Boracay, Aklan – The 20 Project MINI ME delegates underwent a training workshop on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) on July 4-7, 2023 in Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan. This is a continuation of the project’s launching and orientation activity last June 15-16 in Iloilo City.

The four-day event involved comprehensive lectures and interactive workshops on monitoring and evaluation (M&E), civic engagement, government transparency and accountability, disaster resilience, responsible tourism, and youth empowerment. It also provided the young leaders with the opportunity to inspect the various infrastructure and eco-tourism projects in Boracay to understand the complexities of rehabilitation amidst the tourism development on the island.

“Project MINI ME aims to create a squad of young change-makers who are not only aware of the importance of transparency and accountability but also actively participate in the monitoring and evaluation of projects. By involving our youth in this process, we are instilling within them a sense of ownership, responsibility, and commitment to their communities,” said RPMC VI Chairperson and NEDA VI Regional Director Arecio A. Casing, Jr. in his opening remarks during the event.

Atty. Zachary Goodrich, Executive Director and Legal Counsel of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board and the youngest ethics board leader in the United States of America, highlighted in his keynote speech that the ideals of servant leadership, accountability and transparency are the common threads that connect the works of Project MINI ME to the noble endeavors of humanity.

“Do not think that these ideals of leadership, accountability, and transparency, cannot find a place in your everyday life,” Atty. Goodrich said.

YSEALI Professional Fellows, Ms. Ditta Mae S. De Guzman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Central Office, Atty Aliko Jasmine L. Garganera of the Cebu City Government, and Ms. Lady Julie Grace L. Baronda of the National Movement of Young Legislators served as panel speakers on good governance, combating misinformation and disinformation, and evidence-based policymaking.

Regional Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez of the Department of Tourism (DOT) VI and EnP. Juvelyn B. Pamonag, Supervising Economic Development Specialist of NEDA VI Policy Formulation and Planning Division (PFPD) talked about responsible tourism for sustainable development and resilience-building in M&E.

The NEDA VI Project Monitoring and Evaluation (PMED) staff discussed the data collection methods in M&E, integrated approach in project site inspection and problem-solving sessions, communicating M&E results, and building an inclusive M&E system.

To further highlight the value of M&E in youth empowerment and nation-building, NEDA Monitoring and Evaluation Staff (MES) Assistant Director Paul Andrew M. Tatlonghari discussed the culture of M&E across generations.

After the lectures and workshops, the delegates inspected the Boracay rehabilitation projects such as the Wetlands 2, 3, and 6, Boracay Circumferential Road, and Boracay Pathwalk in Brgy. Balabag, Boracay Island. The officials from CENRO Boracay and DPWH provided the project orientation and responded to the queries of the participants during the site inspection activity.

Dierdre Rossel Azucena of Carlos Hilado Memorial State University (CHMSU) was elected as the official youth representative of the RPMC VI. She will sit as a regular member of the committee, with Mark Luigi Tatoy of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) as her alternate.

YSEALI Professional Fellow and NEDA VI PMED Chief EDS Marlon T. Jinon, and Atty. Zachary Goodrich capped the event with a reflection on the milestones of Project MINI ME.

Implemented by the RDC VI in partnership with the YSEALI Professional Fellow Program of the US Department of State, World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community Iloilo Hub, National Youth Commission, and Regional Association of State Universities and Colleges (RASUC) VI, Project MINI ME is an initiative to build a culture of accountability, transparency, and civic engagement in the government through M&E and calls for youth involvement in the development process (JLETomulto, PMED).