Author: Marie Smidstrup Page 2 of 6

Working behind the scenes with the Alumni organisation

Would you like to add your skills to the running of the IPC Alumni?

As the number of members of the Alumni is growing, the number of talented people is as well! And perhaps some of these talented people would like to spend some of their time and energy for the IPC Alumni. We are looking for an accountant to take over the position from our current accountant, Rod Lee, Senior Advisor of the board, who he is stepping down at the next General Assembly.

During the last Board Meeting, the board discussed that since the organisation is growing and has different projects and initiatives, we would love it if we also had a consistent, graphic identity for our events, posts and prints.

Like being a board member, it is of course voluntarily, and your work will be much appreciated and valuable for the future of the Alumni!

  • Accountant

At every General Assembly the IPC Alumni elects an accountant, who goes through and approves (or not) the finances presented by the treasurer prior to the General Assembly.

We are looking for someone with some knowledge on finances, who wishes to be our accountant from April 2018! The position is for one year, and then it is possible to re-run at the next General Assembly.

Yearly work load: 3 hours

  • Graphic designer

Someone with skills and knowledge in graphic design, who would like to use that for creating posters, prints and develop the graphic and visual identity of the Alumni, so it appears more consistent and professional.

Monthly work load: 3-5 hours (or when there is an event coming up).



Send an e-mail to if you would like to know more or ‘apply’ for one of the tasks.

There is of course also the possibility to be a member of the Board from next General Assembly, which will be held during the Reunion Weekend in April 2018. Send an e-mail the same way, if you would like to run for elections !

It’s a wrap! Youth Policy and Action

The Youth Policy and Action project’s activities in the Philippines has come to an end. All participants are back home and back in their daily routines. Now there is an evaluation meeting to attend to in Poland with the 8 partners in order to see, how the project went and perhaps develop new partnerships in the future.

The Alumni Board can only recommend you – members of the Alumni – to stay tuned for upcoming projects and apply! For this particular one, all those, who applied for the project, was accepted. We only received applications from Esben, Marie, Lars and Lea. So there is a good chance you will be able to go, if you apply for the next one!

This is the last article from the job shadowing activity in the Philippines. This one is form Lea Kielsholm, who stayed in Manila during the project:


“My name is Lea, I am 23 years old and a former student at IPC of the autumn term 2015. Currently I am taking part in a project between a Job Shadowers working at the National Youth Commission in Quezon City in Metro Manila. I am assigned to the office of Commissioner of Luzon that shares office wih the staff of Commissioner of Visayas. Luzon and Visayas are two of the three main islands in Philippines. We are here to learn about the practices of implementation and governance of youth development projects.


As our job title inclines, we were supposed to ‘shadow’ someone’s job, meaning that we should follow the commissioner, of the office we have been assigned to, on a daily basis. However, the reality is slightly different than expected. The commissioner is only at the office once a month – and my JS-colleague and I have not been allowed to follow him around to his activities. Therefore we are mainly sitting at the office, not really doing much. We have been given short presentations with information we were already being given on our introduction days in Tanay and on our first days at the office. The commissioners assistants are very kind to us, but they are busy, and they don’t know what to do with us. It seems they have not been prepared for our arrival. At NYC they have a strict working hour policy. That means we have to stay in the office strictly from 8am to 5pm, except for 1 hour lunchbreak, where we are allowed to go out. Since it has not been possible to follow our commissioner as planned, we are instead focusing on another task we have been given by the project.

We have to conduct three interviews – with a commissioner, youth worker and a youth. It’s has been extremely difficult to arrange the interviews, because people keep on postponing or cancelling. However, I managed to conduct my final interview on my last day in the office. So one thing is that NYC has not understood on what terms we, the job shadowers, are here, but the real question is: how is the NYC working and does it actually work? The answer to the latter is not simply yes or no. NYC is supposed to gather data about youths and, with this data as a baseline, they create suggestions for policies. NYC doesn’t have any legislative power, but they are trying to convince politicians and governments units to adopt the policies they believe will benefit the youth. We don’t know how this works in details, because we have, as earlier mentioned, not been allowed to follow our commissioner. So basically you can say we have been taught theory but not seen it in practice, and therefore it can be difficult to know if it’s actually working. One of the most interesting activities was to go to a university, AMA Fairview, where the non-profit-organisation Rescue Kabataan (rescue the youth) did a workshop on how youths can face and overcome challenges in their every day life. It seemed very empowering and motivating, however preaching about God was also a big part of. That was quite unusual for me, as religious preaching is not allowed at public schools in Denmark. We went here on initiative by another Job Shadower, and it was not something we were invited to by NYC.

After having spent two weeks at NYC, I can conclude that my learning experience primarily has been centered around getting to know the culture and political systems of the countries of my fellow job shadowers, and then some theory about the work of National Youth Commission of Philippines. I hoped to learn more specifically about the work of the commissioners, which has not happened.

