Sunday, March 10, 2013

Living Peace in Contact with Others: The Peace Village Residential Experience

Let us go where few dare to go. Let's bring our children.

On 25 October 2011, I and Noriko flew to Ozamiz City in Northern Mindanao to experience the peace village in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte in Mindanao, Philippines. We went to Lanao del Norte amidst the strong disagreement and opposition of many friends and families. They had reasons to dissuade us from going to Mindanao at that time.

On October 18, just a week prior to our flight to Ozamiz City, 19 Philippine government soldiers were killed in a fierce battle with Muslim guerrillas in Al-Barka, Basilan Island in Southwestern Mindanao. The incident had been tagged as Basilan massacre. The Philippine military launched pursuit operations against the Muslim guerrillas who were involved in the October 18 gunfight. The guerrillas were reported to be composed of mixed forces of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf.

Then, separate armed encounters and skirmished with "lawless" elements of the MILF forces occurred and consequent military operations were underway in the towns of Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay and Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte. Yes, Lanao del Norte where we would have the peace village experience.

It was easy and understandable to simply cancel our trip to Lanao del Norte. But we thought that we had, in our hands, more than the trip to the troubled Mindanao. It was an opportunity to sympathize with Mindanaoaons and show support for their desire for peace, in the midst of the actual insecurities, threats, and risks.

And so we went to Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte via Ozamiz City. Indeed, security checks and military presence were quite ubiquitous in the areas we passed by. When we came to Kapatagan Elementary School, there was an atmosphere of "fiesta" or festivities. Schoolchildren were frolicking in groups. We were welcomed by the main organizer and Lanao del Norte's Schools Division Superintendent, Dr. Maria Luisa Mutia, who started the Peace Village experience in 2006.

Although there was an option to stay in a hotel, we decided to stay in the community. We thought that peace, if ever to be achieved, it has to be with the communities, with the peoples who are vulnerable to threats and violence. Their peace is our peace.

A Japanese NGO requested me to conduct a rapid impact assessment of the Peace Village experience on schoolchildren. I focused on the intergroup (ethnic and religious) relations. Before the experience, what were their perceptions and views of the other children of different ethnic and religious origins? Did they have friends or classmates from other ethnic and religious groups? After the experience, how do they perceive children from other groups? What changes in their perceptions?

In social sciences, one of the most known hypotheses is that contact reduces prejudice and induces positive attitudes towards other groups. In Pettigrew and Tropp's A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2006, they highlighted numerous studies on the importance of contact in reducing prejudice and inducing positive attitudes towards other groups. It originated from Allport's The nature of prejudice in 1954 in which he proposed the contact hypothesis. Gordon Allport posited four conditions to make contact a positive and effective outcome (reduction of prejudice and positive attitudes towards others); equal status, common goals, cooperation, and support of authority. To a large extent, these four conditions were met in the 2011 Peace Village experience.

Thank you, 2011 Peace Village residents. May you bring the atmosphere of and live out the peace village experience to your homes and own villages. Let us connect and expand our peace villages in our midst. See you in our villages.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pictures Are Powerful Medium (A Peace Ad Campaign)

Everyday, we see pictures on advertisements, newspapers, magazines, posters, streamers, internet, and even moving pictures in cinemas, TV, and internet. Not all pictures are equal. Some simply pass our sights. Some stay in our minds for a while. Some make us speak and share them with others especially in social networking sites. Some leave a bad taste. Some inspire. Some make us think. Some cause us to be silent and reflect.

With a background in visual anthropology and peace ad campaign, Peace-TAYO would like to share some original pictures which would invite us to contextualize and think of peace, of our relationship with others, of our socio-economic and political conditions that inform our opinions and shape our perspectives. Here is our first picture:

"If they ever were animals..."

"Kung sila man mga hayop..."

More to come!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Module 2: Group Empowerment and Direction-Setting Workshop in Mindanao State University-Marawi

Praying for others to come, good weather, and peace
Peace-TAYO was in Mindanao State University - Marawi last November 2011. The Student Council of MSU-Marawi requested a workshop for its members. With the help of and inputs from the officers (Lornito, Jayson, Philip and Abigail), a module on Group Empowerment and Direction-Setting Workshop was implemented in the scenic golf course of MSU-Marawi campus.

