CHRISTIAN SALDUA GODOY is a 22-year-old youth from Santa Cruz Davao Del Sur, Philippines- a graduate of Bachelor of Secondary Education with a Major in Technology and Livelihood Education and is also well-versed and proficient in the Japanese language and has passed the JLPT
In the midst of the COVID crisis in the Philippines, with the health system almost collapsing due to the rise in a number of cases, a young lad and the son of a farmer member of Davnor Fairtrade Coconut Farmers Association, FLO ID 38088 in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur leads the way for the youth in the community by forming a youth group to support them to overcome the challenges.
‘’The COVID-19 outbreak continues to create distress in the lives of Filipinos especially to poor family farmers in rural areas. While some businesses have shut down others are declaring bankruptcy and laying off workers. We have missed so many job opportunities since we cannot go outside our municipality. Schools have shut down until further notice while distance learning is being implemented. The supports given by the Government is not enough. We need other sources of income and we need more opportunities for young people to support their families.”
Christian has been active in leading voluntary works in the community and has formed a youth group, in which he was elected as the President. The group includes 30 youth out of which 10 are female, and it was formed to encourage more young people to use their talents and skills to help one another live up to their best potential and achieve greater goals in life.
Pic: Christian together with the members of the Youth core group in Sta. Cruz.
Even before the pandemic, Christian was aware that many youths in his community lacked access to quality education, better wages, capital to start their business and a chronic shortage of jobs, forcing them to get into drugs, street fights and smoking as a way to deal with the unemployment and stresses of life. Many are unable to spend normal adulthood due to early pregnancies and parenthood.
“I believe that young people have the knowledge that can support the older generation in maximizing their potential as a Fairtrade organization. Youth if given the opportunity can be skilled in the use of technology and innovation, contribute fresh business ideas, and do creative marketing that can help the Fairtrade organization to not only improve their farming practices but also improve the business processes thereby, contributing to the success of its members and their families. As the core group president, I want to provide a safe space for the youth to express themselves through arts and activities, or by just being able to talk openly with their peers and caring adults. I am proud that my father is a supporter of this initiative for the Davnor Fairtrade Coconut Farmers Association. Being a part of the core group can help our members to develop and improve their personal and interpersonal skills. These include the ability to think critically and the assumption of personal and group responsibility’’
Christian’s insight on Agriculture in the Philippines
He believes that the best time for young people to get involved in agriculture is today. “Some of us will inherit the farmlands from our parents. This is a privilege not everyone could get. We are so used to our parents doing farming yet only a few are seen pursuing Agri related courses because of the limited economic scope and sometimes breakeven due to high production cost. Despite that, I know we can do more to save the agriculture sector’’.
Christian regularly follows the news of Fairtrade International and Fairtrade Foundation to keep himself updated on the growing Fairtrade Movement for the benefits of the youth and someday he would like to engage in connecting youth initiatives from the producer’s side to the consumers.
The next step for Christian and the Youth core group is to set up a consultation meeting with the officers of Davnor Fairtrade Coconut Farmers Association to present their plan. They also plan to organize a Zoom call where he can connect to other young people in Malita and Tagum where members of Davnor Fairtrade Coconut Farmers Association are located.
NOTE: The above contents do not reflect the views or opinions (expressed or implied) of Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP). Any views or opinions represented in the content solely belong to the youth.