- Franz Karunungan
Making It Happen
They say that many are called, but few are chosen. I'd like to add that even fewer volunteer. The problems in the country keep on piling up, and with the limited resources that we have, it's really difficult to remedy each one of them.
They say that many are called, but few are chosen. I'd like to add that even fewer volunteer. The problems in the country keep on piling up, and with the limited resources that we have, it's really difficult to remedy each one of them. This is why everyone, no matter the age or capacity, should raise their arms up and volunteer to solve the issues that plague our country.
This is the essence of the Unilab Ideas Positive (UIP) - to enable the youth to stand up and put forward their innovative ideas to solve pressing health issues in our country. By providing seed money, training and guidance, UIP provides the youth an opportunity to create the change that they want to make.
In UIP Run 3, our team “Five for Life” was able to be part of this competition. Among the hundreds of entries and participants, our positive idea, “Platong Makulay para sa Batang Matibay” made it to the National Finals, and came out as one of the top 5 projects. Our idea focused on decreasing the number of malnourished children in Barangay San Vicente in Diliman, Quezon City through the use of "Platong Makulay." These are actual ceramic plates with a colorful design that teach mothers about cooking and serving a balanced meal for their children. We implemented the project among 30 mothers and their malnourished children, and after the 6-month implementation period, we were able to bring 95% of the children to a higher state of nutrition than they had before.
My journey with UIP was life-changing. Having been exposed to other competitions in the past, I always felt limited with just pitching ideas to a panel of judges and stopping there. I’d never had the chance to actually implement my idea on a real market until I went through UIP. Moreover, as a student of the University of the Philippines, I always felt the need to do something significant to the people around me, but I always doubted my capabilities to do so. With UIP, I realized that I had the potential to change the people around me in my own way.
My most memorable experience with UIP was during our interview with Barangay Health Workers after the project. Ate Mherly, our key contact with the community, expressed her deepest gratitude to our team and to our project because we helped the children to get out of malnutrition. My heart melted with happiness and fulfillment knowing that I was able to provide a huge amount of help to someone in need.
With UIP, I realized that I have a purpose and an unwritten responsibility to create change. Currently, I am working on crafting initiatives in making our project bigger and better, so that our team’s project may be able to eradicate malnutrition in more communities in the Philippines.
UIP is indeed making the Philippines a healthier place. One idea at a time, one community at a time, UIP is turning the visions of the youth into positive realities.
So to all the youth out there - You can make a change! Don't let your age, reach, or resources let you think that you can't. Countless opportunities like UIP are out there, waiting to enable you to make a positive and lasting impact in your community.
Franz is now employed as a Project Assistant of the Ideas Positive team of Unilab Foundation. He is working on scaling up his team’s project, “Platong Makulay Para Sa Batang Matibay”, to reach more communities nationwide. He loves to cook, play the violin, and read business books.