Pinas Forward President Pao Pangan (leftmost), together with YGoal Mentors Chester Fabian and JR Demecais (first and second from right), poses with e-Bayanihan Ideathon 2023 participants from the Philippine Science High School - Central Luzon Campus. Team Kalibur, represented by (from second from left) Adviser Sharmaine Lizada and delegates Andie Moreno, Kim Mendoza, and Enzo Banzon, is only one of the several groups that successfully completed the two-month learning-intensive program.

Social movement Pinas Forward recently concluded its first e-Bayanihan Ideathon, which was participated by 72 young individuals from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao who were empowered to transform their concerns into innovative solutions.

Over two months, these budding visionaries immersed themselves in an intensive program, arming themselves with essential tools and knowledge necessary to transform their tech-for-good ideas into reality, all through the strategic application of the Design Thinking framework.

Facilitated with consulting and training social enterprise YGoal, Inc. as learning partner and sponsored by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the Ideathon produced a diverse range of innovative projects, from developing a mobile app that alleviates commuting challenges to creating an online platform that provides tutorial support to students. These projects are dedicated to addressing pressing social challenges in the Philippines, contributing significantly to the nation’s societal well-being.

Through a series of workshops and mentoring sessions, delegates gained valuable insights into effecting meaningful change in their communities. These sessions, facilitated by experts and like-minded individuals, equipped them with essential tools for empathizing with end-users, operationalizing projects, and addressing community challenges.

Moreover, participants engaged in in-person workshops focused on project management and prototyping, enhancing their learning journey. Consequently, the program guided delegates in collaboratively designing and developing 15 civic projects that tackle diverse social issues.

At the heart of the program was the core mission of developing tech-for-good civic projects, aligning with Pinas Forward’s primary objective of advancing digital democracy and digital development. The participants not only refined their initial ideas but also presented well-developed solutions to various social challenges such as unemployment, livelihood accessibility, education, online safety, and disinformation. These projects are poised to instigate meaningful and sustainable change in their respective communities.

Among the standout projects was “TraPick,” a mobile application developed by Team Maji from the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines in Cagayan de Oro. TraPick aims to enhance commuting in Cagayan de Oro by providing real-time bus occupancy and seat availability information, streamlining travel, and minimizing stress for commuters.

Another noteworthy initiative is #BAYANKABUHAYAN, a project developed by Team SIKAP from Parañaque National High School-Main. This initiative takes the form of a livelihood website, aiming to provide vocational ideas and opportunities to both students and unemployed individuals in Parañaque City. To empower citizens, the project offers valuable vocational resources, enhancing their prospects for sustainable livelihood.

In a similar vein, Team SHORE-SKwela from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan has implemented innovative techniques in their supplementary education programs for incoming first-year students and aspiring scholars in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) City. By integrating these innovations, they effectively enhance the knowledge base of their young kababayans, preparing them thoroughly for scholarship-qualifying exams such as the CDO City Scholarship Program and Department of Science and Technology scholarships.

One of the participants, Lord Cedrick Haroll T. Abaya of San Luis National High School in Pampanga, shared his gratitude for being part of Ideathon.

“I was able to connect with other people, and at the same time, I was able to showcase my passion for connecting with people and creating positive impact and change in society. I would like to thank Pinas Forward and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy for this wonderful opportunity to promote and showcase our visions for the betterment of the nation,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the advisers of the participating teams, Kim Patrick B. Caparal from Ilaya Barangka Integrated School, said, “The impact of this event is huge. It’s not just about them. It’s not just about themselves anymore. It’s about their community. Now they have a sense of responsibility that they feel they have a duty. So, I’m happy that their sense of ownership of their projects has come alive.