Over two months, the U.S. Peace Corps and the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) trained leaders from 79 local government units (LGUs) across 12 provinces to strengthen volunteerism as a tool to meet local development priorities.
The series of trainings held from August to September equipped participants with knowledge and skills to mainstream volunteerism by adopting local laws and establishing provincial volunteerism councils, among other actions. Some LGU participants, such as the Provincial Government of Pangasinan, are already in the final stages of passing a provincial volunteerism ordinance and establishing a volunteerism center of excellence.
The Australian Volunteers Program, Voluntary Service Overseas, France Volunteers, the Global Initiative for Exchange and Development, and the Korean International Cooperation Agency also joined the trainings alongside LGU representatives from Luzon and Visayas.
“Volunteerism is alive and well in the Philippines. With the leadership and know-how of LGUs, it can be a powerful tool for achieving community-level development,” said U.S. Peace Corps Country Director Jenner Edelman during one of the workshops.
“Volunteerism is a way of life, and it is the government’s role to create an enabling environment for volunteerism and institutionalize it as a development strategy for both provincial-level development and nation-building,” added PNVSCA Executive Director Donald James Gawe, the driving force behind the trainings and the agency’s strategic focus on strengthening national volunteerism.
The U.S. Peace Corps is an American volunteer organization that has deployed more than 9,300 volunteers to requesting host communities in the country since 1961. Peace Corps volunteers will be returning to the Philippines in January 2023 to support PNVSCA and LGU partners in mainstreaming volunteerism in Filipino communities, among other locally identified priorities.