Last Friday, 25 October 2019, the Youth Co:Lab together with its project co-leads, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Citi Foundation in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management - Dado Banatao Incubator (AIM-DBI) launched the Youth Social Innovation Dialogue which aims to gather the ideas of the youth when it comes to social innovation. The group’s understanding on how to move forward towards the fulfillment of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was also tackled in the said event.
Various groups from different sectors were present in the dialogue - youth leaders, social entrepreneurs, and youth representatives for the marginalized sector. The dialogue also welcomed several organizations that drive the youth force on taking action just like the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange (APYE). Series of talks regarding youth and social innovation in the Philippines were shared. Most of the groups present in the dialogue such as the AIM-DBI and Youth Co:Lab team lead discussions about how they can significantly contribute to social innovation and meaningful societal changes.
Sharing of experiences and best practices was also done among the dialogue attendees. The youth representatives from the war-torn city of Marawi in Lanao Del Sur shared how Social Innovation has helped their once a devastated community by focusing on their culture of weaving. They decided to use it as the strength of the community which then provided jobs for the women of Marawi. This weaving industry that they revived is now locally and internationally known and the demand for it continuously grows.
Consequently, the talk on Youth Social Innovation opened the floor for APYE Empowered Champions - Eka Meñez, Dionela Bigcas, Bella Del Rio, and JJ Punzalan to share APYE’s efforts on empowering the youth to drive the SDGs into action. The dialogue allowed the youth leaders, innovators, and youth from the marginalized sectors to gather together and be able to express their call for change through the SDGs. The sharing encouraged the diverse group of young people to ask questions, find answers, and create action points as they continue to move forward in realizing their potentials in achieving the SDGs.
The last part of the program focused on Youth and Innovation in general. In this part of the dialogue, the attendees formed a big circle where they had a discourse on social innovation by asking a series of questions that are relevant to the role of youth in social innovation and SDGs. The Philippine Federation of the Deaf from Benguet, Cordillera Administrative Region also raised a concern in the middle of the discussions. They pointed out an idea as to how the deaf community may see the essence of the SDGs. They sought advice on how they can make the deaf community more knowledgeable about the SDGs.
The Youth Social Innovation Dialogue and the AIM-DBI concluded the dialogue with a simple game that tied all the participants towards a strong partnership. They let all the youth leaders and representatives to untangle a knot without letting go of each others’ hands. As simple as this activity seemed, the exercise reminded everyone in the room how the SDG 17 - Partnerships for Goals bonds all people in the aim of achieving the 2030 agenda.