The following essay was written by Dr. Felix Librero, a development communication professor at UPLB. Dr. Librero had come across my own reflection about development communicationtion (posted in thos blog as DEVCOM HEART) through his former student, Ms. Jeanette Garcia, another devcom practitioner. To my amazement, my central question “WHY ARE WE HERE?” had struck a chord in both Jeanette and Dr. Librero, who felt the need to write their own reflections. Our introspections have stirred quite a string of reflections at the devcom graduate students’ Yahoo Groups. Here is Dr. Librero’s reflection:

 

A DEVELOPMENT COMMUNICATION JOURNEY

(What To Me Is Development Communication)

 

By

 

Felix Librero, PhD

Professor and UP Scientist I

U.P. Open University

 

 

Introduction

 

I’d like to share my own take on development communication, if I may, not in a manner usually prescribed by experts and academics but as I have experienced it.  I’m woefully aware that this is not the best way to explain development communication, and it’s entirely possible that my own experiences might actually be a wrong operationalization of development communication.   However, this is how I have practiced it in four decades of my professional life.   In this reflective sharing, you might even be able to see some ways of how not to do development communication based on experiences rather than on assumptions.  I have found this approach an easier way to arrive constructively at my own knowledge of development communication and how I went about practicing it as a profession and calling.  

 

To establish more clearly where I stand, let me begin by saying that development communication is a way of life to me.  It’s a profession, an attitude,  a mind set,  a philosophy.  It is a belief.  It is a calling.   How I arrived at these conditions is the message of this reflective sharing.

 

 

One Experience

 

Years ago I was a broadcaster of DZLB in Los Baños.  Sometime in the early 1970s, as I was preparing for one of my programs I saw an elderly man inspecting very closely the name plates on the doors near the radio station.  I approached him and casually asked how I could help him.  It turned out that he was just coming to the radio station “to consult anyone” as advised by a fellow farmer who had been DZLB listener. 

 

I invited the man to my office and we talked.  He was Sangguni Flores, a retired government employee who has spent practically all his retirement money in a vineyard in Calamba.  His grape vines were all infected with fungus and there was no way they would bear fruits given their condition.  I interviewed him live on my program, took note of his problems, then informed him that we would seek assistance from the UP College of Agriculture.  I also asked him to continue listening to my program because I would be announcing now and then whatever information would be helpful to him.

 

When Mang Sangguni left, I immediately wrote a letter to the Dean of the College of
Agriculture requesting to form a team that would help Mang Sangguni.  The request was approved immediately, so I formed a team comprised of a plant pathologist, entomologist, soils expert, a horticulturist, and myself acting as team leader (pro bono, of course).  The following week we visited Mang Sangguni’s vineyard, did some ocular inspection and diagnosed his vines.  Mang Sangguni did all he was asked to do.  After about three months, Mang Sangguni came back to the radio station to thank our team and to inform us that his grape vines were starting to bloom.

 

 

Where’s Development Communication Here?

 

Was I doing development communication work?  May be, may be not.  From my angle of view, I was, indeed, doing top rate development communication work.  As a development communication practitioner, researcher, and academic, I’ve always looked at development communication as five Es.   Hence, development communication is an excellent, effective, efficient, entrepreneurial engagement.  What do I mean by these?

 

 

Excellence.  To me, excellence means that when we do development communication (which, to me, is really the endgame of helping others solve a problem) we must do it the best way possible.  We may not be able to do things perfectly all the time but it’s enough that we try to do things the best possible way given whatever resource may be available.  There’s a big difference between doing things the best possible way and doing things perfectly. 

 

Sometimes when we insist doing things perfectly, we end up unable to do anything at all.  I recall a friend of mine in academe who has always wanted things to be perfect.  For instance, in the matter of publishing technical articles this friend of mine would never feel comfortable publishing an article if he did not think it was already perfect.  Well, I am sorry to say that in reality one doesn’t publish a perfect article.  But if, in fact, you’re waiting for that article to publish, my friend, I’m sorry to say it’s not coming by any long stretch of the imagination.

