By: Jonathan Mongcal
Birth of CheckMySchool Hour
It was their common interests that brought radio anchor Efryl Kin Libago and Jonathan Mongcal in 2012 together. Five years later, this same keen sense of volunteerism saw them collaborating and eventually gave birth to CheckMySchool Hour.
Both were active volunteers in Cagayan de Oro for more than five years. Jonathan first met Efryl in 2012 when they volunteered as facilitators for the Department of Social Work and Development in the Family Development Session (FDS) of the 4Ps Program. In several other volunteer activities they managed to bump into each other. They worked together in DATAGov (Data Access towards Accountable Governance) Project through the GROUP Foundation Inc.
In 2016, as Efryl was offered by the radio station 97.9 MHZ (The Rhythm and News of the City), to be an anchor for a weekday radio program, he remembered his co-volunteer Jonathan from the CheckMySchool Project. Efryl’s radio program Sharing of Stories (SOS) runs from Monday to Friday from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM. He assigned each weekday to represent a specific sector and offered Jonathan every Fridays to talk about education.
The radio program SOS promotes constructive engagement with the government. Now it’s possible for the public to actively pursue a running dialogue with the government. Through existing initiatives like CMS as an example, the episodes disseminate key information. SOS covers discussions on their volunteer experience and their engagement with government agencies, NGOs and community based organizations. “Efryl and I collaborated, and it came about that every Friday is now dubbed as the CheckMySchool Hour.”
Exposure for the CheckMySchool initative
CheckMySchool Hour first aired on January 6, 2017. Jonathan as CMS Coordinator discusses the Check My School program in Cagayan de Oro, its goals and updates. The Friday slot discusses social accountability, partnership-building, CMS operations, processes and stories of change. CheckMySchool Hour covers everything about how school improvement programs are implemented in CDO and other related advocacy works.
“Apart from Check My School news, I give updates on activities related to DSWD initiatives and other PPAs (Projects, Programs and Activities) with other organizations or NGOs. I often discuss about seminars and forums I attend so that listeners can learn what events they can also go to in the future. As President of the DSWD CSO Volunteers Group, it was my chance to share to listeners other advocacy works and engagements.”
Jonathan and Efryl would often feature CMS volunteers as guests. Both believe in giving everybody a chance to be a part of the program. The volunteers share their thoughts on volunteerism as a life-changing experience, and how this impacted their personal lives. The one-hour segment gets to showcase having individual voices as volunteers and their successes as inspiration.
Recent guests include: Mary Ann Villablanca, Mayderlyn Eduria, Rhona Solamin-Neri, Rebecca Tadena, Jose Manuel Factura III, Stephanny Keith Magalaman, Phoebe Joy Tabiquero, Romelyn Abarabar, Rizalyn Galbinez, Analiza La Victoria and Susan Grenio.
“I believe constructive engagement starts from information being shared to raise awareness. People can do so as third party monitor or as an organized citizen’s group promoting participatory governance. “
From a volunteer and now a co-anchor, Jonathan realizes that in his journey of more than five years he has learned a lot of lessons.
“As I go about my volunteer work, I always treat people I meet equally. You need to be open to making new friends, building networks, forging new allies. I see that being open is essential to getting connected with other people, with whom you can later converge with toward an idea, toward a goal. Hopefully with other like-minded people you can both take action for the common good.
I believe it is important to be trustworthy, honest and sincere, in your dealings with every individual— all these help magnify our different lenses. Through your interactions, we then become worthy of other people’s time and support. Together we can then help the community, and advance our respective advocacies.”
Upcoming episodes of CheckMySchool Hour
On the next succeeding episodes of CheckMySchool Hour listeners can expect discussions on the three critical processes that are in place in CMS. Listeners would get an idea of how observations in schools (issues/concerns), solutions undertaken and responses of stakeholders, like the City School Division and the Local School Board are implemented. The first discussion kick started on Feb 24, 2017.
Jonathan and Radio Anchor Efryl with Check My School volunteers (from left to right): Analiza La Victoria,Phoebe Joy Tabiquero, Mary Ann Villablanca, Rizalyn Galbines, Jose Manuel Factura III, Stephanny Keith Magalaman, Mayderlyn Eduria and Kenneth Pansacala
Edited by: Io Aceremo