Our Mission

Enabling communities to be ecologically literate and proactive towards a more livable planet.

Who We Are

The Association of Young Environmental Journalists (AYEJ) is a youth-led environmental non-profit working to engage and educate civil society on environmental sustainability through youth development and media training. 

The organization believes that young people have the distinctive ability and responsibility to help further environmental action through story-telling. We envision being the primary source of positive stories about solutions being developed by individuals, communities, governments, and businesses which deviate from the pessimism of environmental issues and bring them to a more progressive attention.

What started out as an informal network of earth warriors and storytellers in 2017 in Dumaguete, AYEJ has now expanded to become an official Securities and Exchange Commission-registered entity of the Philippine Government.

The organization is also a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth.


The Things We Strongly Value


Positive Impact




“At the end of the day, we just want to tell the stories that matter: The stories that encourage action, the stories that allow communities to be heard, and especially the stories that will make sure that our children and our children’s children will enjoy the same natural environment that we enjoy freely today.

- Val Amiel Vestil Executive Director, AYEJ.


Build Capacity


AYEJ believes that we can catch up with the exponentially increasing effects of environmental degradation in the country by equipping the youth with environmental journalism skills to effectively communicate creative solutions to these problems. Our flagship project, Camp SEWI: Student's Environmental Writing Initiative, is the core of what we do. The camp aims to build the capacity and develop media skills of young writers in environmental journalism through specially designed media training modules.

Create Content


AYEJ acknowledges the power of story-telling, and especially telling the development stories that matter. We produce written and visual content on the most relevant environmental stories. To date, AYEJ has produced over 50 stories and has been published more than 30 times in numerous online magazines, news websites, campus publications, and local community newspapers in the Philippines.

Increase Conversation


To amplify conversations about the earth, AYEJ implements numerous online and offline campaigns. One such is its flagship program, Usapang Kalikasan, an intimate gathering between young advocates, industry leaders, climate experts, and environmental movers who exchange innovative ideas and transfer knowledge on green issues and concerns. Through this, AYEJ works to encourage courageous conversations and eventually inspire actions towards environmental protection


  • National Winner

    Search for the 16th Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) of the Philippines 2019 - Manila, Philippines

      • AYEJ emerged as one of the top ten winners after over 300 youth organizations applied across the Philippines for the prestigious award. It was distinctly recognized from among 19 other national finalists for employing a strategy in environmental sustainability that is “not common, but equally meaningful,” according to its TAYO Awards Foundation President Percival Cendaña. The search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) is the sole award-giving body that grants nationwide recognition to formal and non-formal youth organizations for their outstanding contributions to nation-building and development.
  • Winner

    Negros Young Heroes' Award: Gawad Parangal Para sa Kabataan - Dumaguete, Philippines

      • AYEJ was honored in the region with theNegros Young Heroes Award, an annual recognition honoring young Negrenses and Negros-based organizations whose lives are dedicated not only for the betterment of self but also of others, with fervor that being good is ultimately helping others. The program was initiated by Gaba-an Youth Lead and Yamang Bukid together with the Newground Events.
  • Philippine Representative

    European Development Days 2019 - Brussels, Belgium

      • AYEJ brought the voices of the climate crisis-vulnerablePhilippines through its executive director, Val Amiel Vestil, in a high-level panel on Climate Change and Environmental Inequalities: Exploring the Interlinkages between climate change, environment, and inequality with the topic: “Finding the path towards an inclusive and green transition leaving no one behind” with EEAS Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Global Issues Christian Lefflert, AFD Associate Chief Executive Officer Bertrand Walckenaer, WIDA Director-General Carin Jamtin, Wecyclers CEO Olawale Adebiyi, and DBSA Chief Investment Officer Paul Currie.
  • Digital Youth Ambassador

    Digital Youth Summit 2018 by Facebook PH - Quezon City, Philippines

      • AYEJ was among 5 organizations from all over the Philippines
        thatwon funding from Facebook and Mano Amiga to implement a digital campaign. Recognizing the power of the arts to educate, influence, and inspire, AYEJ organized “Project 1.5,” a digital competition engaging creatives and artists from all over the Philippines to send out messages of concern on the ecological emergency and 1.5-degree celsius threshold through poetry, prose, photography, digital manipulation, and art on canvas.


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President and Chairperson (He/Him)
Ryan Louie Madrid is a program manager and development communicator who has worked in the areas of disaster resettlement and youth participation in the Philippines and Southeast Asia for over ten years. He is currently a Senior Operations Specialist of Habitat for Humanity International, Asia-Pacific Regional Office where he works on proposal development and disaster response and risk reduction (DR3) initiatives.


Corporate Secretary (He/Him)
Ernesto B. Neri is a lawyer and educator. He is an assistant professor of the Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan College of Law teaching political law subjects. He concurrently serves as the Director of the University’s Human Rights advocacy and legal aid center. Aside from litigation work, he engages in human-rights based policy work with local government units.


Treasurer (He/Him)
Abs Basman is a public servant under the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur - Office of the Provincial Vice-Governor. In 2019, he completed the UnionAid New Zealand's leadership program Mindanao Young Leaders Programme (MinYLP) in the University of Wellington, New Zealand with his special interest Community Disaster Resilience. Currently he is developing a Community Emergency Preparedness Planning Toolkit that will serve as a guide to Local Government Units with their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan.


Dave is a columnist for sustainable development with Negros Weekly, and previously with SunStar Bacolod and the Visayan Daily Star and currently serves as Executive Director of the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation. They were a Professional Fellow on Environmental Sustainability in Oregon, USA (2016), a graduate of the Swedish Institute Management Programme on Sustainable Business (2020), and a Gen.T Leader of Tomorrow (2021) named by Tatler Asia for their work on nature conservancy.

Jenny Elmaco, MBA, Ph.D.

Jenny Lind D. Elmaco currently serves as the Regional Coordinator at EURAXESS and VP for Asia Pacific. She was a recipient of the Marie Curie ITN Fellowship of the Consortia for Excellence on Sustainable Peace-building which is funded by the European Commission. The Peace Studies program of the University of Bradford was her host University and she spent part of her field research in Barcelona Spain.

Javan Lev Poblador

Javan is the co-founder and pioneer president of the Association of Young Environmental Journalists. He is also the former Director for Design and Creatives of ATO-ClimatEducate Project, the climate change education project of the Alpha Team Organization-ATO. He is currently the Chief Executive of Humanists Alliance Philippines International, and the Young Humanists International Coordinator and Social Media Consultant of Humanists International.

Rechelle Barraquias

Rechelle Ann Tolinero-Barraquias is currently the department chairperson of the Development Communication Department in Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. She earned her master’s degree in Development Communication at the University of the Philippines Open University in 2016. She is an alumna of the United States’ International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) for Promoting Media Literacy through Education and of The Netherlands' Radio Radio Netherlands Training Centre for Media Campaigns for Development and Social Change.



Val Amiel Vestil

Co-Founder / Executive Director (He/Him)

Rhyn Anthony Esolana

Co-Founder / Operations (He/Him)

Aprille Roselle Juanillo

Program Officer (She/Her)

Tiara Jabutay

Newsroom Manager (She/Her)

Irish Jane Calungsod

Design Strategist (She/Her)