Introducing Our Young Leaders

Mindanao 2022

UnionAID warmly welcomes the third cohort of young leaders from Mindanao together with its partners International Alert, Victoria University of Wellington and The New Zealand Embassy, Philippines. The participants come from across Mindanao and represent organisations undertaking diverse civil society work including labour rights, environmental management, indigenous rights, social enterprise, education and community theatre.

Edchamcy (Edward) Abelardo
Upi, Maguindanao

Organization of Teduray and Lambangian Conference (OTLAC)

In addition to being responsible for his organisation’s finances, Edward manages a project that provides humanitarian response to indigenous communities affected by armed conflict and the pandemic. The organisation focuses on the advancement of Non-Moro Indigenous People (IP) in the Bangsamoro region, particularly their right to ancestral land and political participation. As a young IP leader in the community, Edward wants to use his voice to ensure indigenous issues are not side-lined.

Edward wants to explore different ways that indigenous people can campaign for their rights and have their rights heard and upheld.

Yvette Mariz (Yvette) Balayon
Davao City

Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability, Inc. (IDIS)

Yvette’s passion for the environment led her to join the IDIS, an environmental group that advocates for the protection of watersheds in South Central Mindanao, where she works as a knowledge management officer. She is responsible for developing communications materials to raise awareness on various environmental issues particularly the threat to natural sources of clean water and local volunteers protecting conservation areas.

Yvette wants to learn more about climate action and harnessing nature-based solutions to address climate change.

Aylin (Ling) Barrios                          
Bunawan, Agusan del Sur

Panaghiusa Alang sa Kaugalingnan ug Kalingkawasan, Inc. (PASAKK)

Ling organises indigenous women and children through her work as a volunteer social worker with PASAKK. The organisation works to advance the Indigenous Peoples (IP) rights for self-determination through advocacy, indigenous education programs, and cultural preservation efforts. She is currently working on a gender-based violence project that aims to provide legal support to survivors and strengthen child-protection mechanisms in indigenous communities.

Ling is interested in the sustainability of indigenous culture and tradition and the transfer of knowledge to youth, especially in the context of living in a modern society

Dyanne Grace (Dyanne) Cabigas                                           
Malalag, Davao Del Sur

Malalag Tribal Council

Dyanne is an emerging indigenous leader, and Municipal IP Youth Federation President representing youth to the Malalag Tribal Council, the traditional decision-making body of the Tagakaulo tribe. She leads various activities that engage the youth to be more involved in community leadership. Among the projects that Dyanne headed is “Project Dyengeg (Heard)” which aims to address the issue of discrimination against indigenous people.

Dyanne is interested in indigenous rights, the acknowledgement of indigenous people and building the leadership skills and capacity of tribal leaders.

Jonathan (Tan) Gican                                                
Malaybalay City, Bukidnon  

Daraghuyan Tribal Youth Organisation

Tan is an indigenous youth leader from the Bukidnon Tribe and works as a forester for his day job. At the Daraghuyan Tribal Youth Organisation, Tam is a project manager, focused on the preservation of cultural tradition and the environment through community-based projects. Tan leads his organisation as well as conducts area monitoring, reforestation activities, and other environmental projects to protect the remaining rainforests in Mindanao.

Tan is interested in tribal youth empowerment and environmental preservation including reforestation.

Abmel (Bam) Immid                                                      
Zamboanga City 

SUGPAT Program of Ateneo de Zamboanga University

Bam heads the education component of the SUGPAT Program, which aims to strengthen the government’s Alternative Learning System (ALS), a parallel learning system that provides opportunities for out-of-school youth and adult (OSYA) learners to develop basic and functional literacy skills, and to access equivalent pathways to complete basic education. He oversees the enhancement of learning materials by making sure its content is up to date, appropriate, and interactive.

Bam is passionate about out-of-school youth and is very keen to gain a greater understanding of what is behind this complex issue.

Vernon Kenny (Vernon) Jimera                                            
Zamboanga City

Dulaang Crimson

Vernon is the creative director and founder of Dulaang Crimson, an organisation that channels his advocacy and engages with young people through the performing arts. He oversees all their activities and collaborates with a variety of organisations to tackle issues facing his community, with a particular focus on the rights and welfare of disabled people.

Vernon would like to learn how youth can empower each other – especially out-of-school and disabled youth..

Sittie Asia (Asia) Mai                                   
Ditsa-an Ramain, Lanao del Sur

Mushroom for Change

Asia is the founder and managing director at Mushroom for Change, a social enterprise that provides alternative livelihood through mushroom production. The youth-led project provides an alternative source of income to internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the Marawi siege. As the managing director, she would like to develop her knowledge and skills in social enterprise. She aims to scale up their operation and reach more underprivileged families in Lanao del Sur.

Asia is keen to gain a deeper understanding about the issue of armed conflict and its consequences.

Ariana Olar                                                                      
Davao City

Nonoy Librado Development Foundation, Inc. (NLDF)

Ariana is a project manager and gender focal person at the NLDF, an organisation that provides services and support to labour unions in Mindanao. As well as being responsible for the successful delivery of their services, she also serves as the gender focal person and ensures that issues and struggles of women and LGBTQIA+ in the workforce are given ample attention.

Ariana is interested in different approaches to the safeguarding of workers’ rights, particularly on the best practices of trade unions in New Zealand.

Nur-murkin (Kin) Usman
Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

Inspiration, Ideas, Innovation (3i)

Kin is the chairperson and co-founder of 3i, an organisation composed of young professionals and students who want to make a change in the community through volunteering. His organisation tackles issues on limited access to quality education and decent livelihood in their community. Kin headed “Project Read” which aims to assist young learners who are experiencing difficulties in reading.

Promotion of children’s right to quality education especially those who lives in far-flung communities