United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director Rebecca Eubanks led the launch of new partnerships for youth empowerment, civil society engagement, and health during a visit to Bohol from July 25 to 27.
Deputy Mission Director Eubanks also met with local government officials to discuss key issues such as economic recovery, good governance, and healthcare access in Bohol. USAID’s Cities Development Initiative advances the development of cities outside Metro Manila as inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and resilient engines of growth.
To support the province’s economic recovery, USAID and the Philippine Business for Education launched a partnership with the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to train more than 600 unemployed and out-of-school youth in fields such as agriculture, fisheries, and tourism. “The BCCI network of companies offers the youth access to a range of opportunities for personal and professional growth,” Deputy Mission Director Eubanks said. “More importantly, the skills they can learn will help them develop into productive employees, community changemakers, and future leaders who will help steer the country’s economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.”
Deputy Mission Director Eubanks also met members of Tagbilaran City’s Youth Development Alliance and joined 80 out-of-school youth beneficiaries at a mangrove planting activity. Present in 15 cities across the Philippines with the support of USAID, Youth Development Alliances are multisectoral partnerships that connect out-of-school youth to local businesses for employment and to other organizations for further education and entrepreneurship opportunities.
USAID also participated in the launch of Tagbilaran City’s civil society organization (CSO) desk and its peer mentoring program “Adopt-a-CSO.” Under this mentoring program, bigger and more established CSOs will help smaller CSOs register or acquire local government accreditation. Additionally, USAID trained 50 CSO and city government representatives in creating safe spaces for respectful processing and consensus building, contributing to a culture of effective engagement between local governments and CSOs. “Bringing government closer to citizens allows people to participate more effectively in local affairs, including the identification of community priorities,” Deputy Mission Director Eubanks said. “Local leaders can be held increasingly accountable for decisions that affect citizens’ lives, thus reinforcing the people’s faith in the legitimacy of the political system.”
USAID also trained 25 nurses and midwives in Bohol on family planning and distributed family planning information material to rural health units in the province.
For the past 60 years, USAID has worked with the Philippine government and local organizations to achieve shared development goals, investing more than Php 247.5 billion ($5.1 billion) to support the Philippines since 1961.