The Philippines is at a critical juncture with major political events unfolding in 2019 such as national elections, impending constitutional change, and the plebiscites on Bangsamoro Organic Law. The upcoming national midterm elections serve as an opportunity for emerging political actors to change the political narrative in the climate leading up to the general election in 2020. These elections are seen as one of the most important avenues to bring back democracy in a country that has suffered from the disregard for human rights laws. Although according to an International Alert Survey, young people (in the category of 18-35 years) comprise of 57% of eligible voters in the Philippines, there is very low turnout in this category voters. As they hold the potential to change the political future of the country, young voters must be educated on the importance of informed voting and holding government officials accountable amidst reports of voter fraud, fake news, vote buying.
To enhance the capacities of young women to be key influencers of a stronger youth movement for progressive social transformation, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), with the support of its local implementation partner, the Center for Peace Education (CPE) at Miriam College, hosted a two-day Training of Trainors on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR 1325) and the supporting Women, Peace, and Security Agenda on March 7 th and 8th, 2019 in Manila. The training brought together young women who are IDPs (internally displaced persons) from Marawi, religious minorities, lumad (indigenous), LGBTQIA+, and representatives from across Mindanao, Luzon, and Visayas along with male allies. These young women consolidated their knowledge on the importance of electoral education, Bangsamoro Organic Law (which centers around the implementation of the peace agreement between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front), and the consequences of constitutional change. Over the course of this year, these YW+PL members will conduct community-focused youth discussions in their localities to campaign for a more gender-equal, peaceful society at a grassroots level in a culturally-sensitive, age-appropriate manner. Inspired by the advice shared by Ana Tarhata Basman, a Youth Representative from the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the YW+PL members agreed to overcome barriers to youth participation by engaging – but not waiting – for government.