23 October 2021

Can leadership and love for country really be nurtured online?

This was what nation-building movement Pinas Forward (PF) successfully accomplished in  what might be the largest voter education effort of  2021, with over 65,000 total attendance in the free webinars they’ve conducted so far this year.

Recognizing the need to empower the youth to drive positive social change in their respective communities, Pinas Forward teamed up with Globe Telecom to bring the “Gen LIT!” webinars to schools, organizations, and local government units across the country.

Developed primarily for the Filipino youth, “Gen LIT!” is an enlightening and engaging voter-education program that emphasizes the importance of Filipino leadership and the youth vote. These sessions were supplemented with talks about information consumption on social networks and digital citizenship.

“Pinas Forward’s Gen LIT! webinars equip young men and women with 21st century knowledge and skills in utilizing technology and connectivity for the common good. This is only one of the ways to achieve our vision of building a nation led by a new generation of leaders, who are inspiring, intelligent, digitally aware, and driven towards positive change,” shared Christine Pambuan, Project Manager of Pinas Forward.

To date, there have been 71 Gen LIT! webinars and participants have represented all 17 regions in the Philippines.

Pinas Forward collaborates with community partners on which talks and modules would be relevant to include in the webinar to be held in their school or organization. PF then selects from its pool of learning specialists or invites distinguished resource speakers to deliver these discussions.

Most partner groups have requested Pinas Forward to help their audience prepare better for the upcoming elections. PF welcomed on their virtual stage the likes of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson James Jimenez, historian Xiao Chua, “Your Millennial Psychologist” Riyan Portuguez, and political scientist Cleve Arguelles on these said webinars.

Pinas Forward has also consulted and worked closely with Jonathan Corpus Ong and Jason Vincent Cabañes, authors of the study “Architects of Networked Disinformation: Behind the Scene of Troll Accounts and Fake News Production in the Philippines.”
“The webinar is very timely and appropriate as young people nowadays seem to have limited involvement with social issues and their values of nationalism and patriotism are diminishing. Gen LIT! raised the level of awareness that they play an important role in society to achieve change,” said Aristotle Gonzales, Dean of Student Services for Medical Colleges of Northern Philippines and International School of Asia and the Pacific. Their webinar was held on June 21.]

Notable universities and colleges Pinas Forward was able to work with for Gen LIT! were De La Salle Lipa, Lyceum of the Philippines, Centro Escolar University, San Beda University, St. Louis University, University of Rizal System, Batangas State University, Bulacan State University, and Eastern Visayas State University. PF also partnered with Department of Education (DepEd) offices to bring Gen LIT! to public senior high schools.

Besides voter education, youth leadership, and digital citizenship, other issues and concerns tackled by Pinas Forward’s webinars were on mental health in the time of the pandemic, cybersecurity, and parenting in the digital age.

Pinas Forward has also held a special Gen LIT! webinar exclusively for members of the deaf and hard of hearing communities all over the country. Done in partnership with the Philippine Mental Health Association Lipa-Batangas Chapter, PF invited a sign language interpreter to interpret the entire three-hour webinar on August 27.

With the support of Globe, Pinas Forward will continue to create programs to inspire young leaders to embrace nationalism and motivate the youth to pursue development through volunteerism and community engagement.

To know more about how your school or organization can avail of Pinas Forward’s programs, get in touch with PF through or [email protected].