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Quote of the day: Learn from others

Quote of the day: Learn from others | Enrich | Scoop.it
  “It's said that a wise person learns from his mistakes. A wiser one learns from others' mistakes. But the wisest person of all learns from others successes.”  ― John C. MaxwellPhoto Credit: ...
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Quote for the Day: Being Grateful

Quote for the Day: Being Grateful | Enrich | Scoop.it
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Volunteerism in the Philippines found its fertile ground in Gawad Kalinga

Volunteerism in the Philippines found its fertile ground in Gawad Kalinga | Enrich | Scoop.it
By  Jose Ma. Montelibano It came as no surprise to me to read that the Philippines were a friendly and generous country because Filipinos were frequently giving of themselves through volunteerism. ...
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Quote for the Day: Never underestimate your own strength

Quote for the Day: Never underestimate your own strength | Enrich | Scoop.it
You are you, born to do great things. Don't fit in because you are born to stand out.  Blessings,Ermz
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Quotes Feed | Destination FEED

Quotes Feed | Destination FEED | Enrich | Scoop.it
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SOCIAL BUSINESS SUMMIT 2013: No ordinary love story | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

SOCIAL BUSINESS SUMMIT 2013: No ordinary love story | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com | Enrich | Scoop.it
It has all the hallmarks of a typical “east meets west” love story: a successful British businessman visits the Philippines on a short trip, falls in love and showers the object of his affection with gifts and kind words.

 

This time, however, there is a twist, since Dylan Wilk found love not in an Internet chat room or on the beautiful beaches of Boracay, but in a Gawad Kalinga village. “The more I interacted with the people who were part of GK, the more I fell in love with Filipinos. The most heroic people I had met in my life were there – ordinary people who were sacrificing so much just to care for others.”

 

Having already left the business world at the age of 25 in search of a more meaningful career, Dylan encountered a cause – GK – which inspired him to give away all his wealth. However, his philanthropy could not last forever – Dylan’s money was running out while the challenge to end poverty would remain as overwhelming, and as urgent, as ever.

 

Going beyond charity

 

Having already fallen in love with the Philippines, Dylan then fell for a Filipina, Anna Meloto, and the couple married in 2004. In many ways, Dylan and Anna were coming from opposite extremes. Anna, the daughter of Gawad Kalinga founder Tony Meloto, had watched her father tirelessly help build the Gawad Kalinga movement. She remained committed to the cause, but also felt the time was right to set up a business and provide a sustainable future for their prospective family. Dylan, however, remained unconvinced: “When I left the business world, I never wanted to go back. The obsession with profit didn’t bring out the best in me.”

 

Having decided to spend a year in the US, Anna and her sister Camille came across their business idea: “We noticed that natural health and beauty products were available to ordinary Americans at normal prices, while in the Philippines only the elite could afford them. However, looking at the ingredients, we realized that a lot of them could be grown in our country,” Anna recalls. “Camille and I really wanted to start an enterprise, but we didn’t want to do it without Dylan’s business experience.”


Camille and Anna’s ideas got a reluctant Dylan thinking: instead of philanthropy, what if the power of business could be galvanized to help eradicate poverty? What if the raw materials could be grown in GK communities, therefore providing them with a source of income?

Camille, Dylan and Anna moved back to the Philippines and established Human Nature. Starting out in a cramped room with “zero marketing budget,” Human Nature has since emerged as one of the fastest growing beauty and cosmetic brands in the Philippines under its slogan: pro-Philippines, pro-poor, pro-environment. All of the products are made with natural ingredients which are sourced – wherever and whenever possible – in the Philippines.

 

I visited one of the communities in Davao where sunflower and passion fruit are grown for Human Nature products and there I met the GK village leader Jaime, a man who has been farming for over 20 years: “Before, it was very difficult because we were dependent on selling to a middle-man, who was in a position to entirely dictate the price to us.” If the price was too low, Jaime explained to me, the farmers in his community earned barely enough to survive. With little incentive to make the land productive and profitable, many farmers leave the countryside in search of jobs and opportunities in the city, exacerbating the country’s urban overcrowding.

 

Empowering farming communities

 

However, Human Nature goes beyond dealing directly with growers and giving an above-average price for the raw materials it sources. I visited another community outside Bacolod where the village has invested in a processing plant for lemongrass. By doing it on site, value is added to the product and the proceeds remain within the community.

 

Furthermore, a community in Bicol has recently pooled their savings to purchase an extra four hectares of land in order to expand their citronella production, thereby producing more oil which they can sell on to Human Nature (or, potentially, anyone else). This was a major step forward, Dylan tells me, as they took this initiative without Human Nature asking them to do so: “The community has gone from a beneficiary mentality to taking control themselves, expanding their capacity to produce without our help.”

