NEVER TOO YOUNG TO LEAD – Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Alumni, Jose Marie A. Eslopor, participated in the Gender Dialogues: Engaging ASEAN Youth in Gender Initiatives in Hanoi, Viet Nam last October 6-10, 2018. The five (5) day comprehensive workshop was organized by Center for Sustainable Development Studies – Viet Nam, in partnership with UN Women, Canada Mission to ASEAN, and Viet Nam Volunteer Center.

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Change Makers Group Photo on the Day 1 of Gender Dialogues Training in Viet Nam

To give a short background; back in his community, JM Eslopor is an alumnus of the University of the Philippines Visayas with the degree of Community Development-Psychology. Aside from his academic affairs, he is also an active member of the United States Government Alumni Association Panay and Guimaras Chapter. Before becoming an alumnus of YSEALI he already volunteered a few of the USGAA-PG activities like YSEALI Road to Mindful Living in 2015 in Leganes, Iloilo. After the volunteering, he then participated several programs of the US Government namely – YSEALI BEYOND ASEAN 2015, YSEALI SEA Camp Subic 2017, and YSEALI Marine Debris Expedition 2018. A part from it, he is also an active volunteer and organizer of the USGAA-PG activities like Trip to Learning Wonderland (2017), Trail X: Ariel Edition, Alumni Reconnection Visayas, and #LifeGoals (2018). The workshop highlighted the potential for youth engagement to produce social impacts concerning gender equality, and the empowerment of women and gender minorities at both local and national levels. He actively participated in the event, and shared the realities of the Filipino narratives gender equality unveiling the status quo of his society. He also met several YSEALI alumni from different countries in the same event – two (2) from Malaysia, one of each from Brunei, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, and Laos. After the workshop, he was successful enough to secure a slot for the seed funding and implement Project EqualiTeens together with his partner, Jay-ar Gallos to which they co-implemented the project in the Municipality of Miagao, and Province of Rizal respectively. The main goal of their project is to empower peer facilitators about SOGIE Education and Advocacy Building Workshop, and to become champions of Gender Empowerment in their respective communities.

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This photo together with the Executive Committee of Small Changes-Big Difference was taken during the Malaysia Leg of the Moving Flag Tournament

After this, he was fortunate enough to be selected as a part of the Youth Ambassadors Program to continue the Gender Dialogues in the ASEAN Countries through the Moving Flag Tournament. Among 24 participants, six were chosen to become SDG 5 Ambassadors wherein they were assigned to particular groups. JM was assigned to group 2 together with Mohd Faizul H. Ibrahim (Brunei), and their assigned countries were Brunei, Philippines, and Malaysia respectively. During the trip, they were able to conduct dialogues with active youth leaders engaging in gender and youth empowerment initiatives. Alongside with it, they were able to create an online platform to feature these youth leaders and widen the avenue to talk about Gender Equality, and thus Youths Talking Gender came to life. To know more about their initiative, you can like their Facebook Page – ASEAN Youths Talking Gender (@aseanytg) or you could also check their Instagram Account – @aseanytg. Up until the present, JM soars to empower other youth as he continues in advocating for SDG 5 – Gender Equality.

Catch him in the future activities of USGAA-PG or you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram – @esloporfavouer.

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