Ateneo students present new ways to health at the humanitarian innovation conference in the UK
Last 17-18 July 2015, four BS Health Sciences students representing Project LAAN, Inc. participated as speakers at the 2015 Humanitarian Innovation Conference, which was held at Keble College of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
The annual conference was organized by the Humanitarian Innovation Project of the Refugee Studies Center of the University of Oxford, in collaboration with the World Humanitarian Summit. It gathered more than 250 scholars and representatives from NGOs, international organizations, businesses, and crisis-affected communities to provide a platform for networking and information-exchange and to facilitate the ideation and formation of innovations targeted at solving the most urgent humanitarian concerns of today. The student group was the only undergraduate contingent that presented as speakers at this prestigious event.
The Atenean participants, Eliza Alvarez (BS HSc 2016), David Garcia (BS HSc 2016), Francis Thaddeus Lazaro (BS HSc-AB DS 2016/2017), Margaret Punsalan (BS HSc 2016), spoke on the panel entitled, "Innovative Approaches to Health Policy for Humanitarian Goals," with the presentation, “Fighting Poverty Through Health: Empowering the Youth to Innovate through Social Media”.
Todd Lazaro explaining Project LAAN Inc. and its innovations for health
The students detailed the current gaps in the Philippine healthcare system, with focus on the health financing sector, and how the student-led, non-government organization Project LAAN, Inc. responds to these shortcomings in the system. Project LAAN has made significant leaps in preventing failed access to healthcare for 150 families across two communities in Antipolo and Laguna by utilizing social media and innovation to raise resources for their social health insurance premiums. Their presentation ultimately points to the unique potential that creative youth-initiated movements have for finding creative solutions for long-standing problems in a health system that as of yet fails to be inclusive and equitable for the poor and vulnerable.
Moreover, the photograph submitted by the contingent was among those chosen to be featured in the conference’ photo competition. The original photograph, entitled "Daan”, depicts a child headed to school at the foot of a muddy slope. It was taken by the 13-year old daughter of one of Project LAAN, Inc.'s partner-families using a film camera.
Daan, the photograph taken by one of Project LAAN Inc.'s beneficiaries featured in the conference' photo exhibit
The contingent also gave a demonstration of the organization’s virtual reality project, which was lauded for making donor marketing and accountability more engaging, in spite of limited funding. The audio-visual display transports users from the conference in the UK to the organization’s communities in Rizal and Laguna to virtually experience the reality of their poverty.
Project LAAN, Inc. is a registered NGO that is fully run by Atenean students. It has recently expanded its vision-mission to promoting health advocacy and literacy to prevent failed access to healthcare and thus fight poverty through health. Visit their website at projectlaan.org or Facebook page at fb.com/projectlaan to learn more about the advocacy and ways on how to help.
A participant from the conference trying out the students' virtual reality vehicle, which allows one to step into the reality of Barangay Calawis.