What’s more compelling for a millennial to stay at work longer than her peers? Jungie Amacanin- Diamsay, Dangal ng PhilRice Outstanding Development Worker in the Junior Service Contractors category, had been working in the country’s lead agency on rice research and development for five years, while statistics show that 4 in every 10 of her generation will resign from workplace in two years.
“I love the entirety of my work- the type of work I have, the people I’m working with, and the people I’m working for. I find purpose and meaning in it, especially that the project I’m involved with is dedicated towards helping our less fortunate children and women who are suffering from malnutrition,” she said.
Work as an advocacy
Jungie, who worked for the Golden Rice, is driven by the project’s purpose to help the vitamin A deficient children and women. As complementary measure, golden rice contains beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A upon consumption. This type of rice can provide 30 to 50% of the estimated average requirement for vitamin A.
“I’ve experienced the consequences of having nothing much to eat or of not getting enough nutrition owing to poverty. In my childhood, there are times that we just eat porridge alone, or camote alone, or buko alone,” she recalled.
Hailing from Cebu, Jungie said that despite their family planting vegetables, which are sources of good nourishment, the vegetables are not enough for their nutritional needs as they are sold in the market to buy rice and for family needs.
“Every now and then, my mother had asthma attacks and my siblings suffered from various ailments. It was a family burden. This is why I’m advocating for Golden Rice because I believe in it’s potential to offer better nutrition,” she said.
Her study on Golden Rice, which she presented during the 29th R&D conference at PhilRice, won special citation in the poster competition under the category of technology promotion and delivery.
She writes articles, produces knowledge products, and packages messages for media channels, which significantly increase public awareness and access to information on golden rice. For 2017 alone, she effectively planned and executed more than 50 knowledge-sharing, stakeholder engagement and networking activities bringing in new or renewed partnerships and increased support for the controversial genetically modified rice. She also effectively managed stakeholder’s perceptions, which led to the successful submission of regulatory applications for the project.
A graduate of BS Development Communication from Visayas State College of Agriculture (now Visayas State University), the Golden Rice’s communication and stakeholder engagement specialist said she first heard of the project when she was asked to write a science article about it in third year college.
From writing the article to being the project’s full-time communication staff, her practice on risk communication was deepened through dealing with the project oppositions.
“I experienced going under cover in a seminar with activists, delivering a speech among the oppositions, and even facing them directly during rallies,” she said.
The strength from within
Her power in handling her tasks can be traced from her life growing up. Being the third of twelve siblings, the 28-year-old development worker learned the value of work and responsibility at an early age.
Jungie recalled having just one set of uniform and shoes when she was in first year to third year highschool. Going to school from their home would also require her to walk for almost an hour. Despite these challenges, she was still able to maintain excellent grades and actively participate in school activities. She would always participate in school reports, balagtasan, declamation, broadcasting, and other activities that were related to communication.
When she was in third year high school, Jungie had to stop studying for a while to save enough money for college and at the same time, give some for her family. At the age of 15, she had her first job.
“I worked in a dried mango company. I realized how hard it was to work in the ‘real-world,’ especially that I haven’t finished school during that time. That experience made me even more persistent to finish my studies.”
She was a working student in her college years. She experienced juggling two works at a time to support her education and at the same time maintain her college scholarship. During semestral break, she worked to earn money for enrollment. Life was hard for her but she managed to graduate Cum Laude.
“I want to inspire others with my work, especially those like me who came from poverty. I want them to see that hardships and poverty is not a hindrance to success. Instead, that should be your springboard to success. Turn that hardships into passion to fuel you on your chosen endeavor to reach your goals,” she narrated.
Working out the fear
Working on improving nutrition especially in rural areas, Jungie, who is also seven month-pregnant, shared her current fear – that her baby may acquire diseases and ailments.
“I want my child to remain healthy as she grows,” she said.
She said that with the possibility of Golden Rice, she is given additional healthier choices of food not only for her and her baby, but also for her fellow expecting mothers.
“This type of rice is still in research stage so I am hoping that it would soon be available. I believe on its potential. Once approved, I will personally try it for me and my baby. I have seen how it is developed and what safety processes it undergoes so I could attest its safety,” she said.
There’s too much heart in Jungie’s support for the project. Believing that her purpose and advocacy in life is to help her fellow being in any ways she can, especially the less fortunate, she “want to her the unheard, feel the unfelt, and reach the unreached.
“I want to be of help to the beggar in the street, to a person who is mourning or in pain, or to a farmer whose efforts are never enough to feed his children. I want to be that someone who could lighten up their day and somehow ease their burden,” she said.
Jungie is indeed not only an outstanding staff. We can also tell that she is already an outstanding woman on her own.