Through its Emergency Assistance Rehabilitation and Recovery of Marawi Output 4 - Restoring Learning and Livelihoods project, Save the Children Philippines in partnership with Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, financed by the Government of Japan through the Asian Development Bank, conducted a Validation and Training of Trainers on the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Module for the Bangsamoro Learners on March 14-18, 2021 held in Cagayan de Oro City. The five-day activity aims to pilot the training module to the initial group of MHPSS champions and at the same time gather inputs and recommendations based on the pilot run. This was participated by the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office headed by Director Ronilda Co of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Services (DRRMS), the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE), Directorate-General for Basic Education (DGBE)’s Curriculum Chief, Yul Olaya, and the recommended trainers from the Division of Lanao del Sur I, Division of Lanao del Sur II as well as the City Division of Marawi City headed by the OIC-Schools Division Superintendent Anna Zenaida Unte-Alonto. The results of the activity will also support the alignment to programs and appropriate approaches in developing a contextualized MHPSS for the learners in the Bangsamoro.
OIC-SDS Unte-Alonto thanked Save the Children Philippines for assisting learners in the Bangsamoro since the Marawi City siege. She also shared that she hopes that continuous help will be provided until the last child is transitioned to the regular school in Marawi City. She also expressed her appreciation to Director Co of DepEd Central Office for her presence and inputs as well as to the participants who tirelessly gave their best in enhancing the MHPSS materials.
Yul Olaya, Curriculum Chief of DGBE-MBHTE, highlighted the importance of MHPSS to the Ministry. “This MHPSS material will greatly help us in the Ministry. MHPSS is very important in BARMM especially in the incoming school year because we cannot deny the fact that there are learning losses because of the pandemic and this is where the MHPSS material comes in. This is very critical and important because it prepares the socioemotional aspect of a child, it prepares them to learn. So, we start with MHPSS,” he added.
Director Co, DRRMS-DepEd Central Office, reminded everyone on the importance of MHPSS and why it is crucial for everyon to work together in order for BARMM to succeed. “One leader will not change everything; we have to bank on ourselves. We need to work together and I thank you for allowing us to work with you. Let us work together to make it happen for BARMM and for the nation. Mental Health is our advocacy because your greatest resource is the people. We need a paradigm shift on how we look at mental health. Be kinder to ourselves and one another, to teachers and non-teaching personnel, because everyone is important, you are important, we are all important. You should do it for yourselves and for the children. This is still a long way but it is a journey worth taking,” she added.
Edwin Horca, BARMM Team Leader of the Save the Children Philippines, ended the five-day activity with a reminder that “Education is an act of justice. The simple act starts within us. You are a Bangsamoro, we are Bangsamoro. You are not alone in doing this because we are part of the nation.”
Together with the rest of the participants present, they signed the pledge of commitment and sang a song that symbolizes their hopes and commitment to have safe spaces for children in the Bangsamoro.