Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, June 15, 2021 — The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, together with Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) alumni, Limitless Lab, and the Municipal Government of Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, launched the Bayanivation project in Del Carmen through a design thinking bootcamp at the Surigao State College of Technology – Del Carmen Campus held from June 2 to 4. While following COVID-19 protocols, 38 youth leaders and 12 local government personnel participated in the bootcamp and formulated innovative projects to support fisherfolks’ livelihoods.
“The pandemic had a severe impact on our fisherfolks, with most restaurants and resorts closed, and many daily wage earners losing their jobs. The price of fish went down due to the absence of commercial and household buyers,” said Del Carmen Vice Mayor Alfredo Coro II. But with the Bayanivation project, Vice Mayor Coro hopes to see fresh ideas from the youth of Del Carmen on how to revive and sustain their fisheries sector.
Throughout the three-day Bayanivation bootcamp, YSEALI alumni experts in design-thinking, project management, and community organizing led workshops and mentoring sessions for the participants. As a result, participants formulated marketing and livelihood projects for people engaged in the fisheries sector of the municipality.
The local government of Del Carmen will fund three projects with seed grants of Php20,000 (approximately $418) each for implementation, while YSEALI alumni and Limitless Lab will provide continued mentorship. These projects include organizing a small-scale night market where fisherfolks can directly sell to local customers, a social media-based online market, and the production of organic fertilizers from fish wastes that fisherfolks can supply to farms.
Bayanivation is a project that introduces innovation and digital transformation in local government units’ services and programs in the Philippines. Its proponents are YSEALI alumni who received funding support from the U.S. Department of State’s 2019 U.S. Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund. Other local government units that participated in the Bayanivation Project are Pasig City and Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.
Since its launch in 2013, YSEALI has provided Southeast Asian youth leaders with educational and cultural exchanges with the United States and Southeast Asian countries, seed funding for innovative project ideas, and training programs on civic engagement, sustainable development, education, and economic growth. It has grown to become a network of more than 150,000 youth leaders in Southeast Asia, including 28,000 in the Philippines.