Taclobanon adjudged ‘best master trainer’ in ASEAN digital literacy forum

TACLOBAN CITY (PIA) — Claire Fernandez, Leyte Provincial Officer of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) – Eastern Visayas, bested nine other ASEAN countries as she clinched the Best Master Trainer award during the ASEAN Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) Impact Forum in Bali, Indonesia, on November 14-16, 2023.

Fernandez competed against 1,432 master trainers from all 10 ASEAN countries in the ASEAN DLP category.

Anchored with this year’s theme, “Empowering ASEAN Communities through Digital Literacy,” the impact forum highlighted the achievements and impact of two-year programme implementation in 10 ASEAN member states.

Provincial Officer Claire Fernandez (right) of DICT-8 with Joie Cruz from Limitless Lab, the implementing partner for the ADLP. (Photo courtesy of Claire Fernandez)

Claire Fernandez, Provincial Officer of DICT-8, attended the ASEAN Digital Literacy Programme Impact Forum in Bali, Indonesia, on Nov. 14-16, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Claire Fernandez)

Fernandez is a zealous advocate for digital literacy and resilience. She continues to conduct ASEAN DLP training in government agencies, schools, and communities across the Eastern Visayas region.

As a master trainer and an ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB) or Cybersecurity focal of DICT-8, Fernandez has partnered with a wide range of stakeholders, including other master trainers, co-workers, government officials and offices, high schools, state universities, colleges, local government units, and the private sector, to train over 3,000 people from all six provinces in Eastern Visayas.

Fernandez is dedicated to empowering Filipinos, especially the special needs sectors, to become more informed and engaged citizens.

“What inspires me to continue this work is my passion and compassion for helping others. Seeing how vulnerable we are with all the sensitive information we store online, I feel compelled to do my part to protect people from harm. As a Cybersecurity focal, it’s an honor to exceed our targets and see the positive impact we’re making on the lives of others,” Fernandez said.

The ASEAN DLP is an initiative that aims to combat misinformation and disinformation in ASEAN. With the support of a USD 1.5 million grant from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, the ASEAN Foundation led the implementation of the two-year programme, equipping around 1,000 trainers across 10 ASEAN countries with media and information literacy skills they need to train around 100,000 beneficiaries in their country.

According to Dr. Piti Srisangnam, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, having a shared purpose of creating a safer digital space has brought us one step closer to the vision of developing a digitally inclusive Southeast Asia.

“Equipped with digital literacy knowledge and skills, the ASEAN DLP beneficiaries are the agents of change in the fight against online disinformation and misinformation in their respective communities,” Srisangnam said.

Fernandez was moved by the video testimonials showcasing the program’s remarkable impact on the Philippines and other ASEAN nations.

One of the organizers mentioned that Fernandez’s continued implementation of the program, which was initially only intended for 2022, was a key factor in her selection.

Key figures from the ASEAN Secretariat, members of the Board of Trustees of the ASEAN Foundation, government representatives, Google representatives, UNESCO, and VERA Files attended the ASEAN DLP Impact Forum. (MMP/AAC/PIA Leyte with reports from Claire Fernandez)

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