Our organization has launched the second edition of SDGs with KBs, also known as Sustainable Development Goals with Kabataang Boluntaryo, emphasizing digital engagement. For this year’s SDGs with KBs Online Activation, a new program has been set up called Faces and Stories of SDGs, where readers will have an in-depth perspective of what it’s like to be an SDG champion, expert, and advocate. This will give them 360 degrees of their work for their respective communities, the challenges they have overcome, and the call for a better 2030.
For the first entry of Faces and Stories of SDGs, we interviewed KBs Alyssa, Madeline, Michelle, Mariel, and Jaylon. We asked them about their personal and organizational initiatives for a good cause and movement towards achieving the SDGs. We also interviewed them about their motivations to be part of this movement, together with their call to action to our fellow youth.
Alyssa Yddeth P. Cruz
Alyssa is a student who volunteers for the achievement of global goals. She first learned the SDG from a 24-hour event program of Archipelago Rising. This later encouraged her to acknowledge the SDGs and to participate in a youth organization. She believed that volunteering her time and talent will help her to master her skills and to give back. Currently, Alyssa is part of SKBP’s Marketing and Public Relations Committee and became part of the organizing committee of SKBP’s flagship projects.
Alyssa emphasized that the SDGs are significant and non-negotiable. She is passionately working on SDG 15 or Life on Land. In December 2020, DENR-DOST Clonal Nursery invited her team and distributed seedlings of vegetables for planting. Due to the ongoing mass lockdown, this initiative faced the challenge of being disrupted or canceled. Despite this, Alyssa and her team managed to distribute the seedlings to their team members and were able to grow food in their backyard. This not only allows their initiative to continue despite the pandemic but also provided a source of food to their team members’ families.
When asked which SDG should we focus on during this pandemic, Alyssa reiterated almost all SDGs. The lack of access to healthcare or SDG 3 should be the first and foremost priority. “We face potentially alarming setbacks not only from the virus and diseases but also from the effects of gaps in vaccination campaigns”, Alyssa stated, believing that mass vaccination will lower the daily cases of COVID-19 and encourage everyone eligible to be vaccinated. This is followed by zero hunger (SDG 2) and eliminating poverty (SDG 1) brought by high unemployment rates since last year
“The pandemic has highlighted the digital gap and the entitlement to internet access, especially for people living in rural areas”, Alyssa shared that the setup of distance learning is anti-poor because of the limited access to the internet and gadgets to use for an online class. She also calls on the importance of having our human rights protected and making law equal for everyone.
As an SDG advocate and volunteer, she encourages the youth to share their skills, time, and talent, and to be enlightened about different problems that we are experiencing. She also calls for everyone to get involved in the achievement of global goals. “It is never too late to volunteer, to help, to encourage and to educate others. ALL FOR THE FILIPINOS!!”
Michelle T. Cillo
Michelle first learned the SDGs inside the classroom from her Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) Teacher. When she first heard it, she was amazed at how comprehensive it is since it tackles socioeconomic development, ecological sustainability, and economic growth. Despite this agenda and roadmap available, she is still bothered by how we, the Philippines, can meet these goals by 2030. Because of this, Michelle joined Samahan ng Kabataang Boluntaryo ng Pilipinas (SKBP) and is currently part of the organizing committee of of SDGs with KBs Online Activation.
Aside from being a volunteer, Michelle is also a freshman student who entered the academic year on distance learning. “I have high hopes for how my university career will begin. Those new career goals and supposedly new experiences like meeting new people and studying in a new environment. Pandemic is, without a doubt, the greatest impediment to my expectations.” Michelle stated that the current education setup had disrupted many opportunities for her to meet new people and grow. Despite this, Michelle focused on other things, such as working out, mapping her goals, and communicating with friends virtually. She also volunteered in different initiatives of the upcoming SDGs with KBs Online Activation. She believes that SDG 3 or Good Health and Well-Being should not be set aside, especially during the ongoing mass lockdowns.
When asked about which SDG the government should focus on towards recovery, she emphasized SDG 8 or Decent Work and Economic Growth since the COVID-19 outbreaks led to job losses and loss of a source of income. She also calls on a strategic and comprehensive plan to mitigate this challenge.
Michelle shared insights on how we can involve more stakeholders towards the achievement of the SDGs. “We can start by simply sharing what we’ve learned or what we know as well as the things/goals they should be aware of. It can help them to be involved, share their own opinions, and we can do great things and action together that can help shape the future.”
Madeline Christielle D. Mendigo
Just like Michelle, Madeline also first heard about the SDGs from her Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) teacher. She then browsed the internet for laws and actions made by the government and represented by the United Nations (UN) and attended webinars to understand the SDGs better. Currently, she is part of the organizing committee of SDGs with KBs Online Activation.
