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Gawad Kalinga (GK), officially the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Inc., is a Philippine-based anti-poverty (poverty reduction) and nation-building movement launched by Couples for Christ (CFC) to care for worse-off Filipinos and survivors of natural disasters. GK actively works in poverty-stricken areas by, first, befriending the poor and teaching them how to love God and Country, and second, encouraging them to literally rebuild their houses and their resources with the aim of becoming self-sufficient. GK is now a growing multisectoral partnership with the ambitious motto of "No more slums, no more violence, no more poverty", and it continually seeks local and international partners to promote the spirit of community between Filipino social classes, which is commonly seen in various GK building activities. GK is particularly known for its multicolored houses and buildings, basing it on the idea that bright colors uplift the dreary atmosphere to which the poor have become accustomed, and this uplifting fosters improvement in their lives.


Gawad Kalinga was founded in 1995, when CFC leaders working for A Living for Christ Foundation started a youth-oriented community development in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City. On December 26 of that year, CFC Youth For Christ held a Youth Camp for the out-of-school youth of Bagong Silang. These youth included juvenile gangs infamous for their violence. Fortunately, the sincerity of the YFC service team prevailed over them. In an effort to rehabilitate the youth, they were introduced to theater, sports, and livelihood training, with exceptional ones being awarded with scholarships.

For the next four to five years, CFC established itself in Bagong Silang, formulating the ANCOP (A Network for the Church of the Poor originally, later on changed to after GK became a self-sustaining NGO as ANswering the Cry Of the Poor) program to provide hope for the out-of-school youth in the area. ANCOP was aimed at transforming the community in the holistic approach of "land for the landless, homes for the homeless, and food for the hungry". ANCOP programs were created: TATAG for shelter construction; SIBOL, SAGIP, and SIGA for child and youth development; LUSOG for health; and SIKAP for livelihood. In 1999, the very first GK house was built for the Adduro family, also from Bagong Silang.

The name "Gawad Kalinga", which translates in Filipino either as "to give care" or "to award care", was coined for a CFC-ANCOP contest sometime in 2000. The contest was an attempt to discover whether the transformation in Bagong Silang could be replicated in other areas. As a result of this activity, the first 30 GK communities were established.

The GK Build, a communal activity involving CFC and other groups, was first initiated on February 2002. This first GK Build was conducted in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, where members of CFC Singles for Christ built 16 houses in just one weekend. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a guest of honor during this build. Impressed by the effort, she awarded 30 million pesos to GK to build 1,000 more houses. Challenged by the offer, GK finished the thousand houses and built another thousand as well.

On July 28, 2003, GK was formally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, Inc., with the purpose of "advancing and upholding an integrated, holistic and sustainable community development program, especially in the depressed areas, addressing shelter, livelihood, education and health issues in the spirit of nation building, to strengthen the development and improvement of human and spiritual formation of couples and their children and to foster cooperation with others in the pursuit and realization of the objectives for which (GK) has been established."

The first GK Expo was launched on October 4, 2003, in Fort Bonifacio, commonly known as "the Fort", in Taguig City. During this gathering, GK formally launched the GK777 campaign. Its vision is to build 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities for the next 7 years, with October 4, 2010 as the target date for delivery. The slogan "Bawat Pilipino, Bayani!" was first introduced in this event.

For the following years, more Filipinos learned about GK, and the program increasingly became popular. Local and multinational corporations also began to engage with GK as part of their corporate social responsibility towards the people. In the Philippines, this resulted into GK partnerships with competing companies, such as telecommunications companies Globe Telecom and Smart Communications and fast-food restaurant chains McDonald's (Philippines) and Jollibee. On October 2004, the second GK Expo was held once more at the Fort.

In this period, GK extended its activities to the Muslim communities in Mindanao by launching the Highway of Peace campaign, involving Muslim and Christians together in building homes in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and Lanao del Sur. There was also the Kawal Kalinga and Pulis Kalinga campaigns for the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Following the continuous typhoons that lashed the Philippines in 2004, which devastated the east coast of Luzon island, GK launched Kalinga Luzon in partnership with the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and local government units. Kalinga Luzon aimed at providing 40,000 homes for typhoon victims.