 

Of course, there is no use in a community purchasing land if they lack the experience or expertise to manage this land effectively: “In addition to specific agricultural training, we are teaching farmers to conduct simple record keeping and financial projections, to make sure they can maximize the profits they generate,” Anna tells me.

 

Another aspect of Human Nature’s advocacy for social business is their commitment to recruiting nearly half of their staff from impoverished communities, thereby offering opportunities, training and an “ethical” wage (as opposed to a minimum wage) of at least P750 per day to staff who would otherwise languish on the margins of the mainstream economy. Implementing this policy brings challenges: “Some of our staff haven’t had the education we’ve had, and often they haven’t had good role models in their environment either, so you have to expect that they will mess up occasionally.” However, to motivate the less schooled to give their best, free from the constant fear of losing their job, Human Nature has introduced a no firing policy: “As a result, our staff have realized that we believe in them, and that we are not going to give up on them,” Dylan maintains.......


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Quote for the Day: Never underestimate your own strength

Quote for the Day: Never underestimate your own strength | Enrich | Scoop.it
You are you, born to do great things. Don't fit in because you are born to stand out.  Blessings,Ermz
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SOCIAL BUSINESS SUMMIT 2013: All roads lead to Bulacan | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

SOCIAL BUSINESS SUMMIT 2013: All roads lead to Bulacan | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com | Enrich | Scoop.it

By Thomas Graham

"It is difficult to imagine a more cosmopolitan scene anywhere in the country." Kris Aquino, comedienne Pokwang and the actor/model Daniel Matsunaga are mingling with a group of students and young professionals from countries as far and wide as France, Canada, Spain and Taiwan. Alongside them, and perhaps the real stars of the moment, are the members of a community of relocated informal squatters who proudly show their visitors around their transformed community. Meanwhile, one man looks slightly more nervous than the rest: Alvie Benitez, a young, local entrepreneur, is eagerly awaiting Kris’s reaction to his most recent innovation: the pato puto (duck egg rice cake).


If the circumstances are unusual, then the venue is as well. After all, this varied array of individuals have gathered not in a smart Metro Manila conference center, nor at one of the Philippines’ more iconic destinations, but on a farm in the unassuming province of Bulacan. However, if farming conjures up images of muddy boots and smelly pigsties to some, then a visit to the GK Enchanted Farm in Angat (Bulacan) may just change those perceptions.


For it is in off-the-beaten-track Angat (an hour from Manila on a good day), that the first-ever Farm Village hub for social innovators has been established. Young entrepreneurs and students from both the Philippines and many other parts of the world have travelled thousands of kilometers to learn about the Enchanted Farm’s vision for social entrepreneurship within the agricultural sector. These entrepreneurs are eager to tap into the region’s rich and varied resources not only to create sustainable businesses but also to become part of the solution to their country’s biggest challenges.


Today Bulacan is the beacon for a region brimming with agricultural potential. It demonstrates how a growing number of change-makers glimpse here the possibility of both being successful and doing good in the Philippines. The Enchanted Farm is also designed to be a template for dealing with the country’s most pressing challenge: how to create sustainable employment opportunities for the relocated informal settlers and improve the productivity of agrarian reform beneficiaries – a massive challenge for government and NGOs to mitigate urban migration and congestion.


This is the challenge that Alvie has taken up. While studying development at La Salle University in 2009, he attended a Gawad Kalinga-organized Center for Social Innovation (CSI) event. In time, he became less enamoured to the theories behind development and more curious about the power of business itself to help eradicate poverty. “Myself and the CSI team planned for a business that would be easy to grow and replicate in different grassroots communities nationwide.”


Bulacan: The home for innovative new businesses


After studying the different business opportunities in Bulacan, Alvie was drawn not to one of the country’s more traditional and established industries, but to the duck Industry. Currently a P2-billion industry, it is tiny compared with the P400-billion chicken industry, but Alvie explains: “We want to make better quality duck products, and then package them and market them better in order to create a better income stream for farmers. At present, the most popular duck product is balut. While there is nothing wrong with this, a balut egg sells for only P15, and if 5-7 layers of people share in its processing, what is left for the poor?”


Starting out with just a duck pen, 100 ducks, and a lot of trial and error, Alvie came across the idea of the Golden Egg, which soon became the flagship product. Colored with natural food-grade turmeric which provided the egg with an original golden color, and with 50 percent less salt content, Alvie found a market that no longer dismissed duck eggs as low value. “We realized that, with the right messaging, and by sticking to your values, people will support you and your business will begin to thrive.”


