Featured photo from Barangay Walang Iwanan’s Facebook page
The Barangay Walang Iwanan Summit is a four-day event meant to raise awareness for the need to include marginalized communities as we move forward as a country.
Organized by Philippine NGO Gawad Kalinga, discussion platform Converges, and French NGO ACTED, the summit called for changemakers to transform communities towards ‘Zero Exclusion, Zero Carbon, and Zero Poverty,’ otherwise known as the 3Zero Philippines goal.
What started as an annual gathering for GK leaders became a yearly call to action for the establishment of social businesses. “To really push the concept (of social business) the Philippines… to have it become mainstream, and companies start to naturally go towards social inclusive business and also for us to make the right connections,” says Louis Faure, Gawad Kaliga’s Head of Training and Development. “It’s really about bringing social business in the country through the use of this word and spreading communication and also through very concrete partnerships and interactions resulting from this event.”
A social business, or social enterprise, is a for-profit business endeavor that specifically aims to include the local community in its operations and sometimes decision-making so that they may benefit from it as well. It is the model GK has been working with, and hopes to encourage.
At the first day of the summit, delegates were exposed to ideas revolving around topics such as inclusion, poverty and the environment, and peacebuilding in conflict areas.
The second day saw delegates embarking on field trips to different provinces in Luzon to see for themselves how social businesses and the principles behind them can contribute to a thriving community.
The third day was held in the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan, and involved more breakout sessions that focused on generating support and participation in programs aligned with 3Zero Philippines.
The fourth day was reserved for reflection and networking, with the hope that more people engage in businesses and business practices that benefit not just themselves, but the communities around them.
“If we don’t start to take care of the consumer, the supplier, the farmers who produce and also the employees, we leave the population behind. We leave so many poor behind. This can be concrete solution or way of doing business that can bring people out of poverty,” Faure says.