Bayan Ni Juan Residents’ Community Innovation Fund
Starting over in a resettlement area is not easy, particularly if it is so remote – distantfrom any livelihood opportunities.
Southville 7, Calauan,Laguna isone of the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) resettlement areas for familiesdisplacedby major calamities and those who are uprooted from their homes to give wayfor the construction of big-ticket projects.
However, in 2009, as part of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. (ALKFI) and Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission’s project of cleaning up the Pasig River tributaries, several families living in the Pasig river banks wererelocated.NHAthen offered ALKFI to take over Southville 7 in exchange of leading the operation in the whole community. ALKI accepted the proposal and started operating the Southville 7, with the families from the Pasig River.
Unfortunately, just after a few months of working in Southville 7, Tropical storm Ondoy devastatingly hit Manila on September 2009, where several families were left with nothing. NHA and ALKFI decided to open its doors to new residents of more than 3,000 families.
To support the growing population of the area, ALKFI invited private sector and non-governmentgroups. One of the projects launched was the Community Innovation Fund (CIF), an interest-free loan scheme.
Initially, the CIF was created to support and assist the livelihood in the community of Bayan Ni Juan. ALKFIsawthe opportunity of turning it as a revolving fund. Residents are lent money based on their brief business proposal, supported by endorsement of their community leader.
CIF was designed to provide non-interest-bearing loans to encourage the new relocatees to start up a business as well as to promote community development and innovation. ALKFI and its partners ensure that the loan money will not be put to waste. Potential recipients were granted trainings in business skills and making business proposals, like the Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Management training.
It was quite a challenge for ALKFI and its partners to start such investment as most of its beneficiaries do not have background in entrepreneurship. Many recipients admitted that they were not able to use the funds loaned to them for its intended purposes. However, there are also those who managed to efficiently spend the money.
Lea Nabor was one of the borrowers who availed the CIF and used itto sustain her family.
Nabor is a market vendor and a Typhoon Ondoy survivor. Because of CFI, she was able to expand her sari-sari store into a thriving business and help her husband in their everyday living expenses. “Totoong mahirap magsimula ulit ng buhay ditosa Calauan, kaya malaking oportunidad ang naibigay sa amin para makaahon sa buhay at makapagsimula ulit.” Nabor shared. Being a good-payer, Nabor was recognized and won the top prize in the “Araw ng Parangal para sa mga Natatanging Negosyante ng Community Innovation Fund”, inNovember 2015.
Nabor is also one of the borrowers who received huge amount from the recent CIF turn-over. After years of this project, partners decided to return the money to the beneficiaries who had religiously paid their duties. This is one way to reward them forbeing a responsible payer.
When asked what is the advantage of borrowers paying on time, Catleya Victoria, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya, Special Project Manager, shared, “Seeing that they have an untarnished credit record givesthem a high chance to borrow more to other microfinance institutions.” Victoria also added that ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya has been so grateful to be part of this project, to witness how people’s lives were transformed.
Southville 7 is now home to over 5,000 resettled families. Over the years of partnerships with several organization, Southville 7 began to transform into a model resettlement site.