ZEP2030 Coalition: Building Grassroots Innovations for Poverty Reduction in the Philippines

Who we are

The Zero Extreme Poverty Philippines 2030 (ZEP2030) is a movement and a coalition of non-government entities committed to contribute to the eradication of poverty in the Philippines by the year 2030. It was established in 2015 by 17 organizations that participated in the National Poverty Summit entitled, “Building Pathways in Eradicating Poverty and Inequality”. The movement envisions, “Filipinos enjoying the fullness of life in sustainable communities” with the mission to uplift one million families from extreme poverty to self-sufficiency by 2030. The goal is to reach one million families or five million individuals in 500 municipalities in 70 provinces in 17 regions.

The coalition aims to strengthen large-scale collaboration through collective impact. It is a strategy in solving complex problems and bringing together multiple stakeholders. Collective impact has five conditions: a common agenda, shared measurements, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and backbone support. While civil society organizations work generally with the poor, ZEP2030 targets those who are in extreme poverty, and aims to address the different needs of the family that will bring about transformational change. To break the cycle of poverty, the coalition requires a more comprehensive measure that reflects the multi-dimensional nature of poverty.  

Another important element for ZEP2030 is that the whole process is inclusive and participatory, starting with the needs and aspirations of the families and the community. The coalition also aims to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals in the development agenda of ZEP2030.

Indicators of Extreme Poverty

For targeting purposes, the coalition agreed on a set of key indicators to define families in “extreme poverty”. The following are the five ZEP2030 indicators of extreme poverty:

  1. Average daily income of a family of five is below ₱305
  2. Family members between 5 to 18 years old are currently not attending school due to poverty
  3. All family members missed two suppers in a week
  4. Family has no access to safe potable water
  5. Family has no access to own sanitary toilet
  • Average daily income of a family of five is below ₱305 

This amount translates to ₱61 per person per day or ₱1,830 per person per month for both food and non-food needs. The basis used for this indicator is the 2015 Philippine Poverty Statistics—the national poverty threshold is at a monthly average of ₱1,812/person, while the food threshold is ₱1,266/person per month. 

  • Family members between 5 to 18 years old are currently not attending school due to poverty 
  • All family members missed two suppers in a week

While there is no single way to measure food insecurity and hunger, the Health Cluster suggests meal frequency as an initial indicator. This is because people remember more if they missed supper as opposed to skipping breakfast or lunch. For some people, having coffee is already considered breakfast.  

  • Family has no access to safe potable water

Access would mean at least level 1 water system communal reservoir. The World Bank definition of Level I (Point Source) provides a protected well or a developed spring with an outlet, but without a distribution system. The users go to the source to fetch the water. This is generally adaptable for rural areas where affordability is low and the houses in the intended service area are not crowded. A Level I facility normally serves an average of 15 households within a radius of 250 meters.

  • Family has no access to own sanitary toilet

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, sanitary toilet refers to flush toilets either owned or shared and closed pit type of toilet facility.  

Coalition Core Values

The members of the coalition adhere to the five agreed upon core values:

  1. Our actions are anchored in SOCIAL JUSTICE and EQUITY
  2. We are called to SERVICE and STEWARDSHIP
  5. We COLLABORATE for Collective Impact
  • Our actions are anchored in SOCIAL JUSTICE and EQUITY 

We believe that all human beings possess God-given dignity and potential, and that no one should live in extreme poverty. We dedicate our efforts to ensuring that equal access to health, well-being, peace and wealth creation is extended to all Filipinos by focusing on removing the barriers to the progress of the poor towards prosperous and meaningful lives.  This includes holding the government accountable to provide social services and an enabling environment for the poor’s journey out of poverty.

  • We are called to SERVICE and STEWARDSHIP

We are called to offer our work and skills for the benefit of those who have less in life and all those who live in society’s margins.  We will use our individual and collective talents to exercise responsible management over all resources entrusted to us, including the environment, people, technology and other assets.  We aim to ensure that the next generation will inherit from us a fairer and better governed Philippines.


We are fully aware that we are answerable to God, to our stakeholders, and to our fellow Filipinos.  We honor our promises and will do our best to achieve the best results from our programs and interventions.  Furthermore, we will be transparent in all our actions and learn from our experiences for better impact in the future.


We recognize that we are one nation composed of many ethnicities, languages, cultures, and faiths.  We uphold gender equality in all aspects of Filipino life.  We respect diversity while building a unified and prosperous society.  We build on these platforms, harnessing culturally-responsive approaches that ensure no poor family is left behind.

  • We collaborate for COLLECTIVE IMPACT

We believe that we will achieve zero extreme poverty by working together.

