Photo Credit : NinoNina Co.
NinoNina Co is one of the finalists for the recent Youth Volunteering Innovation Challenge (YVIC) 2017 “Impact ASEAN” organised by UN Volunteers, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the ASEAN Foundation, the ASEAN Secretariat, SAP, with the close support of the Government of Germany. The YVIC 2017 was held in Bangkok, Thailand. NinoNina Co works with urban poor communities, especially those that are skilled in sewing and making fabric products in Philippines. They help connect these communities to a growing market of SMEs and corporations that need such services in their operations.
“I think youth is the driving force of volunteerism in the ASEAN. It is the youth that have the passion, the drive and certainly the skills to execute impactful volunteering projects. Volunteerism is an avenue that allows everyone to contribute and this is something we need to remind people of - that we are all able to give our share and further development,” said Maria Carmela Suarez, NinoNina Co’s team leader.
NinoNina Co’s strategy to impact youth is centred on developing a volunteer program with the support of UN Volunteers. The social impact is two-fold - benefiting partner communities and influencing a new generation of entrepreneurs. With the funding and mentorship, NinoNina Co will add a new community in order to increase capacity and offer new products to consumers. NinoNina Co’s long-term plans include implementing a competitive and learning-based volunteer program with more universities, especially those in the Philippines. Additionally, it hopes to create a vertical supply chain where each of its partner communities mutually benefit from the existence and operations of another.
The challenging experience of participating in YVIC 2017 was met with plenty of learning outcomes for the team. “We were able to realize how much potential there is in tapping volunteers and empowering other individuals from the youth like us,” said Maria.
As Maria stated at the end of the conversation, “Don't take no as an answer. Take no as a question," leaving YVIC 2017 with the conviction that whatever challenge NinoNina Co faces in future, they will stand their ground and come up with solutions.