Lia Jorges along with her classmates at Nord Anglia International School Manila, have embarked on a mission to empower the nation’s youth.
They have designed the Boto Mo Bukas Ko programme, meaning “your vote is my future”, and have been working on creating voter education toolkits aimed at 11-17 year olds.
Lia said voting in the Philippines is often based on a candidate’s personality and popularity. Her and her classmates observed that posters of candidates seen in the city give little or no indication of what they stand for. BMBK teaches young people the importance of political institutions, good governance, leadership and integrity in politics and how their vote will impact the future of their nation.
“We think it’s important to educate people our age about proper citizenship, democracy, policy and legislation. All the things related to elections and voting before our time to vote comes,” Lia said.
Lia is no stranger to understanding the importance of encouraging young Filipinos to vote. Her mother, Natalie Christine Jorges, was the founding chair of Youth Vote Philippines, an alliance of youth organisations and groups, that work together to educate and empower young voters. The organisation’s goal is to teach young Filipinos about democracy and good governance and why their vote impacts the state of the nation.
Lia said during her mother’s tenure from 2012-2016, the organisation hosted a concert called Rock the Vote, inviting Filipino artists to sing about the importance of voting. The not-for-profit is now seeking new ways to spread their message.
Influenced by their mission, Lia and her classmates discovered there were no programmes aimed at school-going youth or future voters, so they decided to approach YVP with an idea of their own.
Inspired by YVP, the NAIS Manila students designed a voters’ education toolkit which includes a scorecard. The card has three sections - competence, credibility and knowledge - as categories to help students determine the most suitable political candidate.
Lia and her classmate will be presenting their idea at the Nord Anglia Education Student Summit in New York, in July.
An annual event exclusive to NAE schools through its collaboration with UNICEF, student ambassadors attending the summit must demonstrate how their school is working to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on the Global Challenge set by the schools group.