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Bangsamoro Young Leaders-Basilan wins big in national tilt

COTABATO CITY – “It is not about competition and recognition, but about learning and meeting new people who share the same passion in serving our respective communities,” Abul Maralil said after Bangsamoro Young Leaders-Basilan (BYL-Basilan) was awarded as one of this year’s Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO), following a rigorous application and selection process.

TAYO is now on its 15th year, and has established itself as the nation’s premier search for outstanding youth organizations that have made a positive difference in their communities through innovative and sustainable programs. But their victory wasn’t just in this competition. His teammate, Michael Raihan Alih, said, “we were so happy when we found out our team won, since we really had to go through a lot of challenges just so we could implement our project.”

Their team of ten were mostly participants from the 2017 Bangsamoro Young Leaders Program (BYLP), hence they decided to name their team after the program. They also credit their win to the many volunteers from Basilan and Zamboanga who helped them in implementing their project.

BYLP is a year-long initiative of the Office of the Regional Governor -Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Eisenhower Fellows Association of the Philippines, and Ayala Foundation, Inc.

Called “Natural na Pamamaraan tungo sa Malusog na Pamayanan,” the youth-driven project propelled the BYL-Basilan Team to the final round of the TAYO Awards, under the Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being category.

They saw an opportunity to change lives in the village of Sulutan Matangal in Basilan’s Hadji Mohammad Ajul, a coastal community that needed immediate access to health services. In coordination with the Department of Health, they aimed to raise health awareness and to help the community in cultivating herbal plants as alternative medicines to cure mild cases of illnesses.

A module featuring different plants and how to prepare them as herbal medicines was translated into the vernacular for easier understanding, making sure that its use will be safe for patients in the community. Barangay health workers were also tapped to guide mothers in preparing the said herbal treatments.

Their efforts led to the establishment of communal herbal garden which now serves as a source of first hand medicines to cure mild cases of illnesses. Organic vegetable gardens have also been set up, helping the community meet their basic nutritional needs. The team also paved the way for the construction of two public comfort rooms in the said community.

This isn’t the first time the team was recognized for their efforts. BYL-Basilan was among the finalists and was named Spark Awardee in the Ideas Positive Run 7 of the Unilab Foundation last year. (Bureau of Public Information)


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