Gawad Kalinga and its Green Kalinga program is huge force for sustainability in the Philippines. http://www.iwawaterwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Articles/5BuilidingcommunitiesempoweringcommunitiesCaseofGawadKalingaVillages
Building communities… empowering communities: Case of Gawad Kalinga Villages
WHAT TRIGGERED THE PROJECT?
Gawad Kalinga is a non government organization that helps build communities. By building each village, the target beneficiaries are provided a sense of security by having a decent home and tenure for their lands. Each community should have access to education, health care, livelihood and other ancillary facilities. The villages that it has helped establish are mostly located in the provinces with a good mix of community settings ranging from urban slums to resettlement areas for disaster victims. Other sites especially in the National Capital Region are simply subjected to re-blocking in an attempt to make available necessary basic infrastructures needed for a community to progress (i.e. water supply and sanitation facilities); increase resiliency; as well as promote multi-faceted development. GK’s thrusts are deeply rooted on empowering the beneficiaries, enabling them to break away from the vicious cycle of poverty, through caring (i.e. kalinga) and bayanihan.
The sanitation systems that were installed in the various GK villages that were established in the country were not taken in isolation, but rather part and parcel of the master plan for the village.
Hence, putting up anaerobic baffled reactors (ABRs) in lieu of septic tanks was borne out of the policy directive issued by the Management Committee of Gawad Kalinga, which only took effect at the latter part of CY 2009. Such was in full consideration of the recommendations furnished to them by the organization’s Environmental Unit learning from their lessons while previously building septic tanks during GK’s initial 2-3 years of operation. Only in instances that funds were available, due to certain corporate or institutional donations (i.e. including local government support), would the installed sanitation infrastructure consider upgrades like having a biogas reactor or a constructed wetland, to further improve the water quality of the effluents that leave their communal sewage treatment plant (STP).
The rationale in GK’s health and sanitation initiatives for their villages is not confined to the access of properly functioning sanitation systems alone, but also to improve the community’s health as well as avoid aggravating their indigent water ecosystems, through its respective effluents. Evidently, the treatment efficacy of the ABR is better compared to the performance of septic tanks. This is however tempered by the cost implications of the sanitation technology being subscribed to. Thus, constructing a communal ABR for at least 30 families was found to be more cost effective vis-à-vis putting up a septic tank for each house, for the same 30 families. Nonetheless, in cases where villages are made up of less than 30 households, an exception to the policy would come into play. Constructing septic tanks for each family is permitted, provided that each unit has a sealed bottom to prevent seepage and contamination of (possible) groundwater and surface water resources.
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5. Builiding communities… empowering communities: Case of Gawad Kalinga Villages
The poor are the most dependent on natural resources to meet their daily needs. With limited know how and hardly any option, they also contribute substantially to environmental degradation – through slash and burn farming, cutting of wood including mangroves for charcoal-making, disposal of wastewater and solid waste direct to water bodies, and the like. Unfortunately, they are also the most adversely affected and the least capable in coping with the consequences of this environmental degradation. To help the poor in a sustainable manner and to provide for their needs for the long term, we must help them save the environment. To truly save the environment, we must engage and mobilize the poor to make them active partners in its protection and rehabilitation.
Green Kalinga is the environment program of Gawad Kalinga that seeks to ensure the continued access of clean air and water and productive lands and seas for all GK communities. Anchored in the vision and mission of GK, Green Kalinga seeks to not only address the social consequences brought about by massive poverty, but also to empower the poor to become active partners in the fight to address rapid environmental degradation and climate change which threatens their lives and livelihood.