Gawad Kalinga

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Gawad Kalinga
Gk logo bg.jpg
Formation July 28, 2003 (date incorporated)
Type Nation Building Movement
Headquarters Ground Floor, Cheng Building, 212 Haig Strteet, Brgy. Daang-Bakal, Mandaluyong City, Philippines 1552
Executive Director
Jose Luis Oquinena
Key people
Antonio Meloto (GK Founder)
Mission Ending poverty for 5 million poor families by 2024

Gawad Kalinga (GK) ("to give care" in Tagalog), is a Philippine poverty alleviation and nation-building movement known officially as the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation.

Its mission is to end poverty for 5 million families by 2024.[1]


The foundation for Gawad Kalinga was laid on December 26, 1995, when lay Catholic community Couples for Christ held a Youth Camp for gang members and juvenile delinquents in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, then the largest slum area in the Philippines. The program was organized by CFC – Youth for Christ.

In 1999, the first GK house was built for the Adduru family, also from Bagong Silang.[2] The name "Gawad Kalinga", which translates in the Filipino language either as "to give care" or "to award care," was coined in 2000.

The first GK Expo was launched on October 4, 2003, in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. During this gathering, GK launched a campaign called the GK777 campaign to build 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities for 7 years.

Isang Milyong Bayani[edit]

On February 25, 2006, GK launched the Isang Milyong Bayani ("One Million Heroes", also known as GK1MB) program, where volunteers from various nations would donate 4 hours of work per month to assist in GK communities. The program includes an annual event called the GK1MB Bayani Challenge, a one-week national immersion/build activity, where volunteers within the program come together to build homes in a GK community for a week.[3] The Bayani Challenge has been held in Aurora Province and Quezon Province (2006); Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Marinduque, and Samar (2007);[4] Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur (2008);[5] and Sulu and Zamboanga City (2009).[6][7][8]

Separation from CFC[edit]

GK was a ministry of CFC, but as it grew into a national and now worldwide presence, the gap between the "CFC Mission" and the "GK way" widened.

On February 20, 2007, Antonio Meloto and Francisco Padilla resigned from their posts in GK. Padilla explained that their resignations were needed due to CFC's failures as a Catholic lay community. Two months later, on Easter Day, Padilla released his statement enumerating 18 points—such as involvement with Mormons, acceptance of donations from pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptives, gradual secularization and erosion of CFC's presence, and excessive acknowledgment of Meloto as "founder and father" of GK—to support his conclusion that GK was responsible for CFC's veering away from its mission of evangelization of families.[9]

However, what started as a conflict over GK led to division within CFC itself. The following months saw GK being criticized by Padilla and other CFC leaders (known as the "Easter Group" in homage of Padilla's article) for its failures, until some bishops from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines proposed that GK be separated from CFC. CFC stood by GK, and the Easter Group decided to convince some CFC leaders and members to separate from CFC, leading to the formation of the Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life.[9]

A resolution between CFC and GK was finally reached in 2009, when CFC Executive Director Joe Tale announced the major decision of the CFC International Council "to let go of the governance and corporate structure of GK" so the latter can focus on its expanding work within and outside the country as a non-religious organization.[10]

As a result of the departure of the CFC International Council from the GK Board, Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese instructed the clergy and lay people in his area to withdraw from GK activities, because through this development, GK has disconnected itself with the Catholic Church and is now open to tie up with organizations whose policies contradict Church teachings.[11][12] This call was similarly made by Father Gammy Tulabing, a priest writing for The Negros Chronicle.[13]

In response, Jose Tale appealed to Archbishop Cruz to reconsider the latter's instruction, particularly because CFC is still in solidarity with the now-autonomous GK and because there is still interdependence in membership between the two organizations despite the change in leadership.[14][15] Meanwhile, Meloto supported Tale's explanation; there is no CFC-GK split as "no one has the right to remove Gawad Kalinga from CFC whose members have made heroic sacrifices to create this noble work that has transformed lives and deepened faith."[16]

Development Model[edit]

Gawad Kalinga's plan, called GK 777, is split into three "phases," each 7 years in length towards a goal to ultimately "un-squat” the poorest of the poor, heal their woundedness, regain their trust, build their confidence, make them think and act as a community and to share the joy of a country rising from poverty.

The first phase's stated goal was to achieve Social Justice by raising 700,000 homes and start–up 7,000 communities by the end of 2010.