 

Let me clarify that the purpose of publishing a technical paper based on one’s work, especially if it deals with a new idea, is to invite other experts to comment and improve upon it.  I’ve always believed that one publishes new things such as a new method of doing research to invite other researchers to test and comment on such new methodology in order that it be improved.  This has always been the fundamental function of publishing a technical article.  This is called “work in progress.” 

 

Unfortunately many Filipino researchers don’t like to publish possibly because they’re concerned about possible criticisms.  Of course, you’ll always get criticisms because it’s always easier to criticize.  But when you criticize the work of others you must be prepared to offer a better way of doing things.  If you’re unable to do so, simply keep silent.  If you don’t want to critique others’ work even if you do have a better idea, then just proceed and write it up and get it published so that more would benefit from it.  It might even lead to the resolution of a scientific anomaly.

 

My point about excellence is that we need not be perfect in all that we have to do.  Let’s just do our tasks the best way possible. 

 

If you’re tasked to edit a publication, how much effort do you put into the task?  Do you go out of your way to clarify the point of view being advanced by the author or do you simply correct the grammar?  Have you done your best to make the publication worth reading not only because of the new information but also because of great writing?  Have you helped in making the publication offer new information or knowledge in more creative ways?  There are a whole lot of questions you need to answer, and there are a whole lot of other ways of doing an excellent job.  Have you done these?  Are you satisfied with your output?  Are you willing to attach your name to what you have done?  If you are, good.  If you are not, then you’ve not done your best.

 

Your work may not be perfect, but when other people compliment you for a job well done it means they’ve taken notice that you’ve done your best.  That is excellence enough for me.

 

Effectiveness.  Effectiveness is a measure of whether or not you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve.  When you practice development communication, what do you want to achieve?  What are your objectives?  Whatever it is you set out to do, make sure you achieve it exactly as intended. 

 

“Puede na ito” isn’t good enough.  It must be “eto talaga!”  In practice, whenever you undertake to do something, let’s say write an article, take a picture, moderate a forum, write a script for a radio program, plan a communication campaign, or edit a publication, always start with a set of objectives.  What do you want to achieve by doing what you intend to do?  When you’ve set your objectives you’d be able to determine how to do it right and easily achieve your objectives.

 

This is effectiveness.  This is being able to do exactly as you planned and being able to get the results you expected.  This is good development communication practice.

 

Efficiency.  Being able to achieve your objective the quickest and the least costly way possible is efficiency.  Yes, many times we’re able to achieve our objectives but at what cost?  There are those who even complain that they’re unable to do what they’re expected to do because there’s not enough resources at their disposal.  Sometimes this is true, but many times this is only a cop out for one’s inability to deliver.

 

The trick, however, is that when you design and implement a communication action you must, from the beginning, insure that you would achieve your objectives with the least amount of resources at the quickest time possible.  If you’re unable to do this, then you don’t have an appreciation of your abilities, creativity, and skills as development communicator.  

 

Development communication is being able to do something effectively and creatively with the least amount of effort and resources.  It’s just like writing.  If you can be clearly understood in one word, don’t use a phrase; if with a phrase, don’t use a sentence; if just a sentence, don’t use a paragraph, and so forth.  Unfortunately, many somehow manage to use so many words to say so little (probably like I’m doing now). 

 

Efficiency is a process that has no limit in terms of application, whether we deal with physical or mental activities.  Let’s use our resources as efficiently as we possibly can.

 

Entrepreneurship.  The concept of entrepreneurship brings to mind a certain orientation that is important to communication, which is systems orientation, creativity, and risk taking. 

 

We’re concerned with systems orientation because all communication activities are bound by interacting phenomena, particularly in the natural setting.  Information sources, the nature of information or messages, the sources of messages, the means by which these messages flow, and the manner in which these messages are  influenced by their flow and even interpreted are all influenced by how systems operate.  In other words, in the field of communication, all the elements and situations influence one another. 