We complement each other’s organizational strengths in accompanying families towards self-sufficiency.  We link with the government, the private sector, churches, donors and others to uplift families.  We align our priorities with the aspirations and goals of communities, our main partners in the journey.

Partnership Principles

(Adapted from: Association of Foundations’ Partnership Framework and ZEP2030 Environment Cluster’s Consideration for Partnerships)

  1.  Sense of community – ZEP2030 will promote and nurture the spirit of unity and cooperation (bayanihan) around a common development agenda.
  2. Trust is key to a strong and effective coalition – A large-scale collaboration such as ZEP2030 requires confidence in each partner’s ability, motives, and performance, at the same time ensures transparency and accountability.
  3. Leverage and complementation for greater impact – ZEP2030 is built on the premise that each member or stakeholder has something to bring into the partnership. This means that there is willingness to build on each other’s strengths, pool resources, and implement mutually reinforcing activities to contribute to the overall goal of the coalition.
  4. Work with community/area-based organizations – ZEP2030 will engage more community/area-based organizations as primary implementers. Area-based implementers are in the best position to determine who their partners will be and at what terms. Given their better understanding of local conditions, the determination by area-based organizations bears great weight in selecting other partners.
  5. Promote equity and participation – Projects under ZEP2030 should provide for equitable benefit-sharing among members of the community, especially families in extreme poverty, and should seek the participation of women and youth in the project implementation.
  6. Sustainability of efforts should be paramount – Actions and outputs of programs and projects should build the capacities of implementing partners and develop structures that promote and enhance sustainability of efforts.


Our Approach: Collective Impact

Collective Impact by Kania and Kramer (2011) of the Stanford Social Innovation Review was adopted as the approach of ZEP2030 in 2015.  It says that, “large-scale social change requires broad cross sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.”  This was a realization that the movement aimed to change by breaking down the silo mindset of individual organizations and encouraging them to work together.

For ZEP2030, building collaborative partnerships and bringing together multiple stakeholders to be able to solve complex problems also means adhering to the five conditions identified as conditions of collective impact

  1. Common Agenda – All participants share a vision for change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed-upon actions.
  2. Mutually Reinforcing Activities – A diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinate a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
  3. Shared Measurements Systems – All participating organizations agree on the ways success will be measured and reported, with a shortlist of common indicators identified and used for learning and improvement.
  4. Continuous Communication – All players engage in frequent and structured open communication to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common innovation.
  5. Backbone Support – Provides support by guiding the initiative’s vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing resources.

Additional approaches have since been developed by the coalition with its identified process and phases at the level of implementation:

  • Data-driven initiatives – the use of targeting tools to identify and profile ZEP2030 families and use of other survey results in assessing their situations.
  • Inclusivity – The conduct of the Family and Community Visioning involves the family and the community in identifying their needs and aspirations.  This approach is crucial so they have ownership of the solutions to the needs that they themselves help identify.
  • Customized for Local Context – The shift to focusing on establishing local convergences also contextualized the approach and identified needs per area
  • Engaging multi-stakeholders and cross-sector partnerships – the process of mapping and engaging active CSOs in the area as well as partnering with the local government units ensure sustainability of the interventions
Structure and roles

The coalition members initially organized themselves into thematic clusters namely: education, health, livelihood, environment, agriculture and fisheries, housing and shelter, and partnerships for indigenous peoples with social justice cutting across all the clusters. The themes integrated the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their plans.  Membership entry to the coalition was through membership in each of the clusters.

In 2019, ZEP2030 took a crucial step in expanding the coalition and changing its approach to organizing by going all-in local through the establishment of area-based convergences. The main objective is to localize efforts by convening ZEP2030 members in a particular locality as a platform for identifying solutions to poverty and working together towards their collective goal. Local convergences were organized, starting with Cebu in August 2019, followed by introductory meetings in Bohol, Davao, and Marawi City. In addition to Cebu, local convergences have been formed in Quezon City, Sarangani and General Santos City, and Bukidnon, while efforts are underway in Bohol and Eastern Samar.

While the ZEP2030 is a loose coalition, it maintains an organizational structure with the Lead Convenors at the helm. The Lead Convenors are composed of the organizations that facilitated the formation of the coalition. It is currently chaired by Br. Armin Luistro FSC of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). At present, there are 18 organizations that comprise the Lead Convenors and they are expected to perform the following responsibilities as approved during the October 16, 2018 Lead Convenors Meeting:

  1. Monitor the overall national targets and actively pursue the timelines
  2. Oversight role to other issues not at the cluster level but critical to reaching targets
  3. Arbiter between clusters and local convergences and to look for solutions and anticipate possible problems in able to reach targets
  4. Identify funding needs and gaps

The Executive Committee that serves as the recommending body to the Lead Convenors are the heads of the organizations leading the thematic clusters. The ExeCom directly supervises the Technical Working Group (TWG) and the Secretariat. The TWG and the Secretariat regularly meet to discuss updates and concerns  and propose solutions that are elevated to the ExeCom and Lead Convenors. The Head Secretariat, initially hosted by the Assisi Development Foundation and at present by PBSP, is in charge of the operational concerns as well as overall coordination and provision of support to the cluster heads and local convenors.

