The leaders of the future

04-05-2022 08:44:04
Agriterra Philippines capped off the week-long Youth Leadership Masterclass 2022 held in Cebu City

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The workshop took place from 18 through 22 April. We brought together 17 youth leaders from all over the country to learn about leadership and entrepreneurship in the context of the Philippine agricultural cooperative sector.

The 17 youth leaders who participated in this year’s masterclass were endorsed by the Local Resource Organizations (LROs) under the USAID-funded Generating Rural Opportunities by Working with Cooperatives (GROW Coop) Project. The chosen delegates hold different positions in their cooperatives either as staff or members. The goal of the workshop was to generate ideas, energy and a call for action among participants to enable greater youth participation in their cooperatives.

During the workshop, the participants were asked to reflect on their leadership style using the DISC model: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. We reflected on each others leadership styles, how to recognise them and exchanged tips on how to make communication more effective with each style. The program also included training participants on how to create a winning pitch and how to conduct networking through better communication skills.

In order to see effective youth leadership in action, Agriterra conducted a field visit with the youth delegates to Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative (LPMPC) in Brgy. Lamac, located in the municipality of Consolacion. LPMPC is an agricultural cooperative which traces its roots back in 1973 as an association of organized farmers providing consumer and marketing services. Its members were mostly tenants – tillers and small farm owners. Today, LPMCP operates 42 branches not only in Cebu province but also across adjacent provinces in Leyte, Bohol, and Negros Occidental.

The group had a chance to speak to Justine Lyn Limocon, the business development manager of LPMCP set up the cooperative’s youth organisation called ‘Coop Youth Planet’ or CYP. The programs of CYP include assisting youth to access finance to start their micro-enterprises and providing them with training to boost their entrepreneurial skills. CYP’s program also shows several opportunities for youth participation in generating more off-farm jobs through the setup of small-shared workspaces such as a bakeshop and a cocoa processing room.

Towards the end of the program, the participants individually crafted their action plans which they will be implementing once they get back to their cooperatives. The final highlight of the masterclass was the joint decision of the youth leaders to establish a National Youth Council that will assist members in establishing their own youth councils as well as implementing youth-focused initiatives within their cooperatives.

Our next step is to follow up with the participants individually and reflect on their action plans. We hope to soon be able to report on youth council formations at the level of the cooperatives. With 40 (small) coops under GROWcoop and 8 larger coops under FFT the intent is to have at least 2 operational youth councils established by end of this year. We aim to achieve this through a second Youth Leadership Masterclass later in year for GROWcoop clients + one youth kick off workshop for the FFT clients in the coming months.

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