Our Southern Philippines city was in crisis upon our return from TechCamp Thailand. We knew that with this crisis there was an opportunity and that it was the perfect time to continue the conversation and apply our new knowledge to take a significant action. We quickly launched the #MealforMarawi initiative which became a successful campaign that fed 2,000 war refugees in roughly 10 days. For us it was proof how tech platforms and tools, if utilized in the right way, can influence and spark movements wherever you are from. The team eventually decided that we must bring the TechCamps concept to the Philippines, and thanks to a TechCamp grant, we made it happen!
TechCamp Philippines was a series of mini TechCamps that were held in three major cities of the Philippines in spring 2018, namely Iloilo (March 3), Cagayan de Oro (March 10) and Manila (March 17). The TechCamps were designed as a 1-day skill-building workshops to prepare 90 youth organizations in the Philippines to utilize technology to improve their community work. The core theme of these workshops were promoting peace and fighting misinformation which are timely concerns in the country.
The program at each workshop was divided into three parts: theme discussion, technology, and taking action. While the chosen participants are experienced community organizers the majority of them have barely done peace work. Thus, it was necessary for all participants to learn about the basics concepts of peace promotion through the help of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
In the technology sessions, we invited experts in the Philippines to share knowledge about new technologies, techniques, and strategies in subjects like mobile journalism, digital storytelling, crowdfunding, digital marketing, and open-source technologies. The participants were thrilled with this opportunity and found this to be the most exciting part of the workshop.
Finally, to help spur participants to take action, we had a session on design thinking. At the end of the workshop participants were able to formulate some ideas that they can implement when they go back to their respective organizations. There were some notable ideas like using mobile journalism to tackle youth depression, using digital storytelling to educate indigenous communities, and increase detecting fake news using open source technologies.
A TechCamp Philippines Network has been established to connect all participants and mentors. The team believes that this will help all of us collaborate for future projects and continue to advocate the positive use of technology for the greater good.