05212024.Web.Banner Xavier Ateneo News

On 7 May 2024, Xavier Ateneo hosted the “SD Conversations: Collaborative Dialogues with Social Development Partners”, emphasizing the pivotal role of partnerships in driving meaningful change in communities. The event is part of the Social Development Week 2024 Celebration, aimed to provide an avenue for diverse stakeholders, including partners from the Service-Learning Program (SLP), Social Involvement and Advocacy Program (SIAP), and Institutional Professional Societal Engagement (IPSE), to exchange insights, feedback, and share ongoing engagements with Xavier Ateneo. Dr Carthelyn C Adajar, SD Coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences-Humanities, served as the main facilitator. In his opening remarks, Engr Dexter Lo, Vice President for Social Development, highlighted the importance of coming together as partners and collaborators to converse and assess how these engagements contributed to sustainable development.

The SD Conversations featured three-segment dialogues with partners: (1) the Service-Learning Partners Segment, (2) the Social Involvement and Advocacy Partners Segment, and (3) the Institutional Professional Societal Engagement segment.

05232024.Web VPSD 1
[In Photo] Awarding of certificates and tokens to the Panel Discussants of the Social Involvement and Advocacy Segment, led by Dexter
Lo, VP for Social Development, and Nestor Banuag, Director for Social Involvement and 
Advocacy Program (SIAP)

Service-Learning Partners Segment

The conversations began with the Service-Learning Partners Segment which featured panel discussants from partner institutions and communities that have engaged through the Service-Learning Program (SLP). The segment was facilitated by Victoria Melissa C. Pulido, SLP Formator, and featured impactful testimonies from Amalyn Ragandang-Morin from the Tourism Office of Malitbog, Tristan Lindey Ares from the Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO) of LGU Alubijid, and Virgelia Demata, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Philippine Island Kids Foundation, Inc (PIKIFI).

Ragandang-Morin highlighted Malitbog's progress since partnering with XU in 2023, emphasizing the university's instrumental support in addressing municipal needs and fostering mutual learning. Demata echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing PIKIFI's collaboration with XU in providing educational assistance and engineering support to underprivileged communities. Ares commended XU's contributions to disaster risk reduction and healthcare, underscoring the importance of partnerships in addressing complex challenges. Ragandang-Morin remarked, "The partnership with XU started in 2023. It was a blessing for us. We did not know how and where to start. It was a blessing to meet everyone and know there are people who can help us." 

05232024.Web VPSD 2.0
[In Photo] Service-Learning partners shared impactful testimonies on XU’s engagement in their institutions and
communities through the Service-Learning Program

Social Involvement and Advocacy Partners Segment

The Social Involvement and Advocacy Partners Segment followed the conversations, facilitated by Nestor Banuag Jr, Director for Social Involvement and Advocacy Program (SIAP). The segment featured testimonies from Gina Durana, board member of the Calaanan Habitat Homeowners' Association, Inc (CHHAI), Norven Baylan, school principal of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS), and Joan Luconan, focal person and coordinator for the Help for Undernourished Kids’ Abilities and Development (HUKAD) Project beneficiaries at Bulua Central School (BCS).

Durana highlighted the enduring partnership between XU and the Calaanan Habitat Homeowners' Association since 2000, emphasizing consistent support through various engagements. Baylan commended XU's comprehensive approach to community development, emphasizing concrete advocacy engagements that are implemented on the ground. Luconan praised XU's hands-on approach, particularly in youth leadership training and livelihood initiatives. Luconan remarked, "It takes a village to educate a child," emphasizing XU's holistic approach to community development.

05232024.Web VPSD 3.0
[In Photo] Partners engaged through the Social and Involvement Program (SIAP) shared their testimonies on XU’s
engagements and its impacts in their institutions and communities

Institutional Professional Societal Engagement Segment

The third segment focused on the conversation with partners engaged with the Institutional Professional Societal Engagement through the Social Development Centers. The segment was facilitated by Ismael B Salarda, Director for the School of Education’s Arrupe Educational Center (SOE-AEC), and featured testimonies from nAlmairah Abdul Gaffar from the City Social Welfare and Development (CSDWD), Felix Pingkian, President of the Barangay Buko Fisherfolks Association, and Angelica Karingal, Chairperson of the Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay Agusan. The discussants shared collaborative efforts between XU and various community organizations. Abdul Gaffar highlighted the significance of SOE-AEC’s Night School Program (NSP) in providing literacy education to vulnerable youth. Pingkian expressed gratitude for XU's support of the Fisherfolks Association since 2018 through the XU Mckeough Marine Center. Karingal sharing highlighted MMC’s engagement through the project Strengthening the Capacity of the Peoples’ Organizations to Rehabilitate the Mangrove areas in Macajalar Bay, further noting that the capacity building provided to them not only helped them improve their skills in managing mangroves, but further helped them earn as it also improved their livelihood. Pingkian emphasized, "Dili lang ang pamilya namo natabangan ni XU, kundi ang tibuok katawhan. Karingal praised XU's mental health initiatives and emphasized the importance of effective communication and self-care practices, as they were engaged with the Xavier Center for Mental Health and Research (XCMHR).

Following the series of conversations, a forum was facilitated by Engr Gail de la Rita, Director of the Service-Learning Program (SLP), where participants engaged in a reflective discourse on XU’s steadfast commitment to community engagement. The discussions centered around the impactful partnerships forged with various stakeholders. Testimonials from partners highlighted XU’s enduring presence and support across diverse sectors, from political engagement to grassroots initiatives, further emphasizing the transformative experiences enabled by these collaborations, underscoring the significant contributions of partners in shaping students' lives and communities. These conversations reaffirmed the collaborative spirit and shared learning inherent in XU’s approach to community development, acknowledging challenges while celebrating the reciprocal benefits and lasting impact brought about by genuine partnerships.

05232024.Web VPSD 4.0
[In Photo] Engr Gail de la Rita, Director for Service Learning Program (SLP), facilitated the forum with the
panel discussants

In the Synthesis and Closing Message, Dr Shiella Balbutin, Director of the Office of International Cooperation and Networking (OICN) encapsulated the essence of the dialogue, expressing admiration for the dynamic and insightful conversations that transpired. The closing remarks resonated with gratitude and appreciation for the affirmation received from partners, reflecting XU's commitment to living out Ignatian values through purposeful collaboration. Dr Balbutin emphasized the collective effort required to address social issues and create a just, inclusive, and sustainable future. The dialogue served as a testament to XU's role as a catalyst for positive change, fostering a community-driven approach to meaningful social development.