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  • Joan Urieta

The Unilab Foundation stays on course

Angela Duckworth, the world’s leading expert on “grit”, defines GRIT as passion and sustained persistence applied toward a long-term achievement. It combines resilience, ambition, and self-control in pursuit of goals.


2022 is a year for Scale-up initiatives in ULF. This milestone marks the success of our Programs in pivoting projects that are evidence-based and are co-created with partners and industry experts to truly deliver innovative and impactful interventions in STEM, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Youth Engagement.



Our Knowledge Products


1. Pinays Can STEM (PCS) Toolkit

Pinays Can STEM, ULF’s flagship advocacy platform for STEM aims to expand its community of girls and women with shared interests in STEM as it launched the Pinays Can STEM Toolkit in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW). It is a digital toolkit that provides content and resources to explore the wonders and opportunities in STEM for young Pinays, and develop their passion for STEM learning and STEM career.


To increase its reach in schools, Pinays Can STEM partnered with DepEd for the distribution of the PCS Toolkit.

2. Mental Health and Wellbeing Modules

Heads UP PH Program scales up its efforts in protecting the mental health and in promoting the wellbeing of learners by co-developing these modules with various mental health experts and have been vetted by a Collaborative of mental health professional associations. Training-workshops with selected partner schools are ongoing.


Program Module: Project Aspire : Child and Adolescent Risk Screener.

A mental healthscreening tools for students to advance school mental health assessment practices in the Philippines through universal screening.

Target Participants: Elementary andSecondary Education Learners,Ages4-20 years old, and Parents ofthe Kinder to Grade 3.


Program Module: RACE Against Suicide

It is an evidence-based gatekeeper manual with massive open online course tailored fit for administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, health personnel and other mental health professionals.

Target Participants: Counselors, Teachers, School Nurses


Fostering Integrative Collaborative Care in School Mental Health: A Toolkit for Effective Referral/Treatment Protocols

It is a manual on building a mental health referral pathway for learners in public schools focusing on high-risk segment of the population (12-18 years old) in collaboration with Department of Health-National Center for Mental Health(DOH-NCMH) and Department of Education.

Target Participants: Counselors, Nurses and Teachers

A total of 121 teachers, Guidance Counsellors and Designates, School Heads, Nurses, Psychologists, and Psychometricians, and 9 partner schools have been trained for the RACE and Integrative Toolkits.


3. Innovative Solutions to Connected Learning

STEM+PH develops an online Mentoring Platform called STEM Konek that provides learners’ access to mentors and the well-curated and relevant STEM resources.


Development of Handbook Content and Matching database for mentors and mentees were completed already. Systems launched is scheduled in Q3.


The National STEMBee PH is the first-ever National STEM Quiz Bee organized by PAASE in partnership with SLA-PH and CISTEM of Unilab Foundation, UP-NISMED and DepEd-Curriculum and Instruction.


A total of 905 learners, 94 schools, and 139 coaches have been engaged through the monthly challenges.


Harnessing the Power of Partnerships


1. Bayanihan for Wellbeing Collaborative

In line with its vision of being a multi-stakeholder driven initiative, BWB convened a mental health leadership retreat last 24-25 April 2022 among leaders representing the mental health professional organizations that are currently part of the initiative. Represented during the retreat were the following organizations:

Psychological Association of the Philippines, Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association,Philippine Psychiatric Association, and thePhilippine Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


Areas of collaboration identified include research, awareness raising, program development, and intersectoral partnerships), and identified potential strategies and approaches for sustainability and scale-up.


2. STEM Leadership Alliance (SLA)

A Strategic Planning with SLA Members was conducted in March to draw-up its 5-Year Strategic Plan to strengthen public policy and collaborative program development in the STEM Ecosystem. The output of this initiative is a Governance Manual for the SLA.


3. Our Special Projects

ULF seeks partnerships and projects that will create opportunities for stronger community engagements. Through these initiatives, ULF can test its proof of concepts for potential pilot implementation which can then transformed as a core project in either ULF Program Pillars or through the Spin-offs.


Moving Forward with the Youth in community-based health projects


ULF believes in investing in the Filipino Youths contribution to responding to health challenges in their communities. Youth Forward PH, the youth engagement Program of ULF piloted the Project Kaakbay, its new youth-led, community-based program to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care. Pilot site is in Dagupan City.


53 youths have been equipped as advocates of health.

209 youths have gained access and participated to Youth Forward PH’s activities.


Spin-offs’ Highlights


Center for Integrated STEM Education (CISTEM)

With the vision #STEMified Philippines, a total of 645 teachers were empowered to teach an authentic integrated STEM education through the following teacher-upskilling initiatives of CISTEM.


Two hundred thirty (230) ALS teachers participated the 3 batches of 5-day intensive STEM Up to Step UP online training workshop facilitated by CISTEM, Inc. in partnership with UNICEF Philippines for its pilot implementation of the STEM for ALS Training Workshop last April and May 2022.