 

Creativity is perhaps at the core of any communication activity.  How you communicate is influenced by how creative you can be in conceptualizing, designing, and implementing a communication action.  How do you use interactive mechanisms?  How do you use your voice?  How do you employ gadgetry?  How do you create situations that would likely influence decision making among people?  How do you treat your message so that it be received positively?  What media are you going to employ?  Under what conditions would you employ what method and what medium?  There are a hundred basic questions you might deal with when you look into a creative communication environment.  In many communication situations, sometimes you need to create an imagined environment or condition in order that you get your message across most effectively. 

 

Engagement.  This refers to participation and commitment.  Development communication has always highlighted the significance of active participation among stakeholders of the communication situation.  Active participation, it has been observed, is a process whereby participants demonstrate in behavioral terms their commitment to what they have set out to do.

 

For the most part, it’s not enough to simply be able to provide information.  Frequently, it is more important to follow through.  And following through can spell the difference between a successful and unsuccessful development communication work.  As the Englishmen would say, walk the talk.

 

 

Looking Back

 

Let me point out that in the case of Mang Sangguni Flores, we can clearly see the five Es working very well. 

 

We demonstrated excellence at various levels and areas: excellence in social interaction, team work, application of scientific knowledge to the solution of a problem, interpretation of problems, appropriate solution applied to the problem, and excellence in how the experts from the College of Agriculture performed their respective responsibilities without expecting rewards or complaining about lack of resources.

 

The recommendations that the team gave Mang Sangguni were effective in the control of the fungus that was the problem with his grape vines.  And our communication effort, over all, was effective in convincing Mang Sangguni that it was a good idea to work with the agriculture experts of the College of Agriculture and to continue listening to our radio program. 

 

The manner in which we handled the problem of Mang Sangguni was efficient in that the College of Agriculture didn’t have to spend too much resources in performing its extension function.  What the team spent, I believe, was their per diems for three days.  They even gained new information from the experience.  And Mang Sangguni, didn’t have to spend huge quantities of resources to solve his problem.  In fact, as I recall, perhaps he did not spend more than P1000, and yet we learned later that he earned something like P5,000 net from his first grape harvests.

 

The entire experience may well be entrepreneurial because in the first place it was the first time that a special team was formed to respond to a problem brought to the attention of the Radio Station.  This has never been done before and it was risky because the team could have failed and that would have sent the wrong signals to farmers in the area.  Besides, we went beyond mere dissemination of information to actually personally getting involved in the application of what we recommended to the farmer.  It was an open demonstration of what we claimed was the better way of doing things.  We could have failed.  But we took the risk and succeeded in what we set out to do.

 

Engagement?  Yes, it was serious engagement, an immersion, a real world experience.  We were part of the whole process and we made the process work.  We were part of the solution to the problem, and we solved the problem.  Net effect?  Mang Sangguni was very satisfied and thankful that he consulted us. 

 

Development communication is an excellent, effective, efficient, entrepreneurial engagement.  All the other traditional meanings attached to it, such as being good operator of gadgets, implementer of image building tasks, or simply PR work are minor peripherals that you do sometimes for fun rather than serious communication work.

 

 

Reflecting on the Experience

 

Whatever happens in the professional life of a practicing development communicator does not happen by chance.  It happens because there are always reasons and we all go through certain processes that are usually inherent in our own individual personalities.  I am able to reflect on what I have gone through, but this does not necessarily mean that my own reflections and lessons will be applicable in the case of other practitioners.

 

Let me begin this reflection with a short poem written by Jules Feiffer in the late 60s or early 70s.  This is found in the literature of social development in the 70s, and has been quoted in Devcom Quarterly, that short-lived publication of the then Department of Development Communication (UPLB) in the 1980s. 

 

 

 

 

 

            I used to think I was poor.

