Gawad Kalinga began with a simple desire to give care and leave no one behind.

Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, Inc. (GK) was formally established in 2003, but the work began as early as 1994 in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, the biggest squatters relocation site in Metro Manila. Since then it has expanded its work to over 2,000 organized communities and has been adopted in other developing nations like Cambodia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It is also in the forefront of peace-building work in conflict areas in Mindanao and reconstruction work in post-disaster communities.

Read about GK's milestones in the past 11 years HERE.

The road to ending poverty for 5 million families is guided by a Development Roadmap composed of three stages:

2003 to 2010: Social Justice

We begin to challenge and inspire everyone to go beyond charity and become their brother’s keeper in order to heal the wounds of injustice in our country. This has opened the door to major streams of generosity through donations of land and resources to build homes for the homeless, a dream realized through the heroic response of volunteers from all sectors of society.

2011 to 2017: Social Artistry

We move forward to the designer phase we call “Social Artistry” where we invite greater expertise, science and technology to grow our holistic model for development. Through stronger collaboration with credible and distinguished institutions and individuals and by engaging them to use our GK communities as convergence points and social laboratories, we hope to pursue major innovations that will concretely and permanently improve the quality of life for the poorest of the poor, allowing them to attain their fullest potentials.

2018 to 2024: Social Progress

We envision a new standard of living to take a permanent foothold in the life of a nation. This will only be achieved by working on scale and sustainability of what have been established earlier – the spirit, the science and the structure. By this time, a new generation of empowered, productive citizens would have emerged, who lived through an exciting time of change – moving from poverty to prosperity, from shame to honor, from third-world to first-world and from second-class to first-class citizen of the world.

In 2013, we celebrated Gawad Kalinga's first 10 years and took stock of the learnings along the way. This has also prepared us for the next phase of the work. What We Have Learned So Far:

1. We learned that poverty is a behavioral problem with economic consequences.

At its very root is the loss of dignity of the human person which robs him of his capacity to dream and the opportunities to achieve those dreams. Through consistent presence and hand-holding, we are able to restore the poor’s confidence, provide their basic needs to be able to live dignified lives, and open the doors of opportunity to become productive citizens in society.

2. We learned that poverty is man-made and hence can be un-made.

We have ENDED poverty in some communities and we have proven that the template works. Now we just need more partners to help us scale up and reach more. Because poverty is massive, our response cannot be small, and we need everyone to do their part. GK is one working model for private-public partnership, leveraging resources to further expand reach and impact.

3. We learned that there are many generous people who are just looking for ways to help.

When we asked land donors to donate idle land for disaster victims, we also discovered a win-win solution for everyone. The poor finally have a piece of land to call their own after generations of landlessness, idle land is developed, new centers for productivity are built, and for the landowners, the value of the rest of their property increases.

4. We learned that it is important to match passion and spirit with science and systems.

We encountered many challenges as the work grew rapidly, but we have taken stock of our learnings and instituted policies and processes to improve efficiency in program delivery and financial transparency. We thank our partners for their patience and understanding and we renew our commitment to become a world-class organization.

5. We learned that the poor are not just beneficiaries – they are our partners!

A beautiful example we see throughout the country is our experience with disaster relief and reconstruction. Although we cannot prevent disasters from happening, we can relocate vulnerable families to safe havens. We are proud to report that in our 10 years, there has been no death so far in our communities due to natural calamities. This is because they are in safer areas and have an organized community that knows how to prepare for and respond to disasters. More than that, they become evacuation centers and hubs for relief distribution. They also help identify affected areas and join our teams as we conduct relief operations.

6. We learned that lasting and sustainable peace is possible.

Gawad Kalinga enters some of the most troubled areas that have become havens for gang members and syndicates. But as regular volunteers come and conduct community organizing and values formation, we see a sharp decline in crime, gang wars and petty thievery. In war-torn areas, GK communities are known to be zones of peace, and we have successfully transformed slums into peaceful and productive communities.

7. We learned that caring and sharing is universal, and people are willing to give the best for the least.

Housing standards for the poor have improved since GK introduced its brightly colored and sturdy homes. Institutions are beginning to look at the poor families in their employ and find ways to provide dignified living, and government services and policies are improving, influenced and inspired by the GK way.