Activity 1: "Let's Draw Together"
Groups are formed and strengthened by the needs of members and situations and by common understanding and deep appreciation of their roles in their locality. After recognizing the needs, groups take certain roles based on their capacities to respond to certain needs and deliver services to the community. Members of the groups divide the tasks to perform and fulfill the roles assigned to and expected of them.
Here? Yes, go on..

At the end of this activity, participants are able to;
- visualize and clarify their roles and their corresponding tasks
- experience the critical  importance of his/her role in the group
- enjoy his/her role in the group and the companionship of other members
- identify the goal/s of the group

- Pencils
Ops.. too long (help!)
- Erasers
- Bond or drawing papers
- One picture
- Handkerchiefs or piece of cloth to blindfold

Time Frame: 
One hour with discussion

1. Divide the participants into groups with 3 members. If there are participants that can't form a new group, let them serve as observers and make sure that participants are following the instructions.
2. In each group with 3 members, allow them to assign a drawer (one that will draw), eraser (one that will erase), and instructor (one that will give instructions to the drawer).
3. The drawer needs to be blindfolded.
4. The instructors of each group are called to have a look of the picture. Only the instructor has an idea on what to draw at this point.
5. Then, for 20 minutes or so, the instructor with his/her hands on his/her back begins to give instructions on what to draw. Only the instructor is allowed to speak. Only the drawer and eraser are allowed to touch the paper. The eraser takes cues from the instructor, but is free to erase whatever is drawn on the paper. The eraser is not allowed to hold the pencil or give instructions.
6. After 20 minutes, ask them to stop.
7. Let the drawer see his/her work and ask for his/her feelings and comments.
8. Discuss the experiences. Ask about their learnings on their roles, on their groupmates, etc.
9. Summarize the activity by pointing out the expected output of the activity - replica of the picture. Every member of the group has to have an idea of what to achieve. That is the task of the instructor - s/he has to communicate to his/her groupmates what to draw. And the group achieves the goal if the role and task are understood and appreciated by the members.
Look! It looks like this.

Activity 2: "Count Me In"  (a variation of the original activity)
With goals, the group seeks to achieve them. They recognize their own importance and roles. But they also need to recognize the importance and roles of others in the group. They can not simply over-emphasize their own importance and roles. Thus, as in orchestra, rhythm and harmony of the group are essential.

At the end of the activity, the participants are able to;
- experience failures and disappointments as a group
- accept faults
- gain determination and confidence to get desired results
- feel the motivation from the group
- experience joy in achieving a goal

Not an examination; copying is allowed.
No materials needed:

Time Frame: 
45 minutes

1. Form a circle. Make a space between members, close enough to hear the breathing of the person next to each other.
2. The group will progressively count up to 25. Only one member can say aloud one number at a time. If two or more members simultaneously count, the group has to begin again from one. Any member can start to count. The allowable gap in counting is 3 seconds.
3. The counting from one is repeated until the count reaches 25 without having two or more members counting at the same time and without the 3 second-gap.
4.  If the group fails to reach 25 after 10 minutes of trying, the target count will be reduced to 20.
5. If the group fails to count until 20 after 10 minutes, then the target count will become 10.
6. This is repeated until the target count is reached.
7. Share experiences.
8. Conclude by highlighting their motivations in spite of their repeated failures. What makes them continue to count? The dynamics of the group influences the direction that the group will take. As long as everybody is in the circle and trying, the group exists and each one is an essential part of the group.
Thank you, guys and girl. Goodluck and keep the faith!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Module 1: Peace Through Our Own Tongues and Eyes

Peace-TAYO is going to provide various modules designed for different peacebuilding and implemented in its activities. Here is our first module. This can be used in National Service Training Program (NSTP) session. Watch out for more. Use it, own it. Peace-TAYO!

(Note: This module was first implemented in the Peace Through Technology Training Workshop for Peace Ambassadors (Bughaw) of PeaceTech, a non-profit organization that builds peace among youth through technology. Peace-TAYO believes that by sharing this module, it will be more useful for others who can adopt, modify, and implement it in their own organizations.)

Activity: Sharing of the closest equivalent of "Peace" in one's language

Each culture has its own conceptualization of "peace." Peace is culturally-rooted in our society. It is not a foreign import or imposition. It exists in the ordinariness of people's daily lives. It is highly valued. Its existence and value are best expressed in people's own language and experiences. 


At the end of this activity, the participants must be able to:
·     Share the closest or direct equivalent of peace in one's own languages. Or share the representations or images of peace in one's own surrounding.
·   Learn and gain deeper understanding and profound appreciation of the various conceptualizations and representations of peace.

