I’ve said that I often define myself by my work. To be really honest about it, I’m a workaholic.
For the past six years, my pride and joy has been a project called Mulat Pinoy-Kabataan News Network (MP-KNN). It’s a project funded by the Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD), and implemented by the Probe Media Foundation, Inc. (PMFI). Our specific objectives have changed from year to year, but in general our aim has always been to increase awareness about population and development, and to encourage youth participation.
When the project started out in 2009, my best friend Dante Gagelonia was the project coordinator, and I was the website and social media manager. The project was pretty successful. There weren’t a lot of development projects or non-government institutions using social media for advocacy. The first iteration of the project ended in October 2010. When we got new funding, I became the project coordinator, and remained in the position until we concluded operations just last month.
Through MP-KNN, I found work that was difficult, tiring, political, exhausting, and completely fulfilling. I was able to take the skills I’d collected over the years–social media, website management, corporate communications, project management, writing, social skills–and use them for a project that really meant something, that helped others in some way, that played a role in the bigger picture. I felt like my work had a purpose beyond earning me money to pay the bills.
Through MP-KNN, I met amazing people who do amazing work. I met social workers and doctors who work on the ground with teenage mothers and rape victims and impoverished communities. I met journalists who were not afraid to follow the story wherever it went, who were not afraid to say what needed saying no matter who was involved. I met creatives like me who willingly offered up their skills for the project, not asking how much they would earn but where they needed to be and what they needed to do.
Through MP-KNN, I learned so much. I learned about sexual and reproductive health and rights. I learned about journalism and ethics. I learned about children’s rights and women’s issues. I learned so many news words and concepts. And I learned a lot about myself and my talents too: leading teams, social media, many different kinds of writing, design thinking, public speaking.
I’m not exaggerating when I say MP-KNN is the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done, and it’s the project I am most proud of.