In February 17, 2006, a series of heavy rains hit the country, causing mudslides in Southern Leyte. In response to that tragedy, GK launched Kalinga Leyte, which is patterned after the Kalinga Luzon campaign.

In February 25, 2006, GK launched the Isang Milyong Bayani ("One Million Heroes", also known as GK1MB) campaign. It was designed as a challenge to the Filipino people for intensified volunteerism in the GK communities, which can be accomplished just by rendering 4 hours of community service each month. However, the launching of the GK1MB campaign was overshadowed by the reported February 2006 coup d'etat. Later that year, on October 2006, the GK Expo entitled "The PoWEr of WE" was held beside the SM Mall of Asia.

In October 26 to 28, 2007, the GK Expo was held again at the SM Mall of Asia, with the theme "GK1World".

As of April 2007, there are 21,759 GK houses in 1,253 GK communities worldwide, most of them in the Philippines.

The Essence of GKEdit

Gawad Kalinga establishes itself as an alternative solution to the blatant problem of poverty which pervades the Philippines and the world. GK’s vision is a slum-free, squatter-free Philippines by focusing on bringing back dignity and peace for every Filipino. It is this vision that drives GK to provide land for the landless, homes for the homeless, and food for the hungry. GK is ultimately driven by the mantra, "Less for self, more for others, enough for all."

GK hosts people-empowering activities moving towards building integrated, holistic and sustainable communities focusing first and foremost on depressed areas throughout the Philippines. GK considers cooperation as a must in this endeavor, firmly believing that not one organization has the capability to rebuild the country, not even the government.

The work of GK seeks to dismantle the pattern of despair and abandonment that poor Filipinos face, first by establishing relationships with them, then promoting an atmosphere of happiness and cheerfulness. This is why GK insists on brightly-painted homes, beautiful parks and playgrounds, colorful gardens and clean surroundings.

GK engages donors to be active partners in the work for the poor emphasizing the hands-on participation required to make the program a success. GK has established many partnerships with individuals, corporations, religious groups, charitable institutions, schools, and even foreign government agencies. The program provides partners the opportunity to help by donating funds to build GK villages and through sponsoring a child's education.

GK defines resources as beyond the monetary definition; for GK, resources refer to that which has value to life and community. That is why GK goes beyond fund management to relationship management and resource sharing. The work of GK inspires people of varied fields to contribute their talents: architects and engineers design houses, doctors and nurses attend to the people's health, teachers contribute their time and knowledge to the young, and business leaders tutor others towards self-sustenance.

GK is supported by partners internationally through ANCOP, the official international fundraising and sponsorship arm outside the Philippines. ANCOP has more than 50 locations worldwide. Having begun in the Philippines, GK villages have also been recently started in Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Cambodia and Indonesia through the work of CFC chapters in those areas.

GK's ObjectivesEdit

  1. Community Empowerment
    GK envisions empowered communities whose residents are not just receivers but are givers as well. The work is not about dole-out or charity, but stewardship. It is about uplifting the dignity of the poor by building their capacity to respond to opportunities and enabling them to reach their highest potential.
  2. Massive Mobilization of Volunteerism
    The Filipino is known for "bayanihan," the collective efforts of heroism in our local communities. Heroism is not confined to men and women of history who gave up their lives; it also honors ordinary men and women who choose to make sacrifices for the greater good. It not only pertains to a single outstanding individual who wants to help his/her community but the whole community working together to achieve success for all.
  3. Partnership in Nation Building
    The task of nation building is indeed massive, but the challenge is not insurmountable if all Filipinos learn to work together. Not one group or agency can do it alone. Government is not hopeless, but it is helpless without the support of civil society. Each Filipino must take part in realizing the dream of the Filipino nation rebuilt.

Aspects of a GK CommunityEdit

  1. Faith Community
    ...where there is mutual respect among community members for each other's religious beliefs. Each one is free to express one's faith. The community is bonded by their common love for God, and from this, love is expressed concretely in terms of respect and care for each other.
  2. Peace Zone
    ...where the community members, regardless of their religious or social beliefs, live in peace and harmony. Conflicts and misunderstandings among community members are settled based on the higher interest of peace, justice and solidarity. Peace is achieved when broken relationships are healed and rebuilt.
  3. Tourist Spot
    ...where the sense of beauty of the surroundings befitting human dwelling and habitation is a priority. Brightly colored houses and landscaped environment are an expression of hope and the transition from a survival mentality to living a full life of dignity.
  4. Productivity Center
    ...where the potential of the community, both human and natural resources, are developed and tapped to sustain the growth of the community in terms of self-sufficiency and eventually to be "givers" not just "receivers."
  5. Environmentally Healthy Community
    ...where the preservation of the environment is as urgent and as important as self-preservation. The community, through proper waste management, waste disposal and planting of trees and plants to preserve the natural habitat, concretely expresses their value for the environment.