Seventy-five (75) TESDA instructors from across the 17 regions participated the 5-day intensive online training workshop facilitated by CISTEM, Inc. in partnership with the International Labor Organization and TESDA, aimed at developing a STEM in TVET skills curriculum guide using learner-centred pedagogies on TVET training programs.


One hundred thirty (130) teachers from the 50 participating schools weretrained with PISA- and TIMSS-aligned pedagogies through the STEM BeePhilippines program in partnership with the STEM Leadership Alliance PH, the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE), UPNISMED and Department of Education.


A total of 210 STEM teachers attended the 3rd annual National Conference entitled "sySTEM UP grade: STEM for a Better Normal" organized by the University of the Philippines and CISTEM.


To leverage the learner empowerment pillar, CISTEM works with Dow Philippines on a grant as contracted by PBSP on the Plastics Sustainability Education. As of February 2022, the project was able to curate modules for Grade 5 learners on plastic recycling and reuse.

Project Inclusion Network (PIN)

Consistent with its thrust for 2022 to Scaling up their Social Impact and Securing Financial Viability, PIN supported the access to economic empowerment opportunities for 110 Persons with Disability - with 7 accessing employment, 63 accessing training opportunities, and 30 accessing psychosocial and professional support.


PIN also piloted a Work Skills Workshop with 8 Persons with Disability that focuses on self-advocacy and social skills of Persons with Neurodevelopmental Disability in the workplace. The workshop pilots a potential model that streamlines PIN’s operations, and potentially generates revenue by adapting practices from pediatric therapy centers and contextualizing it into the vocational preparation space for working-age Persons with Disability.


In addition to working closely with the private sector, PIN also continued its work with the public sector and civil society, and developed its policy advocacy arm. PIN has two ongoing initiatives - AcTVET Opportunities and the KASALI Network - that anchors its collaboration and engagement with government. AcTVET Opportunities (Accessible TVET Activates Opportunities for Persons with Disability) is a 1.25-year project funded by the International Labor Organization that provides technical assistance to TESDA in developing and mainstreaming disability-inclusive policies and practices. The project has already started formal talks with TESDA for an institutional partnership with PIN, and a collaboration on research on the experiences, successes, and challenges of Persons with Disability in participating in TVET. The research is planned to be launched in July 2022, in time for the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week.

Positive Youth Development Network (PYDN)

More young Filipinos are developing their skills in developing and implementing projects for their communities. A total of 112 youths benefited from PYDN’s initiatives such as the LEAP Internship Program, the Quest Program with participants from government agencies, NGOs, SKs, and youth organizations, and the Western Visayas Leadership Summit which produced a draft Western Visayas Youth Agenda 2022-2025.


Four (4) organizations from Capiz, Antique, Iloilo Province, and Iloilo City were capacitated in implementing their programs for mental health in their respective communities.


PYDN received a low-risk rating from UNICEF Philippines for its Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse policies and practices . This assessment is required for all UN-partner organizations and is valid for five years.PYDN is now an official member of the Association of Foundations.On May 4-6, 2022, the three Spin-off organizations, namely: CISTEM, PIN, and PYDN participated in a 5-year Sustainability Planning organized the Strategic Support to Spin-Offs (STSO) Unit of ULF. This activity aims to help the Spin-offs develop their resource mobilization and sustainability strategies to ensure their readiness in becoming a fully independent organization.


ULF receives recognition from Award-giving Bodies


1. HeadsUp PH won 2 awards during the 19th Quill Awards.

Our project - Pagsulong ng Pamilyang Pilipino sa Panahon ng Pagbabago: The First-Ever Filipino Family WellBeing Virtual Conference won the Corporate Social Responsibility category, and its Toolkit version won the Publications Category.


The Philippine Quill is the country’s most prestigious awards program in the field of business communication. It has been bestowing the seal of approval to the most reputable organizations and corporations that meet the highest global standards in business communications.


2. PIN’s SUCCEED Program: Scaling-Up Capacities of Community-Based Enterprises for the Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disability

The League of Corporate Foundation awarded the SUCCEED Project as the Outstanding CSR Project in Enterprise Development for 2021.Page 9

Reflections

The first half of the year redefined how we viewed Grit in the Foundation. To eventually see in fruition our tangible outputs is euphoric; but the journey to get there could get bumpy, with twist and turns, and highs and lows, and can cast doubt and fear. We persisted! Thanks to ULF’s strong organizational foundation and core values.


More than ever, the value of our work is even more meaningful as we journey with like-minded organizations and individuals, and as we stay on course with our great teams.


For ULF to be truly innovative, we need to continue on redefining our challenges, on keeping the momentum, and on Staying on Course!


“Joining BWB had been such a joy! I am deeply grateful for your warm acceptance. And I am delighted that we are in sync with the direction with us in developing mental health courses for TESDA. Thank you also for including Dr Bong as Vice-President to ensure the smooth transition to the next PPA term. Because of BWB, the PPA is in coordination with the PAP and the AGCP for a collaborative webinar. I am certainly very excited to further collaborate with BWB.”

Antonio Sison, President of the Philippine Psychiatrists Association

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