Manila—On February 22 and 23, more than 200 youth champions from 15 cities in the Philippines participated in the first-ever National Youth Development Alliance (YDA) Summit hosted by the United States government in Davao City to strengthen city government programs for employing and educating out-of-school youth (OSY).

Organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Opportunity 2.0 program, the YDA Summit provided a platform to share knowledge, best practices, and innovations to support OSY. These include programs such the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education, online technical-vocational training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Youth Entrepreneurship Program of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The YDA Summit hosted local leaders and representatives from 15 USAID partner cities: Angeles City, Pasig City, Valenzuela City, Quezon City, Legazpi City, Davao City, General Santos City, Cotabato City, Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Tagbilaran City, Zamboanga City, and Isabela City.

In a recorded message during the event, Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte praised USAID for its support to education and workforce development in the Philippines. “Many USAID programs in the Philippines have strengthened education and workforce development systems, reached more out-of-school youth, and helped us get them ready for the transition to further education and training, immediate employment, and long-term success,” Vice President Duterte said.

“The Philippines has an estimated four million out-of-school children and youth. To make growth truly inclusive, we must provide each person the opportunity for a better tomorrow,” USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn said. “USAID launched the Opportunity 2.0 program in 2020 to support our Philippine partners to do just that.”

Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, in a message delivered by Vice Mayor Jesus Melchor Quitain, Jr., also expressed appreciation to USAID for hosting the first youth development alliance summit. “We are honored to host youth champions from across the Philippines here at the YDA Summit in partnership with USAID and the Education Development Center. We are proud to be leading the way in services, policies, and programs for one of the most vulnerable members of our society: the out-of-school youth,” he said.

USAID helped set up YDAs in cities across the Philippines to provide opportunities for OSY, including work and business readiness training, on-the-job training, youth leadership and empowerment seminars, and entrepreneurial support. Since 2020, YDAs have been instrumental guiding 30,000 OSY to obtain better jobs, open businesses, or acquire higher level education. (PR)