A TEAM from the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) based in Washington DC and the Department of Health lauded the volunteerism program of the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) in Iloilo City for their service to poor slum villages.

Cate Lane, USAid youth advisor, said the volunteer system of FPOP was effective in delivering services to at least six contiguous coastal barangays here and expected to stem the rise of unwanted teen-age pregnancies.

Mona Diones, FPOP Chapter program manager, said the volunteerism spirit are focused mainly on selected membership of the youth core group and youth leaders who have undergone comprehensive trainings on adolescence, youth and reproductive health programs.

Janvie Amido, FPOP Iloilo youth program coordinator, reported to the visitors on Wednesday, March 13, the manner of selecting youth volunteers to spearhead the public and private projects on teen pregnancy, family planning and birth spacing and the need for delayed pregnancy and monthly medical missions in the barangays.

Amido said the programs focus on lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgenders (LGBT), men sex with men and early pregnancies with selected peer counselors and mentors composed of volunteer doctors, midwives, nurses and advocates. 

Similarly, the Iloilo chapter and its youth core group, in coordination with the Department of Education city division office, has piloted two schools in Arevalo district to include special education modules on family planning and reproductive health to the curriculum such as science, health and social studies. 

The schools are the Calaparan Elementary School for Grade 5 and Grade 6 pupils, and the Melchor Nava National High School, also in Calaparan, Arevalo district. 

Aside from Lane, the visiting group include Teresa Carpio of USAid Philippine youth advisor; Joni Dichosa and Nelida Perez, also of USAid Philippines; youth specialists Lucina Tapere and Myrna Hernandez of PRISM2; and Jun Onayan and Juanito Basilio of the Department of Health. (Lydia C. Pendon)