of the student presenters.
With the solutions of the participating youths of the Our City 2030 project now presented, the role now falls on the local government to consider and incorporate them into their city plans. Words of support were offered by the Quezon City government through Councilor Delarmente and Quezon City SDO Superintendent Dr. Jennilyn Rose Corpuz, CESO VI.
“We hope to mitigate the impacts of climate change through the power of the youth. This project aims to contribute to the creation of climate smart and sustainable cities. We recognize the need to provide young people with more platforms to participate in the process of climate change,” shared Quezon City District I Councilor Hon. Dorothy Delarmente, on behalf of Quezon City Mayor Hon. Joy Belmonte.
“I am fascinated by the level of collaboration of the stakeholders in this program from different sectors, from the local government to the learning institutions and even individuals who are education advocates. As they say, there is strength in numbers, and as the number continues to grow, so too does the push towards achieving the goal of education on sustainable development through the city,” added Dr. Corpuz.
To cap off the event, an award ceremony was held to recognize the Top 3 Most Innovative Solutions and to also appreciate the unwavering support of the local government and academic partners of the “Our City 2030” project from June 2018 until February 2021. Closing messages followed after from WWF-Philippines’ Head of Climate and Energy Programme Atty. Angela Ibay, EPWMD Head Andrea Villaroman, and QC-SDO Dr. Maria Teresa Namoro, thanking everyone involved in the project and emphasizing the role of the youth in the journey towards sustainability.
Future city planning will need to consider sustainability as the effects of climate change continue to take their toll. As the Philippines moves into the future, the youth are prepared to meet the environmental challenges that face the places that they call home. Support WWF-Philippines, and help build a fair and sustainable future for all.