UST NURSING student Qjiel Mariano has been recognized by a former UN secretary general’s foundation for his work in helping children of poor families.

Mariano is one of the 12 “Kofi Annan Changemakers” for 2022 who will receive training from the Kofi Annan Foundation mentors and partners.

“The foundation is also giving us the opportunity to broadcast our work and create engagements to highlight our advocacies to the international community further. Our networks are also given importance as we get to partner with international organizations, agencies, and even the [United Nations],” Mariano told the Varsitarian.

The Kofi Annan Changemakers initiative gives young leaders a chance to dialogue with “experienced leaders on issues of deep concern whilst affording the opportunity to leaders to better understand the preoccupation of young people.”

Mariano and 11 other youth leaders will undergo a virtual training from June 27 to July 1 and attend an in-person training in Geneva, Switzerland from Nov. 21 to 25.

They will also receive a grant of 3,000 Swiss Francs (about P160,000) to implement their plans for their respective advocacies.

“We are then given time to help proliferate Kofi Annan’s legacy and highlight his work to make a difference in the community,” Mariano told the Varsitarian.

Last year, two Filipinos were selected to join the program, including UST medical technology alumnus Junbert Pabon.

The Kofi Annan Foundation was formed by its namesake, the former United Nations (UN) secretary general, who established the UN Millennium Campaign that pushed for the Millennium Development Goals.

Mariano was nominated by the International Telecommunications Union, the oldest UN Agency that deals with information and communications technology platforms.

He has been a member of ITU’s youth arm, Generation Connect, since September 2021.

Mariano will use the training to improve his “Streets to Schools” (STS) literacy and anti-poverty project, which he established in 2017. STS has chapters across the country.

The organization had won sustainability awards locally and internationally, including for its “Ladders to Literacy” initiative that received the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Okayama Award and was recognized by Youth Service America’s Everyday Young Heroes.

“We believe our storybook projects, as well as our expansion of chapters in the 17 regions and all over the world, will greatly benefit from the grant,” Mariano said.


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