United Nations Public Service Award Winners


Initiative: Project TEACH


Institution: City Government of Mandaluyong


Problem: Prior to 2015, there were an estimated 10 million Filipinos with disabilities, but only about 1,400 occupational therapists, 259 speech therapists, and 49 developmental pediatricians available to serve in the country, where most worked in private hospitals and clinics. As such, children from lower income families rarely had access to treatment because of high costs (approximately $3,370 USD/year for therapy and special education services), and ultimately leading children living with disabilities to limited care and their families to isolation and stigmatization. The absence of standard programs, tools and protocols to assess students, as well as to develop and implement individualized education programs made their task very challenging. Furthermore, special education teachers in public schools were underutilized and underpaid. The very heterogeneous composition of their class in terms of their students’ age, diagnosis, limitations and skill levels further aggravated the situation. Consequently, little success was achieved in including youth with learning difficulties with their typically developing peers in classrooms.


Solution: This is a community-based rehabilitation program that directly benefits youth with disabilities residing in low income areas. It is a joint project with the Rehabilitation and Empowerment of Adults and Children with Handicap (REACH) Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization based in Mandaluyong City. It aims to enable youth with disabilities to attain their optimum level of functioning and quality of life. Project TEACH provides youth with special needs to access an innovative and cost-effective network of free medical, rehabilitative, educational and related services. To address the stigmatization of children with special needs and to prevent the increased prevalence of disability, Project TEACH also conducted numerous community education programs. Capability building activities have been implemented to help government doctors, public school teachers, social workers and barangay health workers and family members to become more effective in serving youth with special needs. To sustain these initiatives, an inter-agency and multi-sectorial committee was formed to develop the service delivery framework. This committee meets at least once a month to evaluate Project TEACH’s programs and to discuss ways to enhance these accordingly.


Impact: In a quality assurance survey conducted by Project TEACH, 93 per cent of the parent respondents observed improvements on their children. 100 per cent felt that interventions were appropriate. Moreover, 100 per cent of the parent respondents expressed satisfaction over the services rendered through Project TEACH. 122 special children in public schools have been clustered into more than 10 homogenous groups to implement the most appropriate ‘specialty curriculum’. Through this ‘clustering scheme’, the students in a class would be grouped by similar needs and baseline skills. Hence, the lesson planning process and classroom management is simplified. To date, Mandaluyong City has placed at least 26 special students in the mainstreaming or inclusion program in five of its public schools.



Category 1:

Improving the Delivery of Public Services


Related SDGs: 










Asia and the Pacific Group


More information: 

Project TEACH

Quick Links