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Cassana Kelly - Blog 2: Participatory Learning

Cassana Kelly - Blog 2: Participatory Learning

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A few weeks ago I spent  a beautiful weekend at the Malasimbo music festival in Puerta Galera.  Something about festivals always seems to leave me beaming with happiness, gratefulness and a new found sense of community.  Perhaps it is the mixture of barefoot dancing, drum beats and the laid back reggae feel that fosters open-hearted interactions between all who attend.  These interactions I warmly treasure and find oh-so inspiring.

Although I feel I have now become somewhat accustomed to Manila my heart soars when I am once again surrounded by the ocean, open space and clean air- much like my beloved Vancouver Island. I camped with friends in the festival grounds which doubles as an eco-cultural site throughout the year.  It was amazing to connect with some aspects of indigenous culture and the beautiful landscapes of Mindoro.

After spending the afternoon hiking up a river to waterfalls with a few fast-friends we all joined for dinner at an Italian restaurant on the beach.  I found myself sharing a meal with a successful corporate man turned beach-wanderer, a sustainable agriculture masters student, and a married couple who teach English in Vietnam.  Dinner conversation was a flurry of French, Spanish, English, and Chinese and I became intensely inspired by the passionate people I was surrounded by.   

The pattern of meeting amazing and inspiring people has transferred over into my work life as well. This not only includes my vibrant and hardworking co-workers but also the many people I have had the opportunity to meet within the migrant advocacy and human rights community in Manila.

Perhaps what I am finding most enjoyable about my internship is the opportunity to participate in so many conferences and consultations.  This week I attended the National Consultation on Population Dynamics in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.  The consultation was led by the UNFPA, UN DESA, UN Habitat and the IOM in close collaboration with various other international agencies.  The consultation was one of many held between various stakeholders including leading academics, civil society and the private sector.  Through collaborative efforts, the global, thematic consultations seek to create authoritative  positions on how population dynamics affect development challenges, and a broad based consensus on how population dynamics can be best addressed in the post 2015 development agenda. The consensus from the consultations are then used to create tangible and actionable recommendations to address priority issues related to population dynamics.  The consultations emphasize the importance of taking rights-based and gender-responsive policies to address aspects of population dynamics.  The consultations are organized to focus on four main topics: high fertility and population growth, low fertility and population aging, internal and international migration, and urbanization.

Similarly, this morning I attended a EU Thematic Programme on Migration and Asylum- A Project on Enhancing Labor Migration Management Systems in Asia.  It too was a participatory consultation on labor migration management with a focus on ethical recruitment practices, development of migrant resource centers, and intensifying campaigns against illegal recruitment and trafficking.  The consultation posed as a great opportunity for me to not only learn perspectives from a variety of stakeholders but to also solidify some of the professional connections I had made at the consultation earlier in the week as there were a lot of the same people in attendance. 

The opportunity for me to participate in so many consultations has provided many valuable experiences which I will soon be able to put into practice! I have just been informed that I will be able to utilize these experiences as I embark on my most recent assignment  to organize and assist in conducting two NGO consultations hosted by CMA which will be held for the purpose of preparing for the Second State Party Report to the Migrant Workers Committee. The consultations will seek to compile input from various  NGO's in order to create a parallel report to the government's which replies to the List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPR) drafted by the MWC. The consultations will be held in Manila and Davao sometime in May.

Needless to say at this point in time I couldn't be enjoying my internship, community, and lifestyle more! Happy days all around!