Alvie delights in the rich using their education to create opportunities for themselves and the hardworking poor. "Our social enterprise has been connected to members of the local Gawad Kalinga village and the surrounding farming communities in the region in order to augment our supply of duck eggs and meat.”


By coming alongside the poor, training them and trusting in their true potential, Alvie has helped harness the genius of the poor. I met Alvie's community partner, Cathy Laron, a Gawad Kalinga beneficiary who, despite not yet completing her high-school education (she is currently studying on a part-time basis), has already learned to assume responsibilities which belie her lack of formal education: “I am very happy at Golden Duck because of the confidence people have shown in me. I have learned to do so many aspects of the job, including accounting, production, purchasing and selling of the products.”


The power of solidarity

The Enchanted Farm stands as an example of what can be achieved when the government, private sector and the voluntary sector come together with a united vision. From the outset, one key partner has been the government of Bulacan itself, as Gov. Willy Sy-Alvarado explains: “When we first visited the site with Tony Meloto (the founder of Gawad Kalinga) back in 2009, it was just wasteland. Today, it is a venue which showcases the very best of Bulacan – not only this province’s enormous agricultural potential, but the talents of our many craftsmen and women.” In addition, in conjunction with the provincial government and other government agencies such as DAR and DENR, livelihood opportunities are being created for 3,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries in Bulacan.


With the prospect of strong civil society engagement and the support of the provincial and national government, major corporations such as Hyundai, Shell, Lifebank, Berjaya and Mitsui have themselves invested heavily in improving the research, educational and technical infrastructure of the village university, helping to ensure that the Enchanted Farm becomes a hub and incubator for emerging social entrepreneurs and businesses.


Currently, many of the economic zones are found south of the capital, despite the region’s rich variety of human and natural resources: “In fact, Bulacan already supplies 60 percent of Metro Manila’s domestically produced meat, over 60 percent of its call center staff and 97 percent of its water supplies,” Gov. Sy-Alvarado tells me.


Such rich natural resources, allied to the government’s commitment to greater partnership with social entrepreneurs and investors in developing local economic zones, make Bulacan a logical destination for Enchanted Farm, from where a new generation of farmer-entrepreneurs will emerge as the new wealth creators in the Philippines. “Bulacan will soon be to the Philippines what Shenzhen is to China,” Gov. Alvarado enthuses.

A catalyst for nationwide sustainable development

The greater objective of the Enchanted Farm is to demonstrate that, if it can be done in Angat, Bulacan, then it can be done anywhere else. Alvie, for one, has ambitions to reach out beyond the farm itself: “Our starting ground is the farm itself. However, once we demonstrate this model can work here, we will connect that technology and training to farmers outside. Eventually, by investing in the supply chain outside of the farm itself, we will be able to have a greater industry impact.”

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Quote for the Day: Go as Far as You Can See

Quote for the Day: Go as Far as You Can See | Enrich | Scoop.it
Go as far as you can see, when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther. - J. P Morgan
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How A Volunteer Got Her Summer Adventure For A Lifetime

How A Volunteer Got Her Summer Adventure For A Lifetime | Enrich | Scoop.it
Heroism, boldness, bravery, great courage, unconditional love, or maybe craziness’ to some.... this were just the word that can best describe the work that Gawad Kalinga is embarking on to end the ...
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A Journey of Blessing and Hope

A Journey of Blessing and Hope | Enrich | Scoop.it
Being a volunteer has different facet. You can volunteer in a non government organization or in the community of where you are. Most of the time being a volunteer will excite you to the work ahead ...
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Quote for the Day: Have a Sense of Purpose

Quote for the Day: Have a Sense of Purpose | Enrich | Scoop.it
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Quote for the day: Don't forget to live

Quote for the day: Don't forget to live | Enrich | Scoop.it
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Quote for the Day: Get rid of clutter that does not support your better self

Quote for the Day: Get rid of clutter that does not support your better self | Enrich | Scoop.it
By: ErmzGet rid of every toxins that does not bring you peace and support to better yourself. We all know that old ideas, bad habits, toxic relationship brings disaster in the long run but we often...
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Quote for the Day: Build passionate customers

Quote for the Day: Build passionate customers | Enrich | Scoop.it
Customer can come and go. The most challenging part of any business owner, is how to retain loyal customers that would prefer your brand or service and  who will do business with you again and agai...
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Write for Us

Write for Us | Enrich | Scoop.it
Freelance Writers are welcome to contribute your journey and experiences with us. Submitted article should be: Content must be 500 to 1,500 words and originally written by the owner. Resource link ...
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