“My future and the future of the next generation also depends on how we act now with regards to these social issues; I believe that if we manage to reach the goals stated, our future will be much brighter.” Madeline knew how important the SDGs are and how it affects our present and future. Because of this, Madeline chose the SDG 12 or Responsible Consumption and Production, and practiced living sustainably. She is a responsible consumer who looks for ways to cut down her waste, ecological footprints, and look for sustainable alternatives.
When asked which SDGs should the government prioritize, she instantly said the SDG3 or Good Health & Well-Being and SDG 16 or Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. She also highlighted that collaboration will make work easier and will help us achieve the 17 global goals, together with right voting. “We must vote for the right leader who will inspire people to take action.” If you haven’t registered to vote for May 2022 elections, you may visit this site and register.
Mariel Precious Joy C. Gardose
Marielle is an educator who discovered the SDGs while browsing the internet to look for possible solutions in response to the challenges of the 21st century. “SDGs are like roadmaps that will guide us to the final destination, which is a sustainable solution,” Mariel stated. She added on the benefits of learning the importance of SDG in all aspects of our lives, “Progressive society that will not only benefit the future generation but the present generation as well.” Currently, Mariel is a Global Schools Advocate and part of the organizing committee of SDGs with KBs Online Activation.
As an educator herself, she advocates for SDG 4 or Quality Education in the Philippines. She believes in the capacity of every young person. However, she also emphasized that as our society recognizes the role of the youth, there are still those who are deprived of this opportunity. A call for a quality education alone is one of the difficulties that every educator faces as well.
When asked how she will respond to this issue, her answer calls for collective and collaborative efforts from different stakeholders, including parents.
Concerning the challenges faced by each SDG during COVID-19, she emphasized SDG 3, or the Good Health and Well-being. Health should be the foremost priority, affecting everything. As the number of cases on mental health issues continues to increase, she highlights the urgency of this health issue and a call for action and the improvement of the health care facilities.
Marielle, an SDG 4 advocate, and educator believe in youth’s role in introducing the SDGs to their peers and allowing them to get involved. As an educator herself, she believes that raising awareness and allowing the youth to transform their ideas into actions will improve our society.
Jaylon is a Nueva Ecija Provincial Coordinator of SKBP’s Central Luzon. He first learned about SDGs from SKBP, and since then, he has been part of the different organizing committees for SKBP’s flagship projects. Aside from this, Jaylon is also the President of his school’s organization called U-PEERS. His organization has organized different activities for students, such as Mindfulness Exercises for Students, and Promoting SOGIE Diversity, Inclusion and Equality in Building a Safer Community, to name a few.
Jaylon is an advocate of SDG 5 or Gender Equality, and SDG 3 or Good Health and Well-being and is working to break the stigma in his school. He is championing SDG 5 by being part of discussions, creating webinars for his schoolmates, and raising awareness about gender equality and mental health. “SKBP helped me to grow more. I feel like I’m in SKBP for such a long time.” He also mentioned that the opportunities that the SKBP has been giving him allowed him to develop his leadership skills further. He also encourages everyone to get involved and be part of the organization as this will make our action towards achieving global goals better. “With volunteerism, we are getting nearer our goals. SDG is something we can share with the next generations”, Jaylon added.
Jaylon believed that SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being should be prioritized during the pandemic. He also mentioned that the healthcare frontliners and essential workers should be at the forefront in recovery. “We should focus on front liners’ welfare and prioritize the battle against virus using science and medicine. It’s a battle of life and death. Our frontliners are our heroes at the front line.”
He believed that raising awareness and educating our peers about SDGs should not be a tiresome duty, emphasizing the importance of support groups and organizations. “Not everyone knows about the SDGs, so we should cooperate and collaborate to reach and educate more people. We should also focus on academic institutions because we, the youth, have a lot of ideas and talents.”
Interested to learn more about SDGs? Or are you looking for an organization that will help you develop your leadership skills and advance the SDGs? Our organization will have an SDG with KBs Hour where participants can learn the ABCs of SDGs, and get insights from SDG champions, experts, and advocates. This event will be held on October 29-31, 2021, and will be live-streamed on SKBP’s official Facebook Page.
This blog is written by Celestil Bernas, and Rica Mae Butlay of Samahan ng Kabataang Boluntaryo ng Pilipinas’ SDGs with KBs Online Activation, and Clarisse Joy Mañabat of Samahan ng Kabataang Boluntaryo ng Pilipinas, and Conversations to the World.
Connect with Samahan ng Kabataang Boluntaryo ng Pilipinas through their Social Media Channels below.