However, a part of the learning experience is also to realize and accept that things work differently in this country and that communication misunderstandings are likely to happen. Despite the disappointment of the job shadowing itself, I learned a lot from doing the interviews as well as talking to the young people in my office. Filippinos are extremely kind people, and I have felt welcome any place I have been.”

Youth Policy and Action; Update from the field vol. 2

As previously mentioned the IPC Alumni has three members outposted in the Philippines volunteering as ‘job shadowers’ during the Erasmus+ funded Youth Policy and Action project. They have now been there for three weeks; all three in different provinces of the Philippines. Last Marie Smidstrup shared her experience in the north and this week Lars Heidtmann is reporting from the municipality of Tanay, Rizal.

The ‘in the field ‘- part of the project is coming to an end. Tomorrow they are all travelling to Manila for the last evaluation meeting with the rest of the 25 job shadowers and the host organisation IGEEI.

Read here, what Lars has experienced:

Every coin has two sides
01.11.2017, Midtown Hostel, Tanay, Rizal, Philippines

Back in Denmark the various social welfare and development programs are the core functions of the municipalities. These encompass anything from unemployment to youth-engagement. To be able to compare the different approaches of the municipalities was what initially woke my interest in the Municipal Social Welfare and Development office (MSWD). It’s an office that deals with everything from scholarships for youths, eldercare, “CICLs” (Children In Conflict with the Law – children and youths that have been convicted for crimes) as well as local day-care programs. Together with Lito from Greece and Katherine from Italy/Peru I have been following the social workers from this office for the past 10 days.

Dealing with these programs requires many field visits in the Barangays (smallest level of organization in the Philippines, below the municipalities), which means that we get to see both a lot of how the Philippinos work, especially with young people, as well as the structure behind.

One thing that has surprised me these last days is that generally it seems as if Tanay municipality is both following the national laws (which require a surprisingly high amount of youth participation), as well as having own activities engaging youths. The Mayor himself is only 26 years old and many of the employees are under 30 years old, being as young as 18. Likewise, the municipality itself took initiative to start Tanay Youth Centre (TYC), as well as that the National Training School for Boys (NTSB – a rehabilitation centre for “CICLs”) is located close to the city.

Sharing this experience with Marie reveals perhaps some of the big differences internally in the Philippines, as Marie is experiencing much more corruption and exclusion of youth-interests than we are.
And that is what frustrated me especially during the first days. How can things be so good on the surface? When talking with people from the municipality it was always difficult to get them to talk critically about the municipality. The administration is very hierarchical and people always call their superiors Ma’am or Sir. It doesn’t seem to be a system where you criticize your boss. So all the problems people pointed out where not attributed to bad policies. For example, when it comes to out-of-school youths, the reason for school drop-outs is not attributed to structural problems of poverty and stigmatisation, but broken families and drug abuse (and drug abuse is obviously always a choice and never a product of poverty and disillusionment).

I don’t want to say, that youths in the Philippines and specifically in Tanay, are not being considered by politicians. However, all the engagement that we encountered – in Tanay Youth Centre, with the former leaders of the Barangay Youth Councils, or at the National Training School for Boys – was always apolitical. Resources are posted into sports activities, (very creative and impressive) dance performances, and seminars on healthy relationships (don’t have pre-marital sex kids!). When we asked about debates on anything where youths perhaps could have different opinions than the people running the activities (the municipal staff mainly), we got no for an answer. And none of the youths really questioned this arrangement. Perhaps I’m just a white guy who wants to “liberate” people who are not actually being oppressed. Or the fact that all the youths we actually spoke to were more or less selected by the municipality is the reason why nobody questioned the a-political youth engagement. I can’t tell.

Despite the fact that youth policy in Tanay municipality does not necessarily mean that youths are politically engaged, a proportionally big amount of resources is dedicated to youths. Most of the activities of the Social Welfare Office in some way incorporate young people. And the office doesn’t seem to be treated as a cosmetic façade either. But the fact that we have only really been able to speak with Municipal employees and affiliates means that It’s been difficult to evaluate the actual extent of the social welfare. This can be exemplified by the difference between the National Traning School for Boys (the boys prison), the regular municipal prison, and the detention cells. The NTSB houses around 200 boys under rehabilitation in a spacious, green compound in the mountains. This means they are going to school and are engaged in various activities (such as the impressive dance-theatre-show they performed for us upon our visit) and generally have access to fairly good facilities. These 200 boys however come from around 4 different provinces, though mainly metro-manila (a region with a population of 12,7 million).

Youth Policy and Action: Update from the field

The IPC Alumni has partnered in a Asian-European partner project funded by the European Commission abou youth involvement in politics. The object of the project is to understand and develop a framework for involving youth in policy making processes on a legislative level. The research part og the project takes place in the Philippines – organised by our partner organisation IGEEI (Institute for Global Education). These days three members of the Alumni organisation, Lars Heidtmann, Lea Kielsholm and Marie Smidstrup are placed in three different locations on the main island, Luzon; in Manila with the National Youth Commission, in Tanya Rizal with a young Mayor’s administration and in Candon, Ilocos Sur with a young council member in a City Council.

