Ayala Foundation, Inc.

Leadership Communities: Enabling active citizenship among Filipino community youth leaders

Lead Organization

Ayala Foundation, Inc.

Makati City, National Capital Region, Philippines


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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Youth leaders in the Philippines often find themselves unready and poorly-resourced to meaningfully respond to the socio-economic needs of their communities.Believing the youth can make meaningful contribution to uplifting their communities, Ayala Foundation has run “Leadership Communities” or LeadCom since 2010. LeadCom is a year-long series of community-based development and mentorship program enriching youth leadership values and management competencies. Heightened values and competencies are applied through youth-led, needs-based community projects. Practical support in the form of minimal seed grant further help the youth succeed. For 100&Change, LeadCom will work with 4500 village youth councils, its 32,000 youth leaders aged 15-30, from the 13 poorest provinces of the Philippines, covering 7.2M people, of which 2M are the youth. Through LeadCom, the youth are developed, mentored, funded, and connected to support systems to participate in their community’s development now and in preparation for their roles as the country’s future leaders.

Problem Statement

The Philippines has a unique legally-mandated mechanism for youth participation- the village youth councils. They are called Sangguniang Kabataan or SK, a seven-person set of elected leaders. SK is one of a few youth opportunities in community development to serve the needs of youth constituents 15-30 years old who comprise 30% of any given population. We learned from SK members, however, their limited readiness for public service. One reason: limited leadership and governance capacity building activities, especially in remote, lower income areas of the country. Another reason: exposure to politics’ ugly side and poor examples of leadership. These hinder an otherwise promising leadership system meant to empower current young public servants while readying them as next in line. These are in danger of being carried over into higher offices- if they seek higher office at all.The quality of SK leadership got so bad that the councils were abolished for five years. They were deemed out of touch with their constituents. Council projects were low-impact and non-responsive to youth needs. There were accusations of corruption. In the five-year gap without SK, LeadCom filled the gap for quality youth leadership training, mentorship, and community development participation. Recently, SK returned via the SK Reform Law. There is a need to rally around this law with renewed hope for the youth. The need to build a cohort of new local leaders remains. LeadCom relevance is underscored now more than ever to ready current youth leaders for their tasks now and for the future.

Solution Overview

LeadCom is a year-long, multi-touchpoint youth development and mentorship program. At the end of LeadCom, youth leaders gain clarification of their leadership values, garner/reinforce their knowledge and skills on management. Key activities and learning are on the following: formation and maintenance of high-performance teams through teambuilding; community scanning; design-thinking; project ideation and project management; entrepreneurship; budgeting; marketing and communications. Youth leaders journey with mentors who themselves get mentored. Both access networks of partners to help them run unique, impactful, wide-ranging, sustainable projects where they can apply their enriched values and skills. Youth get continuous support post-program as they continue with their leadership journey.Through LeadCom, the youth get the platform for meaningful participation in their communities. SK leaders undergo the program and learn practical leadership and management skills and knowledge to lead their constituents effectively. This counterbalances the ugly politics and poor examples of leadership. All this is undertaken with careful monitoring, evaluation, and learning programs that track leadership growth of the youth participants; guide their project implementation towards sustainability; grow the mentors to enable them to mentor more, and; provide periodic tweaks to LeadCom to improve its responsiveness to youth and community needs.100&Change will enable us to inspire and empower 32000 leaders in 4500 villages who in turn will be better servant-leaders for the 2M constituents under their care. This is seen to have positive impact to their provinces and their 7.2M residents. This begins a new cohort of better informed and empowered youth leaders for the future.

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Project Funders

  • Ayala Corporation 2010 - 2021
  • Various partner city and municipal government units 2015 - 2021
  • Australian Embassy in the Philippines 2019 - 2020

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