World Bank argues for more resiliency during crises of PHL youth, family programs

YOUTH and family development programs need to be insulated from potential shocks and be more adaptive to emerging beneficiary needs, according to the World Bank.

“In particular, it proposes regular updating of module content to maintain relevance and applicability, strengthening alternative modes of program delivery to increase coverage, providing training to facilitators to improve capacity, raising awareness to increase program uptake, creating a clear monitoring and evaluation system to track progress, leveraging the use of technology, and providing post-program exit support to sustain positive behavioral changes among beneficiaries,” the World Bank said in a policy note.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a conditional cash transfer program that aims to reduce poverty. Beneficiaries are required to attend family and youth development sessions.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these were regular face-to-face sessions providing practical information on topics such as parenting, early childhood care, and disaster preparedness to adult beneficiaries and guidance on adolescent dynamics to young children in 4Ps households, with the overall aim of promoting positive behavioral changes,” the World Bank said.

“Due to the pandemic, the delivery of FDS (Family Development Sessions) has relied mostly on broadcast and social media platforms, with options for small group neighborhood sessions in areas with low rates of COVID-19 infections, while YDS (Youth Development Sessions) have been mostly suspended due to school closures nationwide, without in-person gatherings,” it added.

The World Bank said that the government should also use technology to ensure the continuation of the development sessions.

“The onset of the COVID-19 crisis, with restrictions on face-to-face meetings, became an opportunity to explore other modalities to deliver the development sessions. Using alternative learning platforms, including web-based modules and digital tools, can be further explored in the current context. Virtual delivery of social programs can be beneficial to participants, as it can enhance their digital literacy,” it added.

It also noted that most of the target youth beneficiaries are digital natives and would benefit from utilizing online platforms.

“To prepare for future shocks, development of an online learning platform could be part of 4Ps reforms. Likewise, through capacity building activities, facilitators can be equipped with much needed digital skills and techniques in holding virtual sessions and providing training,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson