THE Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) has partnered with a business processing outsourcing (BPO) company based in Davao City to train Internally Displaced Youth (IDY) to become virtual assistants.
During the Kapehan sa Dabaw weekly press conference, VSO Philippines project manager Lyca Sarenas said a weeklong virtual assistant training was conducted in Marawi City for 25 IDYs, aged 18 to early 20s.
Sarenas said their partnership with the Knights of Online Marketers will be an opportunity for young professionals who are interested in online jobs to be linked to potential online employers based abroad.
During the weeklong training which was done during the first week of April, Sarenas said an internet café in Marawi was rented as venue for the said training. As it was difficult to access good internet connection in the area, they found the internet café a viable solution to the dilemma.
“These kinds of training will help provide livelihood opportunities for the younger people. It will also serve as an alternative option and a long-term support for those who are interested in other things. Of course, there may be others who are not interested in say, weaving or other livelihood programs, so we are giving them this alternative option as well,” said Sarenas.
After the training, she said they are going to follow through with the individual participants should they need assistance with the employment and to see how effective the trainings are in matching them with potential employers. VSO Philippines and Knights of Online Marketers will only serve as bridges between the IDYs and the employers abroad. With the online nature of being a virtual assistant, Sarenas said it would be easier for the IDYs to get revenues as they can start working in Marawi City and would need not go away, as long as there is good internet connection.
When asked if they plan to conduct a second batch of virtual assistants training, Sarenas said they will observe how this pilot batch goes and hopefully with its success, they are going to conduct another session. The 25 IDYs who participated in the program were all residents of Marawi City and the others are still living in evacuation centers.
According to VSO Philippines head of programs Arlene Mahinay, these types of trainings are there way of reaching out to the internally displaced people after the Marawi siege especially with the youth and the women given that they are the most vulnerable to exploitation in the midst of displacements.
As the virtual assistant training just completed two weeks ago, VSO Philippines and Knights of Online Marketers is still in the process of linking the trainees with potential employers.