Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Sung Y. Kim, Mindanao Youth for Development (MYDev) Project Closeout

Friday, May 3, 2019

[As Prepared]

[Greetings]

I am honored to be with you today to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Mindanao Youth Development Project, or MYDev.

In the Philippines, more than half the population – approximately 50 million people – are under 24 years of age. With such a youthful and energetic population, the Philippines future is bright. With education, skills development, and employment opportunities, the promise of Philippine youth is boundless.

The U.S. government is proud to have partnered with Philippine government agencies led by the Department of Education and TESDA, the local governments, the private sector, and educational institutions to provide opportunities for youth in Mindanao where more than 3 million children and youth are either out of school or out of work. Supporting these young people in realizing their potential will pay dividends for years to come as they will become leaders who shape the country’s future.

I’m impressed by all that was accomplished through MYDev. Together, we provided more than 25,000 youth with life skills, leadership, and technical vocational skills training. More than 4,000 youth completed the alternative learning systems program and are on the path to re-enter the formal education system. Nearly 15,000 youth have certifications in technical-vocational skills from TESDA. And today, more than 6,000 MYDev youth now have new or improved employment. As a result of these efforts, more than 70 percent of MYDev youth have improved outlooks on their communities. This is a story of youth transformation, and the United States, your friend and partner, is proud to have been part of it.

Today, MYDev youth are not just valued members of their communities, they are taking on leadership roles and charting a course for the future of their communities. In the aftermath of the Zamboanga siege, the tragedy of the Jolo fire, and the Marawi crisis, MYDev participants rose to the challenge to help their neighbors and their nation. They used the skills acquired through MYDev training to assume leadership roles and tackle the hardest challenges.

This was definitely a team effort, and the MYDev alliances include dynamic and capable individuals and institutions who selflessly put in their time, effort, and resources to advance our shared goal of improving the lives of Mindanao youth. Partnerships with DepEd, TESDA, other national agencies, local businesses, non-governmental organizations, schools, local government, and the youth themselves – under the banner of the Youth Development Alliance – have delivered some amazing results. The role of the Youth Development Alliances has been instrumental to the program’s success, and plans are in place to sustain this work.

The life skills modules, that I will hand over shortly, were co-developed with DepEd and TESDA and will benefit over 1 million youth on an annual basis.

Thank you to all of our local partners – the hard working barangay captains, mayors, councils, non-governmental organizations, and schools. Without your dedication, these accomplishments would not have been possible.

To our counterparts in the Philippine government: Undersecretary Pascua and DepEd, Deputy Director General Urdaneta and TESDA, and other national government agencies, thank you for being very generous with your resources and expertise, and above all, thank you for the partnership.

To the Education Development Center, represented here by Nancy Devine and the MYDev team led by Dr. Miriam Pahm, thank you for your excellent implementation of a very complex program.

And finally – to the MYDev youth. Your resilience, courage, and determination are inspirational. I have had the opportunity to interact with some of you, who shared that MYDev provided opportunities you never would have otherwise envisioned. According to program alumni, participation in life skills and technical-vocational skills training, alternative learning systems, and community engagement activities provided them with opportunities to go to college, be employed in local hotels and restaurants, or even start their own businesses.

Your passion, perseverance, and hard work have transformed you into what you are today – leaders who can help shape a more stable and resilient future for your communities. I urge you to continue to pursue your dreams as positive change-makers in your societies, and inspire other youth around you.

As a friend, partner and ally, the United States remains committed to supporting you on your journey to a bright and enriching future.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: September 09, 2019

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