Every year, the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation recognizes young people for their contributions in making the world a better place.
The Edmonton-based organization presents the award to 30 people under the age of 30 to honour their work in achieving the United Nations 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
On February 4 this year, the Top 30 Under 30 Award was handed out to recipients at the Calgary Central Library, and two of the awardees are Canadians of Filipino heritage.
They are Krisha Quiambao, a public health professional, and Kevin Laxamana, an anthropologist.
“Coming from a small village in the Philippines where the nearest health centre is over two hours away, Krisha understands firsthand the reality of global health disparities,” the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation describes Quiambao, 26, on the organization’s awards website.
“Now a global health professional, she works toward improving access to health care and strengthening health systems to protect against emerging global challenges,” according to the organization.
Now a resident of Edmonton, Quiambao hails from the Philippines.
Quiambao was recognized for her contributions to The SAM Project, a Canadian undertaking in the dry lands of Zambia.
“In 2019, I collaborated with The SAM Project and two of my peers to propose strategies to respond to and mitigate the health effects of climate change in rural Zambia,” according to Quiambao.
SAM means ‘Sustainability through Agriculture and Microenterprises’, and the project aims to help Zambians achieve dignified livelihood.
Quiambao describes herself on her personal online account that she is working toward a master’s degree in public health.
She is currently working with the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters.
“Since July 2019, I have been working at the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, conducting research and developing emergency plans related to humanitarian emergencies and gender-based violence,” Quiambao states on the site of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation.
According to her, her contributions focus on Sustainable Development 3: Good health and well-being, SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation, and SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals.
“Through my project to mitigate the health effects of climate change in rural Zambia, I worked with local stakeholders to strengthen the national rural water supply and sanitation system,” she said.
“I have also been involved in development projects to improve health security and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for resource-limited populations in the Philippines, Zambia, Indonesia, Uganda, and Canada,” Quiambao added.
Kevin Laxamana is described by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation as an “anthropologist, teacher, mentor, community builder, and a first-generation immigrant with roots from Pampanga, Philippines”.
“More than anything, he considers himself a storyteller who is privileged to lend his voice to the trans community by telling their stories through his research,” the organization said about the 27-year-old awardee.
Now a resident of Edmonton, Laxamana hails from the Pampanga town of Lubao.
A graduate student in sociocultural anthropology, Laxamana was recognized for his research on the transgender community in Asia.
“My thesis focuses on the ‘disrupted’ life cycles of Balinese and Singaporean transgender women sex workers by analyzing their diverse experiences, and stories of transitioning and de-transitioning,” according to Laxamana.
Laxamana is also active in the local Filipino community.
“Through my past involvement as president (2015–16) of the University of Alberta Philippine Students’ Association, I have mentored Filipino student leaders and worked on projects that have impacted not only Filipinos in Edmonton but also those who live in indigent communities in the Philippines,” according to Laxamana.
Laxamana is committed to Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is about gender equality.
“The discrimination and hardships being faced by the transwomen sex worker communities I worked with are deeply rooted in their gender,” according to Laxamana.
“Through my research, I am advocating for the fair and equal treatment of transwomen sex workers in Singapore and Bali, Indonesia, by bringing forward their stories of transitioning and survival,” Laxamana added.