            Then they told me I wasn’t poor, I was needy.

            Then they told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy, I was deprived.

            Then they told me deprived has a bad image, I was underprivileged.

            Then they told me underprivileged was overused, I was disadvantaged.

            I still don’t have a dime.

            But I sure have a great vocabulary.

 

Why start my reflection with this poem?  In this particular poem, one looks at how a situation is labeled to suit a prevailing thinking rather than the absolute issue itself.  And because the concept of poverty is frequently an abstract concept for many, any point of view about being poor, which is what many development communication practitioners claim is the problem they’re here to solve, is always a good start. 

 

Many times over we have been asked and reminded: who among us have actually experienced being really poor and being really hungry such that it becomes very easy for us to talk almost flawlessly about poverty?  And, by the way, we’re not talking here of having no money one day and being a millionaire 29 days, or being hungry one afternoon having had no snacks.  We’re talking here of a continuing condition in life, a daily occurrence.  Good question!!!  Which reminds me,  have you looked at those loudest in their speeches on poverty?  They have MP3s, MP4s, and iPods around their necks; they use top-of-the-line cellphones; they’re always in Internet Cafes, and yes, many times they insist that the jeepney they’re riding MUST drop them off right at the doorsteps of their dorms instead of the roadside (where there is a jeepney stop sign) even if the walk entails only 10 meters.  Yes, they might be from the poor class who have survived and have been appropriately challenged so they have to act by articulating the issues. 

 

I happen to know how it is to be poor, really poor; how it feels to go hungry, really hungry.  I come from there.  Have you, by the way, experienced having only a semblance of a meal everyday for almost a year for three years in a row?  I come from a place where, in the late 50s to the early 60s, our lives were governed by famine due to dry spell (yes, El Niño was already hitting my province then) the first six months and typhoons the next six months of the year.  And there was no money because no one would pay anyone to do a job that did not have to be done.

 

I lived in a place where some had to be imprisoned simply because they had to take one little tuber from a kamote plant just so they could have something in their stomach to ease hunger pangs.  On a daily basis I had to make do with native almond fruits falling from some trees on the roadsides, cracked open for their nuts.  And everybody had to make do with whatever edible plants there were, leaves, stalks and all plus water, of course.  And for many of us, we were at school studying even as our stomachs were frequently empty.

 

And so whenever I hear people passionately discuss how it is to be poor or hungry, I always admire their eloquence as I know and understand and bear in my gut the real meaning of poverty and hunger, through experience and not from assumptions.

 

The problem with experience is that while it’s a very good teacher its teaching methods are frequently very harsh.  It gives the exams before the lessons.  And those who have gone through this process either come out challenged or hopeless.  I happen to have come out challenged.  May be some of those passionately explicating the issues of poverty and hunger have actually come out of this kind of experience and have been challenged, too.  I give them that much benefit of the doubt.

 

Why this thought?  Well, it has something to do with my experience as a development communication professional.

 

Many “devcom practitioners” today preach so eloquently the need for social change.  And for good reason.  I happen to agree absolutely that there is a need for society to change in order to achieve development goals.

 

But, hold back a bit.  There’s a caveat somewhere here.  A few days ago, Jeanette Garcia, former graduate student of devcom at UPLB, forwarded to me part of exchanges among graduate students and faculty of devcom at UPLB.  I was struck by an entry from Bing dela Cruz, where she raised some very pointed and highly relevant issues.  She pointed out that those of us at devcom must ask not only the whats and the hows of development communication but more importantly the whys.  Why are we here?  She asks.  This single question – WHY? – is, to me, the root of all my involvement in development communication.

 

When I started out in agricultural communication, the forerunner for development communication, I did not know any communication skills, technique, or technology, much less strategy.  In fact, I did not even feel like I needed to learn the skills of writing, broadcasting, or photography.  I did not fully understand why I was in agricultural communication except for the fact that I could not afford to be at the Philippine College of Criminology in Manila where I had wanted to take up criminology since I had this grand idea of becoming the best “secret agent” as implanted in the minds of my high school classmates through what we then called the traditional high school class prophesy released in the school paper before graduation day.  I had to ask myself, WHY AM I HERE, ANYWAY?

