Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Home » ALTEC Events » Kaya Initiatives: Empowering Zamboanga City’s Out-of-School Youth Through Participatory Research

Kaya Initiatives: Empowering Zamboanga City’s Out-of-School Youth Through Participatory Research

Written by Bam Immid
Photos taken by Fouad Arakama

Group photo after the first round of interviews held on March 4, 2023 at Philippine Coconut Authority – Zamboanga Research Center.

Kaya Initiatives is a youth-led, participatory action research project that aims to understand why young people in Zamboanga City aged 15-24, leave school. It was launched last January 21, 2023 through a project orientation. This session also emphasized the significance of child safeguarding as well as gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) throughout the project’s duration.

Subsequently, the team reconvened to finalize the criteria for the selection of participants and co-developed the program design for the data-gathering procedure with the out-of-school youth (OSY) that will be engaged.

Ms Sheila Tiong RGC, AdZU CO Guidance and Counseling Office Director, making sure the team is equipped with the basic attending and PFA skills.

In preparation for the next steps of the project, the team members of Kaya Initiatives underwent a session on basic attending skills and psychological first aid (PFA). Through this training, they were equipped with the minimum knowledge and skills needed to make sure the participants are comfortable during the data collection procedure and that they feel safe doing so. The training was facilitated by Ms. Sheila L. Tiong, RGC, the Director of Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) College Guidance and Counseling Office.

As the major activities of the phase 1 implementation of Kaya Initiatives drew nearer, the team participated in a conversation on research ethics and the roles and responsibilities they can take in the research process. It was facilitated by Dr. Marjorie S. Emmanuel, Chair of the Professional Education Department of AdZU School of Education.

Dr Marjoie S Emmanuel met with the Kaya Initiatives for a conversation about research ethics before the data gathering began.

From March 4-10, a total of four (4) rounds of interview was carried out by the Kaya Initiatives Team to understand the factors why young people aged 15-24 in Zamboanga City leave school. Their meaningful conversations allowed the team to gather substantial information related to the development challenge the project is trying to address. All these were conducted through the support of the Philippine Coconut Authority – Zamboanga Research Center, and Barangay Local Government Units of Zone II and Divisoria through their respective Sanggunian Kabataan Councils, for providing the team with the space to conduct the interviews.

Fadz Asarud, one of the Kaya Initiatives Team members, interview a participant from Barangay Zone II.

Group photo with the participants and team at the Barangay Hall of Zone II after the round of interview conducted.

In order to establish the reliability of the interpretations and findings derived from the collected data, the participants were convened. The analysis of the data collected was presented to them, affording them the opportunity to validate the analysis.

Kaya Initiatives concluded its phase 1 implementation through a design thinking workshop with the participating OSYs to co-develop an action plan for the challenges that out-of-school youth in Zamboanga City face.

To share a few, when prompted with the question: “how might we enable the OSY in Zamboanga City to return to school”, they offered the following responses:

  1. Implementation of a comprehensive anti-bullying initiative within schools to create a secure environment upon their return.
  2. Delivery of teenage pregnancy prevention programs aimed at equipping young individuals with an understanding of the implications associated with teenage pregnancy.
  3. Establishment of supportive mechanisms that enable them to balance work commitments with their studies, ensuring neither aspect is compromised.

The result of Phase 1 was presented by the Program Manager, Bam Immid, to UnionAid and other partners during his 10-week academic residency in New Zealand from April-June 2023. During this period, he also had the opportunity to evaluate and draw insights from various initiatives that support out-of-school youth achieve their dreams and aspirations in life.

Program Manager Bam Immid, presenting the wins of Kaya Initiatives Phase 1 at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand as part of his 10-week participation in the Mindanao Young Leaders Programme – SDC Part II.

The rich data collected and the newly acquired perspectives will not only enrich the research report but also inform the team on what projects they should undertake with and for the out-of-school youth in the upcoming second phase of the Kaya Initiative, slated for the forthcoming months.

Kaya, as an initiative, aims to empower out-of-school youth in believing that they can achieve their dreams regardless of the circumstances provided they are given the right guidance and support by the community they are surrounded with.

Kaya Initiatives is a youth-led and volunteer-driven participatory action project implemented by the Ateneo Learning and Teaching Excellence Center – SUGPAT Program funded by UnionAID’s Mindanao Young Leaders Programme with support of the Aotearoa New Zealand’s International Development Cooperation Programme.

The phase 1 implementation is in partnership with the Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP) – Zamboanga City Federation with the support of The Beacon Publications of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Game Night Production Co., and IT monsters.