by Moireen Espinosa and Wilzen Bermoy
“Ugnayan” is a Tagalog word for linkage, while “pahinungód” is a Cebuano term that is the closest translation of the Oblation, or the giving of oneself for the service of the nation.
As a bona fide iskolar ng bayan, the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) students can now easily become volunteers under the Office of Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, the official volunteer service program of the University.
True to its mission to make the University a more caring community, UPOU Ugnayan ng Pahinungód is composed of students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers bound together by a shared commitment to empower others, especially during this pandemic. Projects where you can volunteer include the Buhay Pahinungód, Teacher Training Program, and Tutorial Services Program. Indeed, the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod aims to cater to the various stakeholders of UPOU, so read ahead to know what volunteer project is best for you to sign up for based on your background and expertise!
The Buhay Pahinungód was first held on 27 October 2019 as a seminar participated in by 38 residents and local officials of Brgy. Tagumpay, Bay, Laguna. Dr. Yusuf Sucol, the University Coordinator of the UP Los Baños Climate and Disaster Risks Studies Center (UPLB-CDRSC), served as the resource speaker.
As for the Teacher Training Program (TTP), it is an activity that is part of the Teacher Development Program (TDP), which is one of Ugnayan ng Pahinungód’s core programs. TDP aims to develop public school and higher education teachers’ competencies in content, research and pedagogy. The first TTP was held on 28 October 2019 at the UPOU Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL) Auditorium.
There is also the Tutorial Service Program, conducted in partnership with Sto. Domingo Elementary School in Bay, Laguna for the reading remediation of its pupils. This specific program is geared towards enhancing skills in the 3Rs and enriching academic preparation for higher education.
2021 and Beyond: Moving forward
As of writing, there are two ongoing projects of the Ugnayan. The first one is the 2nd offering of Bridge English and Bridge Mathematics in collaboration with the Faculty of Education (FEd-UPOU). Available to Grades 10-12 students, Bridge Mathematics was held from 7 April to 4 June 2021, while Bridge English started last 3 May and commenced on 12 June 2021. Read about the journey of one of UPOU’s Bridge participants who became one of its course coordinators here.
The other program is the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled “Introductory Course on Contact Center Services” launched on 1 May 2021 in partnership with Concentrix Philippines. This academe-industry partnership aims to provide training programs to the marginalized sectors of the society on ICT-related courses and contact services courses. Courses are offered through the UPOU MODeL, the official MOOC platform of the university.
For avid readers of literature, the Ugnayan has a volunteer opportunity called Project E-Storyahe. Inspired by the expression i-storya-he, the Project encourages story-sharing among members of the UPOU community using the Internet and electronic media. If you own children’s books at home, simply record yourself reading and email your video at firstname.lastname@example.org, including the signed consent to post your work on the E-storyahe webpage. Be a storyteller and share your passion of reading books to others.
Now, if you are willing to be trained in administering psychological first aid, you can be part of the UPOU Psychosocial Support Team. In response to the exposure of learners to difficult and disruptive situations that can have a significant impact on their learning social and emotional wellbeing, the Ugnayan ng Pahinungod offers free Psychosocial Support Services called ‘Musta Ka Na? Volunteers for this Program help distressed individuals deal more effectively with personal challenges, noting, of course, that such virtual sessions are not designed as a substitute for psychotherapy and counseling.
You can also volunteer as a tutor for the Academic Enhancement Program that serves as academic preparation for senior high school students who will be taking college entrance exams. As a volunteer, your tasks include: collating open educational resources (OERs) for the subjects of Science, English and Mathematics; providing supplementary activities and practice exercises; administering mock examinations; and conducting synchronous sessions for the participants, if needed.
To keep its new and continuing volunteers posted easily, the UPOU Ugnayan ng Pahinungód has re-launched its official website. For would-be volunteers, another easy way to get more information about the different programs offered by the Ugnayan is via Facebook.
Sign up now through this Google Form.
Should you get the chance to visit the UPOU campus, the UPOU Pahinungód Office is located at the UPOU Community Hub, UPOU, Los Baños, Laguna. Ms. Rhonna Marie Verena, a University Researcher from the Faculty of Education, is the current Director of the UPOU Pahinungód Office.
The UPOU as a whole believes that the spirit of volunteerism has to be ignited more than ever. In fact, any iskolar ng bayan can create an impactful experience for others through service learning, especially this trying time. Volunteer with the UPOU Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, para sa bayan.