The Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 (ZEP2030) Movement held its first Bukidnon Convergence meeting on June 10, 2021 via Zoom. Thirty-six representatives from 15 organizations participated in the meeting aimed to build a strategic convergence among civil society organizations (CSOs) and other key stakeholders for the expansion of ZEP2030 in Bukidnon.

To illustrate how ZEP2030 works, Ms. Bella Quimpo of Del Monte Foundation, Inc. (DMFI), local convenor for the Municipality of Sumilao, shared their journey in partnership with the local government, barangay leaders and residents, national government agencies, and other CSOs like Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Inc. The collaboration resulted in water, health, livelihood, and education initiatives that benefitted an entire community, with a particular focus on the needs of the families in extreme poverty. As of January 2021, at least 120 out of the 179 identified families in eight barangays in Sumilao have improved conditions and moved out of extreme poverty.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the province is faced with new challenges and opportunities as evidenced by the COVID Pulse PH, a household survey commissioned by ZEP2030 and UNDP Philippines. Mr. Francis Capistrano of UNDP presented the results of the survey in Bukidnon, including the top assets, transversal skills, and aspirations of the respondents.  One of the key insights from the survey is that the creation of employment opportunities particularly in agriculture – those which could help bring families above the poverty line – is emerging to be an important element of the better normal.

Moving forward, DMFI proposed a sprint plan to the group for the next six months: from creating the convergence to seeking volunteer organizations to “adopt-a-town” as local convenors, and engaging the LGUs and other stakeholders. The participants expressed their support by leveraging their organizations’ presence, resources, programs/projects, and partners across the province.

The Bukidnon Convergence meeting was facilitated by Mr. Oman Jiao of the Association of Foundations (AF), one of the Lead Convenors of the ZEP2030 Movement.

JOIN US! If your organization is interested in the Bukidnon Convergence and/or similar efforts in Quezon City, Cebu, Bohol, Eastern Samar, Sarangani, and Western Visayas, or if you wish to initiate ZEP2030 in your own locality, please contact the ZEP2030 Secretariat at zeroextremepoverty2030@gmail.com.