Philippines

About This Project

The Philippines has a long history of violence and armed conflict in the southern region of Mindanao among insurgents, clan militias, criminal groups, and recently, violent extremist groups that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS).

In May 2017, violent extremist groups sieged Marawi City in an attempt to establish an IS caliphate, displacing over 350,000 people, with around 73,000 people still displaced in evacuation centers, transition sites or relatives’ homes. Beginning in 2014, these IS-linked groups have increased their recruitment among out-of-school youth and students in high schools, universities and madrassas (Islamic schools).

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IAHV Philippines Program

IAHV Philippines’ long-term Program ‘Strengthening the Psychosocial Foundation of Vulnerable Populations: A New Paradigm on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’ aims to address the psychosocial gaps in the ongoing P/CVE work in Mindanao.

Aims: 

    1. deep and effective healing and transformation of individuals and groups; 
    2. training people to use non-violent means to achieve legitimate needs; 
    3. empower and mobilize people to become effective peacebuilders in their own communities.

Activities

1. Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism 

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Deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants and their families.

Conducted joint introductory stress relief workshops in 3 ISIS-affected areas in Lanao del Sur that brought together the Armed Forces of the Philippines, members of the insurgency group called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), ISIS returnees, and local government representatives. (June 2019)

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SKY Campus Program - learning institutions (colleges, universities, high school, madrassahs) 

With financial support from UNDP Philippines, launched the SKY Campus Program at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, which aims at teaching university students in conflict-affected areas to (1) release stress, master emotions, withstand radicalization and peer pressure, and solve conflicts using non-violent action; and (2) use emotional intelligence, social connection, service, and leadership for personal well-being, social change and peacebuilding. An MOU was signed, which includes IAHV assisting in integrating stress management and mental resilience training into the university’s main curriculum. (December 2019)

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SKY Community Youth Program - out-of-school and/or hard-to-reach youth in conflict-affected areas

With financial support from UNDP Philippines, conducted a Youth Peacebuilding Leadership Training (YPLT) for 18 youth leaders who were directly affected by the 2017 Marawi Siege and are members of the Thuma Ko Kapagingud Service, a youth-led civil society organization targeting out-of-school and excluded youth in conflict areas. (December 2019)

2. Stress Management and Professional Care

Launched the SKY Resilience Program with the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) with the objective of teaching stress management and mental resilience to 1200 cadets and 100+ officers, integrating the IAHV training into PMA’s main academic curriculum. (2019-2021)

Part of this project is a rigorous long-term research study to measure the impact of MHPSS in the stress level of cadets, which involves researchers from Stanford University, UCLA, U.S. Military, Saint Louis University (Philippines), and others. 

Conducted a Stress Management and Resilience Program for COVID-19 positive police trainees of the Philippine National Police’s northern regional office. (September 2020)

Planned Peacebuilding Activities for 2021 (post-Covid)

  • Scale-up partnership with UNDP and the Government’s DILG on deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants and their families
  • Launch the Prison Program for terrorist-related offenders and correctional officers 
  • Women and youth empowerment trainings in conflict-affected areas
  • Stress management and mental resilience training to NGOs and local government units in conflict-affected areas, including exploring partnerships with madrassas
  • Expand the SKY Campus Program to the Muslim-dominated universities 
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Partnerships

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Philippines) provided financial support to launch IAHV’s SKY Campus Program and SKY Community Youth Program, targeting youth who are vulnerable to violent extremism (Dec 2019). 
  • Department of Interior and Local Government, which is in charge of the national program on preventing and countering violent extremism. IAHV Philippines has been participating in key stakeholder meetings 
  • Armed Forces of the Philippines IAHV Philippines has also been partnering to conduct pilot peacebuilding sessions with ex-combatants and also to integrate MHPSS into the main curriculum of the Philippine Military Academy

 

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