Here is an article from Marie about her first days in the position as job shadower:


October 26th, Brewlab, Candon, Ilocos Sur.
Marie Odgaard Smidstrup, Job Shadower from IPC Alumni.

It has now been five days since we arrived in Candon in the middle of the night after half a day of transportation from Tanay, Rizal, passing Manila and going North. After having warm ‘pandesal’ at the bus station, we were welcomed and picked up by Nigel Rances, who took us to our accommodation. She has been with us every day since then as our chaperone and pond of information. Aneta Cisakowska, my Polish colleague, and I are the only two ones assigned in Candon (even though, as we have learned throughout the days, there is plenty of things to look into for much more people). This means that almost every day has been a full day schedule (9am to 9pm) filled with visits to farms, barangays (village/neighbourhood), City Hall etc etc etc.

Interviewing city councillors

The politician we are shadowing is Joanne Valdez; a young politician elected to the City Council in Candon during the elections in 2016, when she campaigned alongside her father, who ran for mayor. Unfortunately Mr. Valdez was not elected, which resulted in Joanne being the only councillor who is not a part of the Mayor’s administration (which in this city roughly means to not be related with the mayor). This arrangement means that whatever resolution or measure that Joanne Valdez tries to file; fx an intensifying on HIV/AIDS awareness and education, creating of a youth development office and council and to live stream the City Council sessions so the youth could participate from distance, the council will not pass them (or as of now, it has not happened yet). She also does not get invited to meetings in the committees she is a part of. It should also be mentioned that even though there are around 30 committees and 12 councilors, Valdez has not got any committee chairmanship. Despite of this, as we have observed, Valdez still keeps on showing up to all sessions (even when they are suddenly cancelled), proposing new resolutions and following up on cases.

Back in June 2016 Valdez created the organisation Candon Youth Movement (CYM) to activate and engage the youth in the barangays of Candon. CYM consists of approximately 200 young people and senior youth (associates of 30+ years) who want to do projects and develop the local community. One of their projects is to redefine farming as a profession that young people also would want to pursue. In the Philippines farmers are usually more than 50 years of age, so soon the farmers will be too old to continue their work. Therefore CYM has the ‘farmbassador’ project which educates young people in Candon about farming with the help of senior youth, who has much knowledge about farming. The education has a practical approach and CYM has an established, organic farm with rice, vegetables, pigs and fruits. They use vermicultured, organic fertiliser (partly because the set budget for support for farmers from the city does not reach the farmers in reality). CYM also conducts HIV/AIDS seminars, development projects among the poorest in the community and leadership training of the young members of CYM. It is a very impressive organisation and quite educational for us job shadowers. The CYM was also established as a way to activate the youth in the absence of the Sanguniaang Kabataan (SK) – a youth council which should, due to the Republic Act 7160, be effective on barangay, municipality/city and provincial level as a political that advocates for youth in the regular councils on all levels. Since 2013 the SK elections has been postponed, so as of now there is no active SKs. Let us see if the elections scheduled for May 2018 will be held.

In these past five days my colleague and I have shadowed Valdez on her work at the City Hall, to social events and to community visits (at people with diasbilities, people supported with ‘4P’ – a governmental financial support programme for the poorest in society, etc) where she inquires about their needs so she can advocate for them at the City Council or though CYM. We have been shortly featured in a local radio programme, attended and HIV/AIDS seminar conducted by Nigel Rances, met a tobacco farmer, met family and friends of CYM and Valdez, conducted interviews and tasted amazing Filipino food (although being a vegetarian in the Philippines is not easy!). On Wednesday we were supposed to attend a City Council session, but it was cancelled the day before due to too many absent councilors. We hope to attend the next one before we have to leave in two weeks time.

Attending a meeting with a group of people with disabilities.

I am learning a lot about the political reality of the Philippines, Filipino culture and people and as an extra bonus; a lot about the methods and nature of my field of study, which is anthropology. I am looking forward to what the next days will bring!

IPC Alumni General Assembly 14th of October 2017

Behold Alumni!

The annual general assembly is coming up in one month and we are hoping to see many of you there.

The agenda is as follows:

  1. Approval of the agenda. Election of chairperson and minutes taker
  2. Situation report from the board
  3. Approval of the revised yearly accounts
  4. Election of board members, substitutes, accountant and substitute accountant
  5. Stipulation of the yearly membership payment
  6. Upcoming activities
  7. New proposals & discussions
  8. Any other business

If you want to stay the night and have dinner at IPC you can sign up through the following google form until the 1st of October.

Here is the Facebook event, where there will be updates, so follow the news there!

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