US, PHL celebrate partnership for out-of-school youth

USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II and Jacquelyn Yurag, a former out-of-school youth from Parang, Maguindanao hang a lit lamp on the Life Skills Tree symbolizing the guidance and support the youth received from USAID during the end of the project event for USAID’s Mindanao Youth for Development Program.

Manila – The U.S. and Philippine governments celebrated the successful conclusion of the six-year, Php832-million Mindanao Youth for Development (MYDev) project. 

The partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Education (DepEd), and 11 local government units across Mindanao expanded access to education, provided life skills training, and provided employment opportunities for more than 25,000 out-of-school youth in Mindanao.

The completion ceremony, led by USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, DepEd Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat, and TESDA Deputy Director General Rosanna Urdaneta, drew over 150 key stakeholders, including government officials, private sector partners, and youth beneficiaries. 

Since 2013, USAID’s MYDev programs have prepared Mindanaoan youth for work or continuing education and promoted self-reliance, positive community engagement, and resiliency. 

Almost 15,000 youth obtained national certifications from TESDA for technical-vocational courses, and more than 4,000 completed DepED’s Alternative Learning Systems (ALS) program.  As a result of the project, more than 6,000 vulnerable youth have new or improved employment.

USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II hands over the life skills modules to (L-R) DepEd Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat and TESDA Deputy Director Rosanna Urdaneta during the completion ceremonies of USAID’s Mindanao Youth for Development program in Makati City.

MYDev also generated more than Php50 million in funding from local partners, including local businesses, to support and sustain productive opportunities for out-of-school youth.

In his address, Director Hardy commended the youth as “leaders who help shape a more stable and resilient future for their communities.”

During the ceremony, the U.S. government also turned over life skills modules developed by Boston-based Education Development Center to strengthen work readiness skills, leadership ability, and resilience of youth.  DepED and TESDA will incorporate the life skills modules into ALS and technical-vocational training this school year and implement the training nationwide.