Updated: Sep 14
For Grace and Kathleen, WASH-related challenges are of utmost importance in susceptible Filipino communities. When their barangay project was shortlisted, their determination to make a difference was on full display.
22.30% of the barangays nationwide are only certified as Zero Open Defecation and are most likely practicing open defecation based on the Annual Report on Field Health Services Information System of the Department of Health (2019). This can also be a contributing factor to infectious diseases acquired in contaminated food and water, through the fecal-oral route transmission. With this, Masy Consultants spearheaded innovative Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Program in Cebu City as a way of addressing local WASH challenges. Phase 1 is currently underway which is comprised of a WASH education program and field studies, focused on the Sustainable Development Goals No.4. Quality Education, and No.6 Clean Water and Sanitation, in select at-risk barangays across Cebu City.
In June 2021, Team Masy’s project proposal led by Kathleen May Faigal and Grace Devon Gevero, was shortlisted as 1 of 27 teams from a highly-competitive pool of 150 applicants across Asia, to pitch in the final round of the inaugural Youth Innovation Challenge for Human Mobility in Asia-Pacific. This challenge is an initiative brought to life by the the UNDP Human Mobility Team and Youth Co:Lab, and co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), and Migrant Forum Asia (MFA).
The Masy team sharing the challenges faced by Filipino communities with regional experts, practitioners and leaders, and the work the organisation is doing to strategically create dignified access to clean water and sanitation in at-risk communities.
Throughout the program, the team expanded their ideas on project start-ups and income generating project proposals, like WASH Kits for Corporate Social Responsibility, and WASH Facility Maintenance Manuals. A business model canvas was prepared to provide an overview of the innovation and sustainability of WASH projects, including an increased emphasis on reaching out to future partners, target customers, different distribution channels, beneficiaries, and different activities that will be carried throughout the lifetime of the program.
“Simplify! Iterate! Simplify! . . . Simplify!” was the team's mantra. As a result, 100-page notes were condensed into a 9-slide pitch presentation. This is an incredible feat, with the pitch highlighting shortlisted prototypes and solutions to help at-risks communities in their battle to improve WASH behaviour and knowledge.
While the team was not successful at the finals, Kathleen and Grace represented Masy Consultants with strength. They are grateful for the insightful learnings shared by mentors that can be applied in future projects, and the guidance offered by Makesense facilitators and volunteers. Masy Consultants is also very proud of John Paul Uminga, our very own Community and Stakeholder Engagement Specialist, who was a Mentor to many finalists from across ASEAN participating in the challenge.
This isn’t the end. As a testament to the organisation's flexibility and resilience, Masy Consultants is eager to bounce back with more determination than ever, as the Youth Innovation Challenge only highlighted the importance of WASH to curb COVID-19 and improve thousands of lives. Stay tuned to follow Kathleen and Grace's inspiring work and their exciting project pipeline in Cebu.