 

Belatedly (I had already started doing my BS thesis), I had the urge to answer the question “Why am I here?” because I needed to figure out where I was going after graduation.  All other things being equal, I believe this was the beginning of my personal transformation.  In retrospect, I can say now that at that time I may have begun establishing some kind of a mind set focused on understanding why I should be doing communication work.  The whole thing occurred to me in just a flick of a finger.  I thought that if I had to make a difference, I had to change my thinking, my attitude, my knowledge, my behavior, and my over-all purpose in life.  I didn’t think I would make a difference if I myself didn’t transform internally.   Then, Eureka!  Yes, that was it.  I realized from my own transformation that my primordial goal was then to help the individual change internally.   The focus, I thought, was: work to help the individual change his outlook in life, to help him/her develop a mind set that would help him/her determine for himself/herself why he/she is in the field of communication.  In other words, from my own transformation, I began to have a clearer understanding of why I was in communication – that is to help others change internally so that they may be able to respond to social conditions as they proceed with their lives.  Groups of people who have changed internally who come together would form a formidable force to initiate social changes, I had thought at that time.

 

When I thought I found the answer to the question “Why am I here?” I began to feel like I knew exactly what skills I needed in order to be able to do what I was going to do.  In other words, the skills became easier to determine and learn when I began to understand why I needed them.  Of course, one can learn the skills first and then later figure out where one could use such skills to change the lives of others.  I have found the route I took rather refreshing and challenging.  I’m not at all that good in learning skills, techniques, and technologies simply because they’re there to be learned.

 

Understanding “why am I here?” was difficult for me, but I happen to think that this was a more lasting way of achieving my own transformation.  I know I do not have the right to tell others what to do in order to achieve social change.  I only have the right to change me.  I think that all of us must change internally.  Until such time that we have done so, seeking social change may be a long, long shot in the dark.  Of course, that’s my point of view.

 

So, you’re a development communication professional?  Congratulations.  I take my hats off for you.  It’s nice to be in your company.

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DEVCOM HEART

  

Development communication. For quite sometime, to be honest, I have found current devcom scenarios somewhat lacking. Yes, devcom people are into PR, extension work, IEC, program implementation, and communication campaigns. While these are all part of the devcom job, I feel that some devcom practitioners have become too focused on answering the WHATs and HOWs of devcom that they have forgotten to ask the WHYs. Why are we here in the first place? It’s not just to link the scientific community with the grassroots. It’s not just to facilitate development programs. It’s not just to provide communication support for programs and stakeholders with all the communication materials and technology we can produce. It’s not even just to teach poor people better ways of doing things to improve their socioeconomic standing. So why are we here?

  

We are here because we are uplifting the poor, obviously through communication, but more importantly through our very presence in their lives. More than any advocacy effort, campaign, or communication strategy, what is more powerful is the physical presence of devcom practitioners among poor people who have lost all hope of ever escaping the vicious cycle of poverty. Let’s remember that poverty is not just the lack of money and access to basic goods and services. These are not what drive poor people in the slums to a life of mendicancy, mediocrity, crime, or immorality (in extreme cases). Instead, poverty is the abject loss of hope and dignity among the poor, who are born into a culture of despair and helplessness. As devcom people, it is important for us to realize where these poor people are coming from. We may be guilty of even blaming them for their misfortune. When we look at the big picture, the poor are not poor because they don’t practice family planning. They are poor because of 400 years of landlessness that we inherited from the Spanish colonial rule. It’s 400 years of resources being monopolized by the greedy. It’s 400 years of saying to the poor that “You are not my brother, and therefore, I can’t be held responsible for what happens to you.”

