On August 15, 2015, Tacloban City on Leyte in the Philippines may have seen its first-ever flash mob. Sixty or so youth donning light blue t-shirts descended on the square downtown and - to many onlookers’ surprise and delight - burst into an extremely well choreographed dance performance to “Uptown Funk.”
If you are thinking, “Tacloban sounds familiar, why have I heard of that before?” it is likely because it was one of the hardest hit cities during Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013. Having suffered such widespread devastation, they are still rebuilding - though, as an outsider, it was sometimes easy to overlook. The community’s overwhelming resilience, hope, and joy is utterly striking.
KIDmob partnered with Philippines Communitere, UNICEF, and The City of Tacloban to create a hip, new hangout and resource center for local teens. Typically in a project like this, an outsider - likely separated by geography, culture, and age - would design a space that the youth would hopefully like, and may or may not use. Why not have the local youth design it themselves, to create their ideal hangout?
That’s just what we did! We worked with over 120 people over three weeks, including local City officials, University students, and High School students. Week one was all about Leadership: our crew of 5 trained over 45 new mob members to facilitate the two-week workshop. Week two, an additional 80+ participants came. We got into design and prototyping, breaking the Youth Hub site down into 10 unique projects, each with a team. Week three was our time to implement and build on the site!
As we were embracing Wild Cards at every turn, we did not get as far with the build out as we had hoped during the time our US-based mob was there. We were thrilled to see project groups, under the leadership of the Youth Hub’s Director, finish their projects in time for the Grand Opening in mid-September!
There is a lot that we are proud of in this project. One thing that we were particularly excited about, is that two of our five US-based facilitators are past participants of KIDmob. We were blown away to see how they connected with the local youth - their peers - with such authenticity and respect. They were confident leading smaller groups, as well as full group activities in front of 100+ people! Not only were they confident - they rocked it!
Over the course of the workshop, it was incredible to see the way that each group took ownership over their project, and became invested in the Hub. It’s truly their space - they are the ones who have breathed life into it and have given the space a purpose. They’ve developed new friendships and have grown closer as a community in the process.
The flash mob was the community’s first glimpse into the impact and energy of the Youth Hub - we can’t wait to see how that impact and energy grows from here!
HUGE thanks to The City of Tacloban, UNICEF, and Communitere for making it happen!!!