To lift the Philippines out of poverty, economist Antonio Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga, believes the next generation of Filipinos needs to create jobs at home rather than seeking jobs abroad
Today, Gawad Kalinga has transformed the homes of 200,000 families, about a million people. Residents built and maintain them; they elect their community leaders. These enclaves stand out for their cleanliness and bright colors—located across the Philippines from Manila to Leythe province, in the path of the deadly recent typhoon Hayian. Gawad Kalinga communities located in the path of the recent super typhoon did sustain some damage. There are roofs that are blown off, but for the most part the structures are still standing. The typhoon killed more than 6,000 people, but not a single one of them was in a Gawad Kalinga community.
MELOTO: We coordinate with the local government units, and they point us to where the safe areas are.
DE SAM LAZARO: Safe because they’re on higher ground and on deeded land. Millions of people in informal settlements don’t have land title, so they are vulnerable to eviction. Gawad Kalinga has never paid to acquire land for its communities. Instead, the group convinces landowners to donate a part of their holdings, promising to work with the government to develop infrastructure, to everyone’s benefit.