Decent homes for homeless families – this was the inspiration behind the partnership forged between Shell Philippines and Gawad Kalinga (GK).
Shell in the Philippines promotes nation-building in the country by empowering individuals and communities through its various sustainable development programmes.
Steered by this thrust, Shell, through its social development arm, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), joined forces with GK to lay the foundation for a project dubbed as ‘Shell-Gawad Kalinga Kalikasan Village’. The ground breaking ceremony was held after the signing of the memorandum of agreement last April 20, 2016. The project envisions a sustainable community which will rise on a 2.3 hectare land in the municipality of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.
This village is the fourth housing project in Nueva Ecija, coinciding with this year’s Bayani Challenge themed, ‘Barangay Walang Iwanan’, which is a three-year effort of GK to revitalise the spirit of communal unity among the public. The principal objective of this project is to build self-reliant and sustainable communities in the countryside.
Embarking on this new undertaking strengthens Shell and Gawad Kalinga’s already flourishing partnership spanning years. “This is important for us since, not many know this, but during the time when we were just starting and few believed in our organisation, Shell and Cabiao already believed in us,” shared Issa-Cuevas Santos who is from the GK Community Development Foundation, Inc.
Cuevas recalled Gawad Kalinga’s early years, back when only a few recognised the small organisation and when their movement had barely gained traction. It was during this time that Shell explored the opportunity to forge a partnership with GK to enhance its social performance.
“And many years after, for over a decade, we’re still strong partners. Fifteen years after, we’re still here and that’s because of the commitment of our two reliable partners. We know that this partnership is not only for today, but for many years to come. Thank you to Pilipinas Shell for its unrelenting support to GK,” she added.
Shell, GK, and the municipality of Cabiao believe that nation-building can’t be achieved singlehandedly. This project advocates the belief that eliminating poverty requires a multi-sectoral, collaborative action. The replication of this kind of initiative can help rally more individuals to heed the call for a unified approach in helping the underprivileged.
Edgar Veron Cruz, Executive Director of PSFI, expressed that while this assistance may be small in scale, he is positive that the project has a big impact to the lives of individuals who will be given new homes and create a ripple effect by encouraging institutions to support GK’s cause.
“We are glad to work together with Gawad Kalinga in this Kalikasan Village project for the Cabiao community. I know that our help is small but I hope that this will help many as well as encourage other organisations to join in our advocacy to help people in need,” said Cruz.
He also shared PSFI’s interest to explore additional activities such as skills and livelihood training for the community once Kalikasan Village is ready for occupancy.
The Municipal Mayor of Cabiao, Baby Congco, also expressed her gratitude to Shell for being a part of this milestone for their municipality. “Today, we are on our fourth year of our Bayani Challenge and it’s very historical to remember that it is also the 4th Gawad Kalinga Village here in our community. In behalf of our municipality, we want to thank Shell for embracing us and we believe that with our love for our country, we will continue to work together,” she remarked.
Shell’s partnership with GK has resulted in four Shell-GK villages in Batangas, Southern Leyte and Cagayan de Oro, 15 classrooms in Iligan, a Shell Centre in Angat, Bulacan, and 23 Shell GK Bayan-Anihan farms in the Bicol Region, a food sustenance program that aims to eradicate one family at a time by empowering GK residents to produce food for themselves.
Always aiming for a good balance between business profitability and social performance, Shell produces smarter products and cleaner energy that support and promote sustainable mobility while helping the government in its various nation-building efforts by employing innovative methods in delivering various social development programs.
This partnership exemplifies that the private and social sectors can collaborate towards a mutual goal – to provide a home for homeless families, and to empower communities through capacity-building opportunities. ###