The project was conceptualized by Lars C. Jorgensen and Monica D. Ray during their first visit to the Philippines.
It was the 30th anniversary for the United Nation’s Convention on the Right of the Child, which we marked in various ways. We launched our e-learning Platform after nearly 4 years of development work and comprehensive testing. We were the country representative at the Facebook Global Safety Summit in New York. The Stairway CyberSafe initiative was presented during the Facebook Asia Pacific Safety Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand. We developed a database for the BTS National Network with some very encouraging results. Since the start of the network development some 10 years back, we now have 46 member organizations spread over 12 regions, who have delivered 12,894 training sessions on child sexual abuse prevention reaching nearly one million individuals, mostly children. Opportunity for national-level legislative advocacy has been opened for the BTS NN through membership of the Child Rights Network (CRN) — the largest alliance of organizations and agencies pushing for children’s rights legislation in the country. After more than a year of struggle with customs issues, we were finally ready to give 660 anatomically correct dolls to the national police, to assist them in investigations on child sexual abuse. The dolls were made specifically for Stairway as a donation from IKEA. We were invited to speak at the DepEd First National Summit, and what made our presence even more special was the nearly 100 children participants running a parallel session using our cybersafe e-learning course. Our programs with DANIDA are progressing according to the plan, and that is also the case with our collaboration with the British Embassy on a major child protection program covering three municipalities in Metro Manila. We started a new 4-year program on cyber safety to reach 40 schools in four regions, working with three BTSNN partners. The program is financed by Kindernothilfe and the BMZ under the German Department of Foreign Affairs.
In the Family Home program, we had 13 boys graduate and move on to their next safe destinations. Before their graduation, they did a series of performances of the Lorax reaching a record high number of local school children with an important message on environmental conservation.
In the Community Assistance Program, we increased the number of youth beneficiaries for scholarships up to 500, while enhancing the quality of the program with more workshops and sessions for the students. The feeding program for around 180 indigenous children ran better than ever with stable parent participation, and the collaboration with the teachers at the school improved as well. Our efforts at the Baclayan Indigenous School were reinforced through a collaboration with the organization Teach for the Philippines, as they placed three fellows at the school. With new human resources placed at the Children Health and Education Center, we ran several trainings and workshops for the local community, including health and hygiene, family planning, livelihood - and with assistance from a specialist volunteer, we also engaged into the training of teachers on more child friendly and participatory teaching methods. Finally, we agreed with the LGU that SFI will run a comprehensive 5-year child protection program to capacitate their people to be able to deliver their mandated tasks in relation to child protection. Kindernothilfe will finance majority of this program.
The Environmental Awareness for Children and Youth (EACY) Program was enforced with an additional team member, which had become necessary, as our services and advocacy are more and more in demand. We had several talks and presentations in schools, and the LGU is increasingly placing environmental protection on its agenda. The Baclayan organic farm was 100% run and managed by indigenous team members, and the production over the year was record high. The farm also functioned as classroom for a group of local women interested in learning about organic methods in growing their gardens. We also extended the garden training to students from the local school, who develop their own plots in a section of the farm. The EACY program attracted several groups of senior high and college students to do their internship at Stairway, which led to their further engagement as active environmentalists in their respective communities.
The EACY Dive center had a remarkable year in terms of advocacy and business as well. As the Sea Adventure School boat needed a serious overhaul, we invested a portion of the profits into repairs and improvements of the boat.
Last, but certainly not least, with the generous assistance from Solenergy Inc., we expanded our solar power capacity to cover between 75 to 100% of our total power consumption, depending on load.