  

Again, let us try to understand where the poor are coming from. How many of us have really, really lived among the poor long enough for us to feel what they feel, to look at the world through their eyes, to walk a mile in their shoes?

For us to empower the poor to work for their own progress, we have to understand how they think and why they have this kind of thinking. Environment plays a great role. In an environment that is hostile to the poor, poor people learn to put up their defenses. It’s their way of coping. Each man for his own. Trust no one. Rich people don’t want anything to do with us. It’s ok to put values aside if it means surviving for another day. Friends, the kind of behavior change that we’d want poor people to does not happen easily once they become our development program stakeholders. After all, behavior change is just the tip of the iceberg. What they need is character change, which would only come if they are reintroduced to a new culture with the right values.

  

It’s one thing to give a poor man a fish, and another to teach him how to fish. But if he goes on to teach other poor people how to fish, that is when we know we’ve won. That would show us that his character has changed.

  

You ask, how can we measure character change, an intrinsic parameter? Look at how the emancipated poor function as members of the society. Let’s look beyond behavior change and short term effects. Let’s not be afraid to ask the tough questions. How did devcom interventions improve equitability? self esteem? socioeconomic growth?  This is exactly why communication for social change was born.

Of course, I have to mention Gawad Kalinga. As a devcom practitioner working as a GK advocate, I’d be the first to say that all forms of communication and communication strategies were instrumental in GK’s success. Without devcom, GK won’t be here at all. But it’s less of what we do and more of how we do things that brought us results. It’s not just our shelter, health, livelihood, education, community organizing, values formation, and environment programs. What made GK work was the passion of GK volunteers, especially Filipinos here and abroad who long to see their country rise from the ashes and went out of their way to do something about it. GK simply tapped into this longing. It comes down to a matter of perception. If we keep treating our devcom efforts as “projects” and “programs”, then we are not doing the best we can. Instead, as devcom people, working to eradicate (not alleviate) poverty should be a
MISSION.

  

Policies from above seldom change things. So do revolutions from the grassroots. To eradicate poverty, we must heal broken relationships between and among the poor and other strata in society. The poor are a broken people, broken by injustice and despair. Devcom people must help them heal by repairing their own severed ties to the poor. This brings about renewed trust between the rich and the poor, and when the poor have rich people trusting in them, this transforms their self esteem so that eventually, they can trust and believe in themselves again. They become better people, and better people are happier, more productive people. Now isn’t that what we wanted?

I don’t know. Call me radical, call me old-fashioned, or call me just plain mushy. But let’s not forget that devcom is not just brains, mouths, muscles, and hands. More than any of these, devcom has a HEART.

Gawad Kalinga Los Baños Ville Launched

by Bing de la Cruz

Bayanihan line of volunteers passing along hollow blocks            

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA—Even the scorching sun could not parch the bayanihan spirit as 400 people gathered on Feb. 10, 2007 to start construction on the community’s new Gawad Kalinga site in Brgy. Tuntungin-Putho.  

During the launching, volunteers and beneficiaries started building eight houses. The biggest group was the UP Gawad Kalinga-Los Baños (UPGK-LB), a recognized UPLB organization made up of student organizations, fraternities, and sororities eager to serve their fellowmen through GK. Among its members present were the UPLB Chemical Society and Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity. They worked alongside GK beneficiaries and Couples for Christ Family Ministries (Youth For Christ, Singles For Christ, and Handmaids of the Lord) and other individuals who formed a long bayanihan line passing along hollow blocks, cement, and gravel from the village entrance to the houses being built. The Upsilonians mixed cement and poured them into the house foundations. Meanwhile, the youngest volunteers, the Kids For Christ, proved that age did not matter as they dug up the ground where some foundations will be laid.