The current phase extends from 2011 to 2018, and focuses on what the organization calls Social Artistry: strengthening governance; developing community-based programs for health, education, environment, and productivity; building a village culture that honors Filipino values and heritage. The goal is to empower the powerless for self-governance, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency. One of these Social Artistry sites is called The GK Enchanted Farm, a community meant to encourage the growth of social entrepreneurship.[17]

The final phase spans from 2018 to 2024, and is envisioned as a time of Social Progress. This phase seeks to achieve scale and sustainability by developing the grassroots economy and expanding the reach and influence of GK to 5 million families with support from key sectors of society in the Philippines and partners abroad. GK seeks to relieve poverty by providing an environment in which Filipinos may work and be productive.

With a development road map in the Philippines, GK seeks to create successful development templates that can be replicated in other developing countries, helping to create a world free from poverty.[18][19][20]

Development Programs[edit]

Child and Youth Development: The GK CYD program aims to develop the skills and talents of the children and youth in the GK communities by inculcating values that bring out their full potential. SIBOL, which means “to grow,” provides value-based education to pre-school children, aged 3 to 6 years old. SAGIP, which means “to save a life”, is a support program for children aged 7 to 13 years old, which consists of free academic tutorials, sports and creative workshops and values formation classes. SIGA, which means “to light”, empowers teens to become productive citizens through sports, creative activities and mentoring sessions.

Community Building: The GK Community Building program seeks to empower poor communities to become self-reliant and sustainable by building up its people, preparing their leaders and residents to eventually care for their own communities while instilling in them the heart and capacity to help other poor communities.

Environment: The GK Environment program aims to create "green" model communities. The program operates under a tagline of "Save the poor, save the environment,[21]" and partners with environment advocacy groups and government agencies to provide seminars and environment-friendly programs for community members.

Bayan-Anihan: The GK Food Sufficiency program (or Bayan-Anihan, lit. "community harvest") is a program which aims to provide sustainable farming for its beneficiaries. In this program, families are provided a 10 sq. meter garden, and basic agricultural education by Agricultural State Universities.[22]

GK Kalusugan: Kalusugan ("Health" in Tagalog) is a community health program with the goal of improving health among impoverished people by educating them about first aid and nutrition, as well as connecting hospitals and medical professionals to needy communities.

Community Infrastructure: The GK Community Infrastructure Program (CIP) aims to build brightly painted homes in sustainable communities for the poorest of the poor. Homes and other communal facilities (multiple purpose centers, school buildings, clinics, etc.) are built through a combination of skilled paid labor and sweat equity of the GK residents themselves.

Center for Social Innovation: CSI (Center for Social Innovation) is a business ecosystem developer that aims to build a culture of social entrepreneurship. Business ecosystems are spaces that are forgiving enough for social entrepreneurs to make mistakes while testing prototypes and new business models; AND spaces that are also demanding enough for them to build global Filipino brands that have real social and environmental impact. [23]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award[edit]

On August 31, 2006, Gawad Kalinga and Antonio Meloto, GK Chairman, both received the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. Francisco Padilla, former CFC Executive Director and GK Chairman, received the award for GK. Their citation reads as follows:

Paraiso: Tatlong Kwento ng Pag-asa[edit]

In 2006, GK began collaborating with some Filipino actors to produce a film about the program. The production, which translates to English as "Paradise: Three Stories of Hope", is a compilation of three films, each with a different cast. "Paraiso" is produced by Butch Jimenez, Tony Gloria, Tony Tuviera, and executive produced by Bobby Barreiro.

Umiyak Man Ang Langit (Even If Heaven Cries, directed by Jun Lana) is based on the life experiences of Jocelyn Llorente (played by Maricel Soriano). Llorente, along with her husband and six children, were victims of the mudslides in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte on February 2006, and one of her children died in that tragedy. Her grief was tremendous, but in time it was replaced by joy, as GK came to her area, which helped her rebuild her life as well as her family's happiness.[25][26]

