Monday, July 9, 2007

The Gawad Kalinga Model

Let's Start the Revolution of the Filipino Youth XII

Couple for Christ's (CFC) socio-civic arm, Gawad Kalinga (which means "to give care"), is currently on-target to achieve its goal of building 700,000 homes in 7 years. Gawad Kalinga has become the new face of the Filipino volunteer. Thousands of Filipinos either young or old have come to embrace its mission towards a slum-free Philippines. All over the country, Gawad Kalinga volunteers have built thousands of homes for the poor, also for those ravaged by natural calamities like in Bicol because of typhoon Reming last year.

Gawad Kalinga has even eclipsed its mother organization, CFC, in terms of popularity and it has made Tony Meloto, GK's founder, a household name in the country. CFC has been successful by being an unbiased and apolitical organization amidst alot of scandals rocking the country. By focusing on what needs to be done rather than assigning blame for the culprit of our country's problems, CFC, has helped thousands of Filipino families through Gawad Kalinga. Today, GK, has chapters all over the world and it has built homes in Cambodia, Vietnam and even Papua New Guinea.

ANCOP (Answer the Cry of the Poor), GK's international name, has opened up the opportunity the chance to volunteer for millions of Filipinos living or working overseas. It has generated millions of pesos because of donations from millions of Filipinos and Filipino organizations based all over the globe. GK has actually began taking on a global outlook with the delegation of Tony Meloto as its new international ambassador.

I believe GK in a way is a first of its kind in the global fight against poverty. Though in some ways it has the same purpose and program as Habitat for Humanity, it has become very innovative in its approach. Judging from the number of Filipinos responding to the call to answer the cry of our poor brothers and sisters, GK has been very successful in branding "volunteerism" as an ideal passion in life. GK volunteers have become much more satisfied in their lives. Various corporations and local government units (LGUs) have also embraced Gawad Kalinga by actively partnering with it for building initiatives. The Philippine National Police (PNP) for its part now has Pulis Kalinga, which is an offshoot of Gawad Kalinga to help provide decent homes for our country's police force.

Gawad Kalinga is proudly a Filipino innovation and we should all be happy of it. I call upon more young Filipinos out there especially students to become volunteers of this great Filipino invention. It is an invention of sorts because its army of volunteers is like a machine that continuously builds and cares for the least fortunate among us.

I would also like to emphasize that the GK Model can be applied to other problems in the country. Aside from housing, this model can be used for programs in Education, Healthcare, Social Services, Employment, and Energy & Water. Organizations out there working for other goals aside from housing can replicate Gawad Kalinga's model of Success to also ensure their success.

Gawad Kalinga has clearly come a long way since it started. The national government can learn alot from what GK did to achieve its goals. By shunning idle talk and politicking, its founders and volunteers can effectively focus on the tasks at hand, on the things that truly matter. It has learned valuable insights in business like maximizing resources at hand, increasing efficiency and effectiveness, and establishing a very good sales & marketing team.

GK will continue to build more homes for Filipino families in the years to come. In this sense, the Revolution of the Filipino Youth has truly started. But alas, there is more work that needs to be done in order to bring about lasting changes to our national problems. I hope the story of Gawad Kalinga will inspires countless Filipinos especially from the youth sector to take up the challenge of Jesus Christ to truly live out his teachings even at a very early age.

* Please watch the movie about Gawad Kalinga's work, Paraiso, which I believe is now showing in local theaters.

1 comment:

marvin said...

Gawad Kalinga is more than about building houses for the poorest of the poor. They provide descent houses for the poor all over the country. There will be a Gawad Kalinga Global Summit that will be held at Boston this month and there are some national leaders that will attend the event.