Mr Antonio Meloto, 62, has a background in economics. He is a former SVP at Procter & Gamble, then a Founder and Entrepreneur, before becoming the Founding President of the NGO “Gawad Kalinga” (= to Give Care) in 2003. For the past 15 years, he has devoted himself to the fight against extreme poverty in his home-country, with the aim to restore dignity to the 25 million poorest Filipinos by 2024 (5 million households in slums). His approach is to build empowered, sustainable, self-sufficient “Communities”, accompanied by 7 development programs (including for education and health), and now, to significantly develop and scale-up social businesses.
Today, more than 2,000 “GK Villages” cover the country with a social impact estimated at one million beneficiaries. Tony has initiated the concept of the “Enchanted Farm” (to prevent rural migration to urban areas), and the first one out of 24 has just been inaugurated by the President & V.P. of the Republic. He is also designing 4 bills for the Senate with an almost unimous vote expected within the next 12 months, and he co-chairs the “National Council for Entrepreneurship”, a new initiative by the government of the Philippines with the priority of facilitating the emergence of 500,000 social entrepreneurs by 2016.
To achieve such ambitious objectives, Gawad Kalinga promotes the concepts of “caring & sharing” and involves a large number of people to support this “Grand Cause”, with no exceptions : young people, previous “gang leaders”, students, faculty, politicians of all sides, employees, business leaders (including from major MNCs such as Shell, Nestlé, Unilever, Philips, Pfizer, AkzoNobel, Globe, Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Hyundaï or AirFrance-KLM), and minorities of all kinds, including Muslims in the south on Mindanao, GK is now supported by an “army” of 25,000 regular volunteers and 1 million occasional volunteers.
In fact, we can summarize the “G K Way” has a three-step process: changing values in affected communities, extensive public-private partnerships, and massive volunteerism. GK’s real focus is not building homes. The construction process actually begins with a rebuilding of the values of the community & the change of mindset of “rich” people to care for the poors with building authentic relationships.
Antonio Meloto, also known as “Tito Tony,” originally inspired by a strong Christian faith “in action”, demonstrates how the achievement of a major Utopia (the massive struggle against extreme poverty) can evolve into a national peaceful movement, with no political or religious attachment … after gradually setting-up at the heart of the behavior of its “leader” the values of sustainable development, diversity, ethics and “empowerment”.
Tito Tony, is a remarkable example of “transformational leadership” ; in 2009 he wrote “Builder of Dreams”, and he is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the “Nikkei Asia Prize 2011 for Regional Growth” and “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2010 in the Philippines by Ernst & Young and the Schwab Foundation. As such, he will be a guest-speaker in January 2012 at the “World Economic Forum” in Davos.