Novel approach to poverty reduction

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Private groups and government institutions are working together to bring down poverty incidence in the Philippines. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A collective movement fueled by 17 civil society organizations is lifting the most marginalized sectors out of extreme poverty through area convergence and multi-sector collaboration.

ZEP 2030, a coalition of non-government entities, had reached out to 10,000 extremely poor families to achieve self-sufficiency since its inception in 2015. ZEP 2030’s stakeholders create long-term plans in partnership with various public and private organizations, pushing for development programs in seven clusters: health, education, livelihood, environment, housing and shelter, agriculture and fisheries and partnerships for indigenous peoples.

The group taps technical experts from local government units to help work in the local community through different clusters, maximizing the partners’ capabilities in addressing the immediate concern of the target area.

“The issue on poverty is multi-dimensional. This is the rationale behind the collaborative aspect of our work — bringing together the expertise and resources of different organizations to convey transformational change to these families and break the cycle of poverty,” ZEP head secretariat Benjamin Abadiano said during ZEP’s 3rd General Assembly on 28 November, led by ZEP co-chairpersons Philippine Business for Social Progress president Bro. Armin Luistro and Assisi Development Foundation chairman Amb. Howard Dee.

To ensure its success, the group is also calling for more organizations to join its multi-sector movement.

During a roundtable discussion, ZEP stakeholders encouraged non-government entities, corporate foundations and corporations and poverty alleviation advocates to join ZEP’s clusters by enrolling their program, pledging or donating or bringing ZEP to areas as local convenors.

Many of ZEP 2030’s programs are also supported by international organizations, Abadiano said.

“Two months ago, the New Zealand embassy approached us. We’re going to launch in January a program for a vocational school. At least for next year, they’re looking for 2,000 individuals to be supported.”

With a radical aim to reduce extreme poverty and uplift 1 million families by 2030, ZEP promotes inclusive growth and shared prosperity, working on a road map that starts with survival as the first phase from 2016 to 2024, then subsistence as the second phase from 2024 to 2027 up to self-sufficiency as the last phase from 2027 to 2030.

ZEP 2030 has interventions and programs in 109 cities and municipalities from 33 provinces encompassing 15 regions in the country. Their total target areas are 500 municipalities and cities; 70 provinces and 17 regions with the goal of uplifting one million families or more than five million individuals from extreme poverty.

“Whether big or small, everyone can help. We can successfully achieve zero poverty through the spirit of collaboration and collective impact,” said Abadiano.

“It cannot be more of the same players, (there) has to be a new approach. Cooperating can lead to each NGO only needing to help 20 families.”

Among ZEP’s convenors are the Philippine Business for Social Progress, Zuellig Family Foundation, Unilab, Association of Foundations, Caucos of Development NGO Networks, Peace and Equity Foundation, Foundation for the Philippine Environment, PhilDHRRA, League of Corporate Foundations, Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Makati Business Club, CBCP-NASSA, German Cooperation, UNDP and Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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