Enabling Possibilities and Championing Peace Through Youth

Enabling Possibilities and Championing Peace Through Youth

“Composing the music, playing the instruments and performing the dance” is how Jeanyline Alvarado describes her work in peacebuilding and her need to multitask in implementing the projects in which she is involved. Jeanyline is an alumna of MPI’s 2013 Annual Peacebuilding Training, having taken the course Strengthening Peace Education Training Skills. She works at Southern Christian College (SCC) in Midsayap, Cotabato, as the Community Development Coordinator under the Office of the Vice President for Research and Extension in the Office of the Director for Extension. 

Jeanyline has been very involved in the SCC Peace and Tri-People Dialogue Project. She has worked with Agenda 1: Transformative Education and Peace, which focuses on the youth. These youth come from SCC partner communities and organizations, such as the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement and Balay Rehabilitation Center.

One particular focus within this project is the Summer Institute for Peace and Development Motivators (SIPDM), a month-long training program every year. Jeanyline and others from SCC believe youth are the future leaders of the society.  SIPDM will prepare these young people to be responsible citizens and leaders in their communities.

SIPDM began in the year 2000 during the Estrada administration in response to the “All-Out War” in Mindanao between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Over 1,000 military and civilians were killed and between 755,000 and one million civilians were displaced, including those in the SCC partner communities. Most of the victims were women and children. Students were not able to continue their studies and life was disrupted. It was out of this crisis, through the leadership of Dr. Erlinda Nable Senturias, that SIPDM was born.

The program was formed to help develop a culture of peace and develop conflict resolution skills among the young “Tri-Peoples” (Indigenous Peoples, Muslims or Bangsamoro and Mindanao Migrant Settlers). SIPDM became the venue where they could heal their wounds and reconcile the discrimination between different tribes and peoples. SIPDM attempts to create a microcosm of Mindanao with the Tri-Peoples’ Youth, where peace is possible, where there is no discrimination, and where there are no walls between each other.

Jeanyline was herself a product of SIPDM in 2002. This is when her love for peacebuilding work started and flourished. She had completed a Bachelor of Secondary Education/Mathematics and believes that if she had not had the experience of SIPDM, she would have become a teacher confined to the four walls of the classroom.

The objectives of SIPDM are classified into four components of peace: peace within oneself, peace with others, peace with God, and peace with the environment. SIPDM includes courses on the culture of peace, understanding personal peace, concepts of conflict, basics on conflict resolution and transformation, understanding human rights, understanding the Tri-Peoples’ cultures, gender rights, and the environment. The youth also participate in an exchange between communities through community immersions/exposures. This is often the most memorable experience during the program whose goal is to reduce discrimination and bring about healing and reconciliation.

All participants develop reentry plans for their communities based on existing concerns. These plans are then presented to barangay officials (local government officials) or leaders in their communities or organizations. Sometimes this is successful, but some have shared that their plans are not always welcomed by barangay officials.

Jeanyline AlvaradoJeanyline is also involved in organizing SIPDM alumni who are studying at SCC. These organized SIPDM alumni at SCC, in turn, assist other SIPDM alumni in their communities. SCC also now conducts follow-up activities and monitoring and evaluation of what is happening in the communities.

Before being employed by SCC, Jeanyline had already volunteered with SIPDM. She served as a member of the secretariat. In working full time with SCC, she teaches peace education. While SPIDM has outside facilitators, Jeanyline will step in to handle courses, particularly human rights and the rights of the child. Her continued work with SIPDM nourishes her love for peacebuilding and community work at SCC to the point that she has forgotten her desire for stable work in government schools teaching in a classroom.

Jeanyline used the lessons she learned in the Strengthening Peace Education Training Skillscourse at MPI with Wendy Kroeker and Deddette Suacito in her work with SIPDM and in teaching Peace Education at the college. The training at MPI enhanced her knowledge and increased and widened her partnerships and linkages. It also helped her to share ideas and find support from other peacebuilders, something which Jeanyline hopes will continue.


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