The Bangsamoro IIC: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future was organized to jumpstart youth as change-makers by inviting young individuals to identify problem areas and a set of solutions that will allow them to meaningfully engage in positive change community transformation and development in the Bangsamoro Region.
BYC Chairperson Marjanie Mimbantas Macasalong stressed that the ideas of the BARMM youth could make a positive impact on their communities: "You are all here because you have the capacity to come together and create new modes of thinking and bring words into actions to promote peace from the perspective of the youth. Moreover, you all already have a vast wealth of knowledge and experiences worthy of sharing and are already leaders and change-makers in your own way."
Twenty-seven (27) qualifying teams underwent the Unfold: Project Development Bootcamp last 16-18 October 2021, an interactive learning activity where participants were provided tips and tools to enhance their projects through 14 curated sessions co-designed with BYC, UNDP Philippines and Makesense Philippines.
On November 17-20, 2021, 19 teams advanced to the Baraguna: Mentors Convergence and the Sindaw: Project Showcase, where they pitched their solutions to a panel of judges. "The idea that struck me the most is that we have to open our mind to the choices of possible solutions for the communities without disregarding the consideration of what is feasible and most impactful for them," participant Fatima Marwa Alih Fadzlulkarim shared.
The judges selected five teams that demonstrated potential sustainability through entrepreneurship and won a special award of Php 25,000 each from UNDP's Youth Co:Lab Project. The winning teams will be incubated in UNDP's Regional Springboard Programme, which supports youth-led social enterprises to scale up their projects, guide financial sustainability, and measure and manage their impact on livelihoods and communities.
Among the Bangsamoro IIC - UNDP Youth Co:Lab winners are N'ditarun Tano, which aims to build entrepreneurial skills and change the world one start-up at a time; Reyousable Is Possible, which aims to strengthen the call for environmental awareness by reducing plastic pollution; Responsive and Proactive - Youth Serving Organization, which aims to bring the beauty of Tahmu making to the youth and spread of native practices; Proyouthactive Philippines, which aims to help single mothers in need through extending entrepreneurship education and financial independence through businesses; and Kakasie-Youth Serving Organization, which aims to eradicate the systemic problems of waste disposal through a coastal clean-up drive for communities.
Hannan T. Arab of United Group of Active Youth Association, Inc shared how empowering the experience was, "This was a life-changing and memorable experience. Thank you for providing an avenue for us to break barriers. I realized so many things. I feel that I am not alone. Our [youth] efforts are being acknowledged and supported."
Participants who won the entrepreneurial award expressed gratitude and the importance of forwarding solutions for their communities. "I know this is only one of the many efforts done to engage our youth, and I am more than honored to be a part of the movement towards positive change. Sa mga kabataan, do not stop living your life for others because a life lived for others is a life worth living," said Fatima Marwa Alih Fadzlulkarim of Responsive and Proactive - Youth Serving Organization.
Ammar Cayongcat of N'ditarun Tano added that "When you believe in yourself that you can do it, sometimes even a small effort will be magnified when implemented in the community."
UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran urged all the participants of the Bangsamoro IIC to "engage in discussions on issues that matter to you and use your voice to tell your stories to your fellow youth and others; and encourage and empower your fellow youth, work with like-minded people, and influence those who have yet to know about youth empowerment. Use your voice wisely, continue the work to reach the farthest first, and "leave no one behind."
The Bangsamoro IIC has become a platform for youth empowerment and leadership in the region and contributed to developing narratives of peaceful engagement, respect for diversity, and positive social transformation among youth leaders in the BARMM. The organizers hope that the IIC will continue to foster youth-led entrepreneurship, social innovation, and leadership and encourage all stakeholders to engage young leaders in all aspects of development.