Sari-Saring Aralan: Bridging Out-of-School Youth to Opportunities for Education, Employment, or Entrepreneurship

Equips Out-of-School Youth with skills and values that will prepare them for opportunities in education, employment, or entrepreneurship

Photo of Joanne Charina Astilla
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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Joanne Charina S. Astilla, Ayala Foundation Inc.

Initiative's representative date of birth

February 15, 1983

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Philippines

Where are you making a difference?

Tondo, Manila

Website or social media url(s)

When was your organisation founded?

Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI) was founded in 1961. AFI envisions communities where people are productive, creative, self-reliant, and proud to be Filipino. As a believer in creating shared value and inclusive business, it has four key program areas—Education, Youth Leadership, Sustainable Livelihood, and Arts and Culture. Sari-Saring Aralan is one of the projects implemented by Ayala Foundation. It was piloted in November of 2018 in Tondo, Manila.

Focus areas

  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

An installation of a "sari-sari store" (neighborhood retail store) in a corporate event inspired the conceptualization of Sari-Saring Aralan (SSA) in 2017. In the Philippines, residential communities in rural and urban areas have “sari-sari stores” in almost every street. It is usually a portion of an owner’s house converted into a retail (sari-sari) shop that sells household goods. Aside from its economic function, the “sari-sari store” is also a place in the community where people of all ages meet or hang out. SSA capitalizes on the social function of the neighborhood store to address the problem on the growing OSY population by transforming the commercial hub into a venue for learning.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

There are about 3.6 million Out-of-School Children and Youth in the Philippines, as of 2017. 81% of these are youth aged 16-24 years old. These youth lack opportunities and social support that will allow them to make better life decisions that would lead to economically-productive lives. Failing to invest on these youth will trigger economic, social, and political costs resulting from negative outcomes.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Over a 12-month period, identified OSY will undergo a series of learning experiences that will prepare them for future pathways. They will be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes & values to pursue studies, gain employment and/or engage in entrepreneurship. This is done through three learning components: 1) Interest-based Activity and Values Formation Sessions where they learn about ways to cope with social or emotional struggles and address developmental needs through discussion circles anchored on activities that interest the youth, like music or sports. 2) Life Skills Sessions where they are provided with opportunities to practice psycho-social skills as they create and implement projects aimed at providing solutions to community problems. They are taught the design thinking process which strongly develops 21st century skills and builds their creative confidence. 3) Mentoring Session & Career Pathways Activity where they are led by trusting adults who serve as positive role models and facilitators of reflection. Activities in and outside the community, such as exposure trips to universities and companies, are conducted to expose participants to opportunities.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Learning is usually associated with academic tasks done in the formal school setting. This project develops skills, attitudes and values using places, activities, and contexts that are familiar to its target participants. First, it uses the “sari-sari store”, a familiar place in the community as a venue for learning where the OSY feel welcomed. Second, it employs methodologies that are patterned from activities usually done in the community (e.g. meeting in the store to share personal stories or to discuss community or national issues) or those that interest them. Third, it engages participants in solving real-life problems that provide them opportunities to develop creative capacities while addressing community problems.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

The three learning components aim to instill values and socio-emotional skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making through literature and 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity through problem-based activities. Digital tools are introduced and used as participants engage in various tasks which prepare them for pathways in education, employment, or entrepreneurship. The 12-month period begins with helping the OSY build a solid foundation of self-awareness and self-control that are seen to develop sense of achievement, decrease stress, and build resilience. They are expected to be more engaged in individual or group work, make better decisions and achieve collaborative results.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Ayala Foundation measures impact of projects using Social Return on Investment as the framework of assessment. SROI determines the social benefits or the improvement in communities or the changes in the life of people, then quantifies the benefits in terms of monetary values. Input, output, outcomes and impact are accounted for and monitored periodically in SROI process. For Sari-saring Aralan, standard indicators, accepted & used locally and internationally, will be used to track progress of participants in values and life-skills.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

1. YouthWorks PH, a five-year project of the USAID and PBEd, aims to provide work-based training to young Filipinos, helping them become productive & employable while promoting better alignment between industry & the education system. 2. MYDEV provides critical training and post-training support to OSYs such as civic engagement activities, entrepreneurship, and job placements. SSA differs from the abovementioned projects as it uses a familiar place in the community as a venue for learning. The project equips the OSY with relevant skills and guides them to develop goals for future pathways.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

SSA was piloted in Tondo, Manila in 2018 and reached out to 1 sari-sari store owner, 19 OSY, and 6 barangays. Out of the 19 participants, 14 completed the project while 11 (58%) pursued their plans. Six of the participants decided to continue their education by being enrolled at a high school or in an alternative learning class. One of them was granted a scholarship by Ayala Foundation. Three participants pursued the entrepreneurship pathway and were granted a loan by Grameen Australia Philippines (GAP). Loan amount which ranged from Five Thousand to Seven Thousand Pesos (payable in 6 months) was used to start a business in the community. Two of the participants pursued the employment pathway. One is working in a fastfood chain while the other is working as an encoder. Participants are continuously being mentored and assisted in planning for pathways and completing pathways chosen.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Funds are raised through public and private partnerships. Ayala Foundation raises 60% of the total project cost while the remaining 40% is committed by the Local Government. To ensure project continuity, community leaders are given sustainability session, leadership training, and mentoring session. Mentors guide community leaders in building partnerships and monitoring participants in the project. At the end of the training sessions, community leaders submit a sustainability plan which also incorporates a financial plan.

10. Team

1. Senior Director for Social Development - provides strategic direction for the expansion of the project; 2. Project Lead - develops project concept, creates plans for the expansion, & coordinates with public and private partners 3. Project Support - coordinates with community stakeholders & volunteers, implements project activities. 4. Volunteer facilitators & mentors - implements project components. 5. Community leaders – works on continuing project implementation beyond the 12-month period.

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Attachments (1)

Ayala Foundation_Sari-Saring Aralan Project Brief.pdf

This is a one-pager brief that explains the project.


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