Reflections from the World Economic Forum on East Asia
By Tony Meloto, Philippines Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2010
Tony Meloto is Executive Chairman of Gawad Kalinga (GK), which focuses on housing and community infrastructure for the poor in the Philippines. While building materials are provided through corporate donations, GK residents contribute ‘sweat equity’ by constructing their own homes. In addition, GK promotes local waste management, trains people in basic health and hygiene, and provides schools with supplies, mentors as well as educational sponsorships. GK’s vision of a slum and squatter-free Philippines is embodied by its campaign: ending poverty for 5 million of the poorest families by 2024.
The plenary in which I spoke went well. It is gratifying to see that the collective sacrifice of thousands of everyday heroes of Gawad Kalinga (GK) is catching the attention of world leaders. Some of the connections I made at the Forum include the following:
CNN, through their international correspondent Andrew Stevens who moderated my plenary, proposed to do a documentary on our ground up development template.
The head of ADB hopes to revisit GK now that we are doing social entrepreneurship.
Jeff Sachs wants to do a big forum with us in Manila.
The Vice President of Indonesia said he will support GK in his country.
I also attended a finance and investment private meeting with Secretary Purisima and with CEOs of the top banks and investment houses. I was the only social entrepreneur in the high level crowd but it made me proud to be there because I was with our competent and well respected Secretary of Finance. Secretary Cesar mentioned about the creation of the National Entrepreneurship Council through a Presidential Executive Order to raise half a million social entrepreneurs and acknowledged the importance of the private sector in making it happen. The investors were excited about the proposition to build a new generation of wealth creators in our country. In addition, they pointed out that the Philippines, like Indonesia, is now attractive to investors because of the new leadership but they suggested that we should cater to the domestic market rather than build an export driven economy. I couldn't agree more.
Another trend I noticed at the Forum is that big business will migrate CSR (corporate social responsibility) to CSI (corporate social investment). Investing in bringing people out of poverty through social entrepreneurship will expand the market base and make good business sense. It is amazing to see how our simple faith in action and affection for those at the base of the pyramid could capture the attention of global policy makers and wealth generators at the World Economic Forum.
If anything, the World Economic Forum is validating our development philosophy and strategy.
http://www.schwabfound.org 24.08.2010 The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship provides unparalleled platforms at the national, regional and global levels for leading social innovators that highlight social entrepreneurship as a key element to address social and ecological problems in an innovative, sustainable and effective way
Returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Tandag, Surigao del Sur, Republic of the Philippines 1979-1980;
Financial Management training Program [FMP], G.E., Appliance Park, Louisville, Kentucky 1981-1982
Champion [two days] Jeopardy 1986
Attorney, Los Angeles, CA 1989-1995
Disabiility Rights Attorney, www.NDALC.org, Las Vegas 1998-1999
Immigration Asylum Attorney, throughout the State of Kansas 1999-2001
Supply Logistics Specialist, UPS Las Vegas, 2006- present
http://www.gk1world.com [Gawad Kalinga, tagalog for "to give care"]