While focus is on the formation of local convergences, the thematic clusters are still in effect serving as learning venues on matters that concern each theme.

ZEP2030 Lead Convenors:

  • Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) – Br. Armin Luistro FSC (Chairperson)
  • Association of Foundations (AF) – Ma. Bella Victoria Quimpo
  • Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) – National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) / Caritas Philippines – Fr. Edwin Gariguez
  • Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) – Deanie Lyn Ocampo
  • De La Salle Philippines (DLSP) – Br. Edgar Esparagoza FSC
  • Forest Foundation Philippines – Atty. Jose Andres Canivel
  • Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) – Sixto Donato Macasaet
  • Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) – Oliver Agoncillo
  • Habitat for Humanity Philippines – Michael Christopher Meaney
  • International Care Ministries (ICM)
  • League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) – Mario Deriquito
  • Makati Business Club (MBC) – Coco Alcuaz
  • Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) – Roberto Calingo
  • Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA) – Arlene Christy Lusterio 
  • Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA) – Caridad Corridor
  • UNILAB, Inc. – Claire Papa
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines – Francis Capistrano
  • Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) – Sealdi Gonzales

Executive Committee:

  • Reynaldo Laguda – Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)
  • Norman Jiao – Association of Foundations  (AF)
  • Milton Amayun
  • Oliver Agoncillo – Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) 
  • Roberto Calingo – Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF)
  • Caridad Corridor – Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)
  • Benedict Balderrama – Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA)

Technical Working Group:

  • Gina Estipona, Education Cluster Coordinator, Association of Foundations (AF)
  • Leah Lagahit, Health Cluster Coordinator, International Care Ministries (ICM)
  • Aivan Herzano, Environment Cluster Coordinator, Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE)
  • Sandino Soliman, Housing and Shelter Cluster Coordinator, Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO)
  • Meg Fernandez, Livelihood Cluster Coordinator, Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF)
  • Katlea Zairra Itong, Agriculture and Fisheries Cluster Coordinator, Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)

Head Secretariat: Philippines Business for Social Progress (PBSP)

  • Annafriami Martin, National Coordinator
  • Sofia Kaye Macabando, Data Officer
  • Maria Carmelia Galapon, Communications Officer

As of the second quarter of 2021, the membership is now 144 strong with existing and target ZEP2030 areas in 409 cities and municipalities in 52 provinces.  An area is considered ZEP2030 when a member organization declares to introduce ZEP2030 and adopt the strategies of the coalition.

Support to ZEP2030 members

Core to the strategy of the movement is to work with various organizations and stakeholders in being able to holistically address the needs of families in extreme poverty through collective impact.

One key feature of collective impact is the backbone support which for ZEP2030 is provided by the Lead Convenors, the Secretariat and the Technical Working Group at the coalition level, and by the Local Convenors at the area convergence level.  Support from the Lead Convenors are provided in the form of guidance, oversight, and resource mobilization to reach the overall targets. The Secretariat, together with the Technical Working Group, connects the membership, collects, consolidates and disseminates data and information among the members, facilitates learning and partnership opportunities, and assists in the early stages of organizing local convergences.  The Local Convenors, serving as the local backbone support for the area-based convergences, have the following suggested roles:

  • convene fellow civil society organizations and development actors in the province/city/municipality;
  • keep track of plans, progress of activities, and roles and commitments;
  • lead engagement and advocacy for ZEP2030 with local chief executives and LGUs;
  • for provincial convenors, coordinate city/municipal convenors and actors;
  • identify needs and service delivery gaps, and initiate action and convergence;
  • identify and initiate opportunities for expanding ZEP2030 within or in nearby LGU;
  • document the process.

Belonging to a local convergence with efforts of the members focused on identified communities is a step towards collective impact.  Support for the local convergence may come from both the convergence members and the wider coalition.  Identified needs from the profiles of families as well as results of the Family and Community Visioning may be responded to not only by the members of the local convergence and the partner local government units.  They are also shared with the rest of the coalition for consideration of other ZEP2030 members in their own programs and services. Local convergences may likewise receive support in the form of access to relevant data and tools, continuous learning exchange, and linkages with other prospective partners.

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