A short drive from the UP Los Baños campus, GK Los Baños Ville will be home to 240 poor families from the town’s danger zones: landslide prone areas, railroads, riverbanks, Laguna lake periphery, and slum areas inside the UPLB campus. Through the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) and other loans, the 1.9-hectare land was bought from Celerina Cinco’s family. Through the sponsorship of Councilor Vic Quintana, resolutions supporting Gawad Kalinga were approved by the Sangguniang Bayan of Los Baños. At the groundbreaking rites, several dignitaries vowed to support the program: Cong. Justin “Timmy” Chipeco, Gov. Teresita “Ningning” Lazaro of Laguna, Los Baños Mayor Caesar Perez, LB Vice Mayor Copie Alipon, Brgy. Capt. Benny Alborida of Tuntungin-Putho, other barangay captains, UPLB Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco, UPLB Vice Chancellors Ruben Tanqueco and Virginia Cardenas, former UPLB Chancellor Ruben Villareal and his wife Cora, PUDHO officer Vivencio Malabanan, MUDHO officer Cesar Cabrera, GK Laguna Project Coordinator Bong Mangaban, and Couples For Christ Provincial Area Head Ding Aguinaldo.   Aside from political and governmental support, other groups and individuals assured Gawad Kalinga of their support. Pledges have come in for 127 houses—Bukas Loob sa Diyos Washington DC chapter (30 houses), the Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity (50 houses), Rotary Club (25 houses), Eva Labadan (20 houses), and Gov. Lazaro (2 houses and a multipurpose hall). Cong. Chipeco volunteered to sponsor a bridge to serve as a shortcut to the village, while Mayor Perez agreed to build the road system. The Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers offered their technical expertise.  

As for publicity, several groups and individuals have offered to spread the word about GK Los Baños Ville. UPGK-LB held Gawad Kalinga Exhibit at the February Fair last week week in UPLB. The LB Times, a newspaper run by journalism majors in UPLB, also covered the launching. During his homilies, Fr. Jose Thor Villacarlos openly invited his parishioners at the St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish to join GK after he witnessed at the launching how ordinary people working together could accomplish extraordinary tasks. 

Gawad Kalinga, a holistic, integrated, and sustainable community development program for the poor, has programs for shelter, health, child and youth development, productivity, community organizing, values formation, and environment. To assist the health program, UPLB Symbiosis pledged to build a medical clinic, donate medical equipment, and provide regular services by their pre-med members and alumni doctors. Dual Tech’s Neek Sta. Ana offered 100 scholarships for youth and out-of-school youth. The Rotary Club of Los Baños Makiling will hold livelihood trainings for beneficiaries and assist them in setting up a cooperative. 

Each beneficiary family will pay P500 each month for 25 years to pay the CMP loans for their lots. As for its new home, instead of paying, each family will render 250 hours of “sweat equity” by building their neighbors’ houses. Each 20 square meter house will have a living-dining area and two bedrooms. A kitchen and toilet will be built at the back. Each unit’s high ceilings will enable big families to add an optional loft.  With the steady influx of volunteers and partners each day, GK Los Baños Ville Project Director Reynaldo de la Cruz is optimistic that construction will be completed by December this year. But as early as now, it is easy to see that the village is a place where inspiration turns ordinary people into heroes.

For those interested in volunteering or becoming a GK partner, please contact Rey de la Cruz at 639196396836, or the author at 639064183250.         

 poster-bw-general.jpg

  Kids For Christ prove that size does not matter as they dig foundations           Kids For Christ prove that size does not matter as they dig house foundations.

GK kids Grizelle and Renz try their hands at nation building       GK LBV kids Renz and Grizelle eager to help build their new village.

Upsilonians mixing cement        Upsilonians mixing cement

   Another view of the bayanihan line of volunteers and beneficiaries          Bayanihan line of volunteers and beneficiaries building the nation

                             

  Beneficiaries pouring cement on house foundations      GK beneficiaries hauling cement for house foundations

 The author and GK Los Baños Ville kids singing the Gawad Kalinga song      The author and GK LBV kids singing Gawad Kalinga song  

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