The GK ProgramEdit

GK provides a Christian-based holistic approach to poverty alleviation dealing with all community aspects that include values formation, community organization and involvement, education, basic health care, and livelihood programs.

Beneficiaries of GK homes are selected only upon their agreement to the rules and regulations of the program. Beneficiaries agree to undergo a 13-week values formation course and provide sweat-equity by building their own homes and the homes of their neighbors and abide by the rules of the "Kapitbahayan" (Community Association) that they establish in their GK village. As a community association they are expected to maintain the cleanliness, peace and order, and upkeep of their GK village.

The current success of GK is also highly attributed to the stewardship component of the program. Every GK village has a Caretaker Team, mostly volunteers from the local CFC area. The Caretaker Team commits a minimum of 3 years of stewardship to the village. They assist in resolving conflicts, ensure construction proceeds properly and that the GK standards are maintained and met until the "Kapitbahayan" community association is self-sustaining. Many GK beneficiaries cite that without the constant care and support of their GK Caretaker team they would have not been able cope with the difficult transition in their change of values and attitudes.

GK Organizational StructureEdit

GK has a Board of Directors made up of ten members, including the entire CFC International Council. The CFC Executive Director serves as Chairman of the GK Board. Throughout the Philippines, there are GK Management Boards that direct the work of GK. Each GK Management Board has nine members, including five members of the local CFC Area Council. As such, the GK Management Board is under the authority of the CFC Area Council.


Ramon Magsaysay AwardEdit

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

"In electing the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation and its family of donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries to receive the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the board of trustees (of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation) recognizes their harnessing the faith and generosity of Filipinos the world over to confront poverty in their homeland and to provide every Filipino the dignity of a decent home and neighborhood; and in electing Antonio Meloto to receive the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the board of trustees recognizes his inspiring Filipinos to believe with pride that theirs can be a nation without slums."

The award was given in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila, which was attended by GK beneficiaries, partners, and supporters.

Gawad Haydee Yorac AwardEdit

On October 4, 2006, Meloto received the Gawad Haydee Yorac Award "for his outstanding visionary leadership and compelling philosophy inspiring a pioneering sustainable movement of volunteerism to eradicate poverty through Gawad Kalinga community development ministry, giving hope and dignity to marginalized Filipino families, building homes and model communities in the Filipino spirit of ‘bayanihan’, emulating the selfless public service espoused by the late Haydee Yorac." The Award was given by the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) and the University of the Philippines.

Proceeds from the AwardsEdit

Meloto said the P200,000 that goes along with his Yorac award will be given to GKare, GK's health-care project. He added that the P2.5 million reward he received from the Magsaysay Foundation was used to buy goats, chickens, carabaos for animal dispersal in GK's food sufficiency project Bayan-Anihan.

Paraiso: Tatlong Kwento ng Pag-asaEdit

Main Article: Paraiso (GK Movie).

Sometime in 2006, GK began collaborating with some Filipino actors to produce a film about the program. The film, which translates to English as "Paradise: Three Stories of Hope", is a compilation of three films, each with a different cast. Notably, many in the cast and crew waived their fees, deciding to offer it for GK. "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, as GK came to her area, which helped her rebuild her life as well as her family's happiness.

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. In 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.

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.

The movie was initially scheduled to be shown in the Philippines sometime between April and May 2007. This did not push through, since Montano accepted the invitation to run for the Philippine Senate in the May 14, 2007 elections. The movie has premiered on June 12, 2007, at the SM Mall of Asia, and is scheduled for local showing on July 4 of the same year.

External linksEdit

  • Gawad Kalinga official website
  • Please update this by talking about what eventually happened between GAWAD KALINGA and the COUPLES FOR CHRIST after 2007.
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