·         Drawing paper
·         Crayola
·         Masking tape
·     Music

Time Frame: One to three hours depending on the number of participants


1.    Allow the participants to express their conceptualization of peace through art. They can share the equivalent or expression of peace in their own language. They can also share their vivid images or representation of peace based on their experiences and observations. These images or representation can be embedded in the local stories, songs, poems, places, people, events, etc.. Play a music while the participants are doing the activity.

   2. Group sharing: Allow each participant to share in 2-3 minutes. 

   3. After the group sharing, synthesize the activity by discussing the following points:

     All of us have our own idea of peace, which emanates from our language, personal lives, relationships with family, peer groups, communities, and God.

These ideals guide us in our daily lives to strengthen our relationship with our family, peer group, community, and God.

4.    Discuss various views on “peace.” Highlight the richness and creativity of each culture expressed in language. Share your own language of and experience with "peace." 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Social Distance in Facebook: Breaking or Building Barriers in Cyberspace


Social networking sites have captured the interest and aspiration of people especially Filipinos and Filipinas to make contacts and connect with families, friends, and others. To illustrate this, imagine Facebook having over half a billion account users all over the world. Twenty-six million of those are found in the Philippines.  Thus, albeit virtually, numerous contacts are made by differentiated groups through Facebook.

Research has shown that contacts among equals of differentiated groups reduce social distance. With the popularity and wide use of Facebook in the world including the Philippines, do contacts occur among differentiated groups? Or Facebook further solidifies the ingroup and marginalizes the outgroup? Does Facebook break or build social distance among differentiated groups?

It is hypothesized that Facebook facilitates ingroup formation and strengthens its cohesion. Moreover, Facebook does not intentionally marginalize the outgroup.  It helps reduce social distance among groups especially those who have a sizeable number of friends from other groups.

If you have a Facebook account, please take the survey here.

The results of this survey will be presented at the 2011 Philippine Sociological Society National Conference in Ateneo de Naga University in Naga City on October 14-15, 2011.

Thank you very much.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Youth Journalists and Bloggers: 7th UNESCO Youth Forum

Call for applications- Youth Journalists and Bloggers- 7th UNESCO Youth Forum

 7th UNESCO Youth Forum of the 36th UNESCO General Conference will take place from 17 to 20 October 2011.
Established in 1999, the Youth Forum has become an integral part of UNESCO’s highest decision-making body – the General Conference. It brings together young delegates from all over the world to exchange views, share experiences and identify common opportunities and challenges.
As part of the 7th Youth Forum, UNESCO will be offering five young journalists and bloggers the opportunity to participate in the Paris event. Journalists and bloggers who are selected to attend the 7thUNESCO Youth Forum will be able to network with youth delegates from 193 countries, with key members of international organizations and with non-governmental organizations.
A young blogger from each of UNESCO’s five constituent regions (Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America & Latin America and the Caribbean) will be selected.
The application deadline is Thursday, September 15, 2011.
Youth journalists and bloggers have three roles: Firstly, they will ensure internal coverage of the Forum through blogs, articles, video clips, radio coverage and other relevant mediums. Secondly, they will be responsible for reporting news of the Forum to their regional and local communities, networks and organizations. Thirdly, they will accompany the action of youth delegates in implementing the recommendations of the Forum in the regions.
Below are the basic selection criteria and the processes for application and selection.
Applications should be sent to with the reference “Youth blogger application for the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum”
Air travel and accommodation for the selected youth journalists and bloggers will be covered by UNESCO.
By reporting on the Youth Forum’s discussions, activities, regional follow-up, and outcomes, the youngjournalists and bloggers will directly enhance its results.
We look forward to receiving your applications!
UNESCO – Section for Youth, Sport and Physical Education
Criteria for Selection
General requirements for youth journalists and bloggers:
  • Be below 30 years of age
  • To have journalism (online, print, photo, video, radio) and/or blogging experience
  • To have a working knowledge of English and/or French. Knowledge of another of the six official United Nations languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) will be an asset
Selection Process
The selection panel of the UNESCO Section for Youth, Sport and Physical Education is looking for youth journalists and bloggers based upon the above criteria. The final selection will take into consideration the representation from the five UNESCO regions, languages and gender parity.
* Required documents for selection process
  • CV
  • A brief cover letter.
  • Online articles, videos, etc which prove journalism experience.
  • Name and e-mail of two references from people who are familiar with the work of the youth blogger.
Click here for more info.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

