By Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo

Four Filipino social communities have been selected to be part of a training program by Facebook.

MentalHealthPH, Filipina Homebased Moms (FHMoms), BEAGIVER, and Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK) will be joining nine other participants from Australia, Indonesia, and Thailand for Facebook’s Community Accelerator. It is a six-month program that aims to help communities by providing training, mentorship, and funding of up to $3 million, with a guaranteed $30,000 for each participant.

MentalHealthPH, led and co-founded by Yves Miel Zuniga, aims to promote and protect mental health in the Philippines with the help of social media and digital technology. They have launched numerous campaigns such as Voices of Hope, which collates the inspiring stories of Filipinos dealing with their mental health.

Starting out as a Facebook support group for freelancing mothers, FHMoms has transformed into an e-learning, e-commerce, and job-matching platform. The objective of founder Maria Korina Bertulfo is to help mothers gain financial security and achieve personal growth, and help women find home-based livelihood opportunities. 

BEAGIVER is a social enterprise founded by Josh Mahinay that supports education and local livelihood through various endeavors. Their bags are manufactured locally, sourcing materials and manpower from communities in Zamboanga, Bulacan, Rizal, and Manila. Furthermore, they donate a bag for every one sold to a beneficiary student from their partner schools. 

Founded by Ayesha Vera Yu, the goal of ARK is to solve hunger, get children in the provinces back to school, and create a self-sustaining future. Through their 5-cent School Lunch program, farmers and fisherfolk harvest and prepare their children’s lunches from a community garden themselves, giving them the nutrition that they need to stay in school. 

Other participants include Ripple, an Australian platform that connects young people with purpose-driven career development opportunities and aims to increase their civic participation; MotherHope Indonesia, a community that promotes perinatal mental health literacy in support of affected mothers and families; and Young Pride Club, which provides learning opportunities and on-the-ground and online activism activities on gender equality and the LGBT+ community for Thai youth.

Selection criteria included the desire to create social impact, leadership, business model, and capacity to scale. “In the end, it boiled down to communities that are already driving positive, lasting change, but need help to scale their efforts and grow in size,” said Grace Clapham, head of community partnerships – APAC at Facebook.

For the first half of the program, the participants will learn about growth strategies, the Facebook tools that they can utilize to grow and scale their communities, and how to measure impact. They will also create a customized curriculum for their communities’ growth. 

For the remaining half, they will iterate and execute their curricula with funding, network support, and a dedicated team provided by Community Accelerator. The program then concludes with the communities showcasing their work and progress to external funders and partners. 

Community Accelerator is part of the Facebook Community Leadership Program (CLP), a global initiative that invests in leaders who build communities. Other efforts include Learning Labs, a program that brings Facebook group administrators together into a digital classroom for structured learning, and the Community Hub, a platform that provides resources on how Facebook groups work as well as stories and news about various Facebook communities.