On December 3, the U.S. Peace Corps and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) marked the conclusion of the Training of Trainers for Regional Youth Development Sessions held over the past three weeks.
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. This peer-training model will ultimately benefit more than 1,000 youth in Nueva Ecija.
These 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.
“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 during the closing ceremony.
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.
In the absence of volunteers due to the pandemic, Peace Corps is devoting all other available resources to assisting DSWD and other partners in responding to and recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.