World Youth Movement for Democracy: First Annual Photography Contest

Youth in Action: A Snapshot of Democracy

Share Your Experiences and Capture Images of Democracy
Submit your photo capturing democracy, and win an opportunity to attend one of the largest global gatherings of democracy activists, scholars, policy makers, and donors. The World Youth Movement for Democracy is pleased to announce the launch of its Global Photo Contest. Fifteen semi-finalists (Five in each category: Building a Movement, Democracy in Action, and Youth Igniting Change) will be announced on 1 December 2011, and will have their winning photo published on the WYMD Web site. One finalist will be selected from each category through online open voting for a total of three finalists. The final results of the contest will be announced on 15 December 2011.
Photo Categories
Democracy has been practiced in different ways and in different contexts. We believe there are core universal democratic values and aspirations that we all share, even though we live in different countries and regions, speak different languages, and practice different traditions. These can be reflected in our daily lives, and images capturing them can tell many stories about how people see, and where people find, democracy.
The purpose of this contest is to demonstrate understanding of the workings of democracy in your daily life by capturing images of democracy in action, youth igniting change, or the building of movements to create change for your community. The categories below outline concepts that photographs should embody. Each category is open to participant’s personal interpretation and understanding of how the photo applies to the relevant category, and should be accompanied by a short (100 word maximum) tagline to explain your concept and reasoning behind the photograph.
 Each submitted photo is required to fall into one of the following categories:
Building a Movement — youth, human rights, and women’s rights movements, among others, can begin with just one person reaching out to a few others in his or her community. How do you and other young people begin building a movement from the grassroots up? How are young people and broader communities mobilized? How does a movement grow? Why are you part of a particular movement? 
Democracy in Action — democracy is more than casting a vote. It includes active participation in your community and the political freedom to do so. It can be gathering your neighbors to hold a community discussion, posting information expressing different viewpoints, or joining a political party or civic organization. What does democracy mean to you? How do you perceive democracy in your community? What areas are others trying to improve? What is it about democracy that you most appreciate in your community? How does democracy translate to action?
Youth Igniting Change — Youth are a powerful force to bring about change to a community. Often change comes about by youth asking the question “why?” and planting the seed to make others in the community think progressively to improve society and policies. What are youth doing to positively change your community? How is change brought about?
Please submit your photo by 1 November 2011, online at: Photo Contest/Contest Entry Form.html. Photos may be in jpeg, bmp, or gif format. Your submission must include a short caption that provides the necessary background to understand the meaning of the photo. The caption can be submitted in Arabic, English, French, Russian, or Spanish, and can be no longer than 100 words.
Rules and Regulations
Each participant can submit only one photo per category to the contest and may not enter duplicate photos (i.e. enter the same photo to each category). A person who violates this regulation will become automatically ineligible. By submitting a photo to the contest, the participant consents to publication of his/her original work and photos must not be previously published. Participants must be no younger than 18 and no older than 35 years old before 1 November 2011. Participants are welcome from all parts of the world – where democracy is limited, transitioning, or established.

August 2011 – Launch of the Essay Contest
November 1, 2011 – DEADLINE!
December 1, 2011 – Announcement of 15 semi-finalists (five from each of three categories), and open online voting to select three finalists (one from each category).
December 15, 2011 – Three finalists announced
Review Process
Each category will have its own regionally balanced review committee that will be comprised ofLeadership Board members and Democracy Ambassadors to determine the five semi-finalists. Photos will be evaluated based on:
Clarity—is it understandable what the picture is meant to capture and how it relates to the category; 
Creativity—is the concept of the photo original and capture democracy in a new light or bring a new understanding to it; 
Practicality—does the picture capture ideas or concepts that show how democracy can be applied and is applicable in diverse communities; and 
Message— does the picture communicate a meaningful and relevant message.
 The photos of the 15 semi-finalists will be posted online for open voting to determine three finalists in each category.
Finalists will be provided with sponsorship to cover their travel and other expenses to participate in the Seventh Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in October 2012. (

The photos of the three finalists will be showcased on the World Youth Movement for Democracy and World Movement for Democracy Web sites, as well as at the Seventh Assembly. 
To submit an entry to the Photo Contest click here.
Help spread the Photo Contest announcement! A flier with full information can be found here.