In Mandaluyong City, residents of # 81 Interior, Makaturing Street are working to transform the former quarry site into a shanty-less, self-sustaining community through a collaboration with the Ayala group of companies, Habitat for Humanity Philippines, the Makaturing Neighborhood Association, Inc. (MNAI), and the city government of Mandaluyong.
Launched on March 15 by Ayala Corporation executive managing director Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Habitat for Humanity International founder Millard Fuller, and Mandaluyong City Mayor Ben-Hur Abalos, the Integrated Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan (KALAHI) ng Ayala is a tri-sectoral response to the government’s appeal to help eradicate poverty.
Explained Ayala Foundation president Victoria P. Garchitorena: “The Integrated KALAHI ng Ayala attempts to address poverty by providing an array of empowering services for target communities and thus unleash their potential for development.”
Synergy for impact
Inspired by the KALAHI ng Ayala pilot in Block 37, Addition Hills, Mandaluyong, the Integrated KALAHI ng Ayala is designed around the concept of creating synergy for impact. Participants are asked to select from among their existing corporate social responsibility projects and channel these into a common area to better address the needs of the community.
For Makaturing, Ayala companies put together their individual expertise and resources to give a complete development package. Manila Water Company (MWC) installed two fire hydrants in strategic spots in the community so that residents will be better equipped to respond quickly to fires. Globe Telecom donated a computer laboratory with free Internet access for one year and Ayala Foundation will provide computer training. Ayala Land also began a dental mission that will continue in the next two to three years.
Meanwhile, the Bank of the Philippine Islands, MWC, and Ayala Foundation developed a micro-lending program that will provide small livelihood loans to unemployed women and youth of Makaturing. Ayala Foundation will also work with MNAI to improve its solid waste management program and further reduce residual garbage in the area.
Moreover, BPI, Honda Cars Makati, Inc., and Globe will embark on creative fund-raising schemes to raise awareness and support for other community projects such as the renovation of the multi-purpose center and scholarship for Makaturing children. The Ayala Business Club-Metro Manila East, an organization of officers from Ayala companies in the locality, will also design a special project for Makaturing’s overseas Filipino workers and their families.
In addition, Habitat for Humanity will lead house construction and renovation, making the Integrated KALAHI ng Ayala a more potent instrument for addressing Makaturing’s basic needs. Habitat’s Adopt-a-Community Program will also complement Ayala Foundation’s efforts in training members of the neighborhood association to maintain the well-being of the community. MNAI and Makaturing residents have agreed to become active allies by contributing volunteer labor and helping manage the project in the long term.
“The Philippines is the anchor of our work in Asia,” noted Fuller. “Habitat ofr Humanity was started here in 1988 and it will build about 1,500 houses this year. And the most exciting thing about the Philippines is the involvement of young people in this country. Here you have the next generation coming along to make sure that the work not only continue but also expand dramatically in the future.”
The results of the Integrated KALAHI ng Ayala remain to be seen but partners are confident that residents of Makaturing will find a new sense of dignity as well as a new meaning to community life. Garchitorena hopes that the Makaturing model will inspire other companies to initiate similar programs in their communities.
“We believe that KALAHI offers an innovative possibility for corporations in search for a meaningful way to harness available resources for poverty alleviation. Through synergy, we can achieve a common vision of progress for all Filipinos,” said Garchitorena.