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Engagement with Senior High School Students

in Cotabato

When forumZFD started its engagement with senior high school students in Maguindanao and Cotabato City in 2016, there were very limited opportunities for the youth to take an active role in public discourses related to the Bangsamoro peace process and other social issues. This project aims to change that.
Group photo of RYLO members
© forumZFD

Recent studies such as "Youth and Violent Extremism in Mindanao" show the youth to be among the most vulnerable in terms of recruitment by radical armed groups. This can be attributed to their exclusion from discourses concerning the peace process and other issues directly affecting their lives and future. Their lack of information about the ongoing peace process and transition, their experience of social injustices and structural violence, and their exclusion from decision making processes, make them susceptible to radicalization and the use of violent means. 

forumZFD provides platforms where the youth, particularly senior high school students, can come together and collectively identify non-violent means to counter conflict situations, structural violence and marginalization, inter-cultural prejudice and antipathy, and discrimination-based violence. The youth are capacitated to assert their roles as active working partners in nation-building on the one hand, and as stakeholders, leaders, and role models for their communities on the other. 

Since 2018, forumZFD has actively engaged with its youth partner, the Responsible Young Leaders Organization or RYLO. RYLO is a multipartial student-based, youth-led organization composed of youth leaders from Maguindanao and Cotabato City. The organization envisions youth leaders to become proactive in addressing social issues faced by their sector and the community in general by upholding the spirit of collective leadership. Social media such as facebook and youtube are among the tools RYLO uses to inform their fellow youth and enable peer exchange. forumZFD and RYLO engage with different stakeholders to create spaces for the youth to be involved in different decision-making processes and ensure that issues and concerns of the youth are heard, tackled, and addressed in the newly installed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.  

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