The Labor Department’s policy research and advocacy arm, in keeping with its innovative research work, trooped to theGawadKalinga (GK)Center for Social Innovation in Angat, Bulacanfor its 2nd Research Tour.
The GK Center, more popularly known as the GK Enchanted Farm is located at BarangayEncanto, Angat. Bulacan. It is an incubator of social enterprises. Some 25 researchers and staff of the Labor Department's Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) joined the tour at GK Enchanted Farm.
“We are exploring how social enterprises are helping vulnerable workers. The work that GK has done for poor communities all over the country through the public and private partnerships they foster, is something that we would like to learn from, particularly in developing policy and programs on better livelihood programs for vulnerable workers,”said Executive Director Cynthia of the ILS.
A social enterpriseis a business that trades to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, and promotion of sustainable enterprises. Different from dole-outs and pure grants, social enterprises are businesses that earn money and make profits like any business, but places high priority on achieving social missions such as: creating jobs for people who would otherwise be left out; reinvesting profits in community projects; protecting the environment and providing vital health and education services.
“The DOLE develops sustainable livelihood and entrepreneurship opportunities for vulnerable workers. We can learn much from the GawadKalinga experience,” emphasized Cruz.
The GK Enchanted Farm is envisioned to be a Village University where students can learn onsite side by side with the communities it serves; a Silicon Valley on social entrepreneurship that serve as a enterprise laboratory where young entrepreneurs can test their products while helping the community; and a Social Tourism haven where tourists can travel to GK Farms around the country, while learning about problems that poor communities experience.
“We would like to identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration. Even way before social entrepreneurship became a buzzword, GawadKalingawas already setting the tone for social entrepreneurship.We would like to explore the possibility of working with them on interventions for vulnerable workers,” said Cruz.
In addition to being a social enterprise, the GK Enchanted Farm is also an entrepreneurship intern site for top universities both here and abroad. Internship programs are offered to students which range from one month to six months for aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to try their hand in social enterprises. To date the GK Farm is host to social enterprise brands such as Happy Green (Enchantea);Golden Egg and Gourmet Keso, which are produced at the Farm by GK families who live in the Farm.
“We are finding a wealth of opportunities here at the GK Enchanted Farm, not only for more sustainable livelihood opportunities but for entrepreneurship opportunities for young jobseekers as well. It is all a matter of synergy between the Institute and GawadKalinga,” said Cruz.
GawadKalinga works with corporate partners, schools, volunteers, and organizations to develop innovative social and business enterprises that benefit the communities nationwide it serves.
The ILS is the policy research and advocacy arm of the Department of Labor and Employment. It was created in July 1987 by virtue of Executive Order No. 257. Since its creation the Institute has always been at the forefront of labor and employment policy research and advocacy providing strategic policy research on employment, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue for the Department of Labor and Employment.
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