By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
A multi-sector movement called on private entities and poverty alleviation advocates to support its programs to create a sustainable and long-term plan to help extremely poor families become self-sufficient.
Since its beginnings in 2015, Zero Extreme Poverty Philippines 2030 (ZEP) has now reached 10,000 extremely poor families nationwide, including informal settlers, farmers, fisherfolk, and indigenous peoples who are considered some of the most marginalized sectors in the Philippines.
With education as a priority, the ZEP is a coalition of non-government entities that aims to reduce extreme poverty in the Philippines by 2030. It has interventions and programs in 109 cities and municipalities from 33 provinces in 15 regions across the country.
The ZEP pushes for multi-sector collaboration from various public and private organizations. Collective impact from the convergence of initiatives from ZEP’s seven clusters helps achieve self-sufficiency and inclusive prosperity in the communities that they assist.
The seven clusters are: health, education, livelihood, environment, housing and shelter, agriculture and fisheries, and partnerships for indigenous peoples.
Recently, ZEP coalition members from different non-government and civil society organizations, corporate foundations, and advocacy groups, along with partner communities, came together at their 3rd General Assembly led by ZEP co-chairpersons Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) President and former Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro and Assisi Development Foundation (ADF) chairperson Ambassador Howard Dee.
“All the interventions we bring to the communities that we partner with are based from their articulated needs and what they hope to achieve for their families,” said ZEP secretariat head Benjamin Abadiano. “The issue of 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,” he added.
Given this, the ZEP is calling for poverty alleviation advocates to join the different thematic clusters and enroll their programs to be part of the movement, or to bring ZEP to more cities and municipalities as local conveners. Individuals can also help by linking ZEP to potential partners or through pledges and donations.
“Whether big or small, everyone can help. We can successfully achieve zero poverty through the spirit of collaboration and collective impact,” Abadiano said. “At ZEP, we believe that as Filipinos we can build on our diversity to be more inclusive and ensure that no family is left behind,” he ended.