Where Social Entrepreneurship meets Community Based Resiliency — Enter: Buklod Tao, Inc.

Banaba, RIZAL – Two hours away from Metro Manila, a community based organization has successfully infused Social Entrepreneurship with Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction Management. Located at the north east boundary of Barangay Banaba in San Mateo, Rizal province is the community/evacuation center of Buklod Tao, Inc.

IMG_20150927_091129The organization was co-founded by Ka Noli Abinales, a resident of the Barangay who volunteered to organize the informal settler families living near the dangerous waterways after being called to the challenge by the Bishop of his Diocese in the 80’s. Attending an intensive six month Community Organization (CO) training, he and other newly minted volunteer Community Organizers were tasked to do three primary goals:

  1. Spread the Word of God – Liturgical Action
  2. Empower Communities to Sustainable Development – Social Action
  3. Freedom from Oppression – Liberal Action

After successfully implementing liturgical services to their “Bukluran” (Cell/Community), the group was able to transition to social action after organizing their lose association in protesting a construction company’s destructive use of land that posed an environmental hazard to the community. Regrouping from their success, the leaders of other “Buklurans” decided to formally incorporate into a non-stock, non-profit organization ensuring sustainability of the institution.

Officially founded on 1904, Buklod Tao, Inc. “is a bonding community-based organization in Barangay Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal that reinforces the capacities of communities to undertake community-based climate and disaster risk reduction, environmental enhancements and poverty reduction”. (taken from the group’s website @ http://www.buklodtaoinc.org/#!about/ccjb)

IMG_20150927_101759The group through the leadership of Ka Noli (see: inset picture) was able enhance its capabilities in community based disaster risk reduction through the different partnerships with local/international NGOs, national and local government agencies, and private corporations. Reminding the audience during the morning briefing about the formation of Buklod Tao, Inc.; he said that “organizations like Buklod Tao need only Time, Patience, and a lot more Patience to succeed” (paraphrasing from original Tagalog script). Maximizing the different funding opportunities from small grants offered by foreign embassies or funding institutions, the group was able to receive its first grant to conduct a CBDRMM training program, then borrowing public access manuals from the Center of Disaster Preparedness as its training guide.

The litmus test for their hours of organizing and training was during Typhoon Ondoy’s torrential rain that caused inundation of areas near the waterways. Through their practiced flood simulation drills, the Buklod Tao reported zero casualty in their areas of responsibility.

In time, through numerous project proposals; they were able to develop production capacity of fiberglass dinghyIMG_20150927_091050, expand their core members to 600, establish a micro-credit facility, create a social enterprise that is also reducing waste, develop their container urban gardening program, and the building of a 3 story multipurpose flood and earthquake resilient evacuation building. Their success has been studied by many DRRM groups, professionals, students, and government agencies, hoping to replicate their success.

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