Ang Kapatid Kong Si Elvis (My Brother Elvis, directed by Joel Ruiz) is a happy story inspired from true-to-life events in Southern Leyte. The story centers on a boy named Michael who suffers from rectal prolapse and compulsively eats stones. On April 7, 2002, Dr. Jerome Paler, a GK worker in the CFC Medical Mission Foundation, visited the area where Michael lived. Upon learning of the boy's condition, Paler brought Michael to the hospital for treatment. Eventually, he convinced his family to adopt Michael as their own, and their love for him helped in taking care of Michael. In this story, Michael V. and Carmi Martin played Paler and his wife Gina. Gian Bernabe played the role of Pepe, the couple's neglected teenage son, while Paulken Bustillo plays the role of Elvis, the adopted, pebble-eating son.[26]

Marie (directed by Ricky Davao) is a story based on how a tragic loss can be turned into a living legacy and a new beginning. Marie Rose Abad (played by Lexi Schultz) perished in the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Her disraught husband, Rudy Abad (played by Cesar Montano), remembered her vow of helping impoverished street children in the Philippines. Abad, a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University, met his former classmate Mike Goco, a GK volunteer, and Abad begins to realize that Marie Rose's dream can be fulfilled by dedicating an entire GK site for her. This site is now the Marie Rose GK Village in Baseco, Tondo, Manila.[26]

The movie premiered on June 12, 2007, at the SM Mall of Asia, and was made available for local showing on July 4 of the same year.


In April 2007, Martin Perez, a teacher from the Philippine Science High School, wrote in his blog that GK has failed in its purpose of uplifting people's lives when it disregarded the Aeta way of life in Sitio Target, Mabalacat, Pampanga. [27] According to him, GK did not consult the indigenous people in the area when it went in there, preferring to focus on the non-Aeta inhabitants, thus leading to the marginalization of the Aetas in the area.[28]

In May 2015, GK founder Antonio Meloto generated controversy for allegedly "sexist" remarks made at a conference at the University of Hawaii.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gawad Kalinga - Building Communities to End Poverty.". Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "A Timeline to Timelessness". Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Covarrubias, Sheila (April 18, 2009). "2009 Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge ends". SunStar Zamboanga. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  7. ^ Martel, Rene (May 15, 2009). "Smart joins house building with GK". The Manila Times. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  8. ^ Pareño, Roel (April 18, 2009). "Gawad Kalinga volunteers build houses in Zamboanga, Sulu". Retrieved May 26, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Padilla, Frank (April 8, 2007). "CFC and GK – 3: At the Crossroads on our Journey of Hope and Joy" (PDF). 
  10. ^ "CFC lets go of GK control". May 5, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  11. ^ Bayos, Kris (May 17, 2009). "Dagupan prelate advises flock to disengage from GK". CBCP Monitor. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  12. ^ Bordadora, Norman (May 18, 2009). "Bishop instructs flock to shun GK projects". Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  13. ^ Tulabing, Gammy (May 31, 2009). "Move on, let go". The Negros Chronicle. Retrieved June 15, 2009. 
  14. ^ Bayos, Kris (May 21, 2009). "Don’t let the poor suffer with the GK-CFC separation, prelate urged". CBCP Monitor. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  15. ^ Tandoc, Edson (May 23, 2009). "GK, ‘Couples:’ Divorced, but still friends". Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  16. ^ Bordadora, Norman (May 19, 2009). "No Gawad Kalinga-Couples split, says Meloto". Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Welcome to Gawad Kalinga". Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "Error". Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  19. ^ Esteves, Patricia (June 15, 2009). "Noli still coy about 2010 bid". Philippine Headline News Online. Retrieved June 15, 2009. 
  20. ^ Visaya, Momar (June 16, 2009). "GK Global Summit in Boston: RP out of 3rd world status by 2024". Asian Journal. p. A1. Retrieved June 18, 2009. 
  21. ^ "GK1World Environment". 
  22. ^ "GK1World Food Sufficiency". 
  23. ^ "Gawad Kalinga - Building Communities to End Poverty.". Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  24. ^ Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. "Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation". Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  25. ^ Lejarde, Mercy (July 3, 2007). "Maricel Soriano urges public to watch "Paraiso" in support of Gawad Kalinga". Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  26. ^ a b c "Free screening of Filipino films at the RP Consulate General in New York". July 2, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  27. ^ Perez, Martin (April 10, 2007). "The Myth of Gawad Kalinga: A Profile of the Sitio Target Disaster". AKOMISMO. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  28. ^ Perez, Martin (December 14, 2007). "Sitio Target and Gawad Kalinga: The Social Context". AKOMISMO. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  29. ^ Cbn, Abs (May 26, 2015). "Tony Meloto speaks up about 'sexist' speech". AKOMISMO. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 

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