Global Reach: Grantee Partners

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Zone One Tondo (ZOTO)


Urban poor youth in Manila face multiple challenges such as eviction and displacement, unemployment and a lack of understanding and resources to ensure access to basic rights. ZOTO works with the poorest of the poor in Metro Manila. Their numbers are increasing as the poverty incidence among individual Filipinos during the first semester of 2014 stood at 26 percent, up from 25 percent in 2013. The situation of children and youth is especially dire. The study “Children Living Along The Waterways” conducted by ZOTO in 2014 found that 17% of the respondent children and youth did work, earning from PHP1 to 300 (2 cents to 6.6 USD) a day, 28% had to stop schooling (due to e.g. financial problems or transfer of house), 50% reported incidents of corporal punishment and violence and almost a third reported that they knew about someone who had become a teen-age mother.


Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO), also known as Samahan ng Mamamayan-ZOTO is a federation of urban poor community groups based in relocation sites and areas for demolition. Established in 1970, ZOTO is the oldest urban poor organization in the Philippines. Its goals include: 1) organize and strengthen the citizenry in the 28 urban poor communities; 2) raise awareness on gender equality ; 3) conduct continuing education and training of leaders and members of the community and the organization; and 4) improve the economic condition of its members and ultimately of all citizens. Its programs include Children and Young People’s Programs; Disaster Risk Reduction Program; Gender Equality Program; Integrated Primary Health and Reproductive Health Program; Sustainability; and Training and Organization Programs. urned trafficked children can attend school. These actions help communities to reject the sale and exploitation of children.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s 8th grant allows ZOTO to conduct an Opportunities Mapping assessing existing and accessible livelihoods options for young people, and to open a Business Development Center. Youth shall be admitted back to school or linked to the Alternative Learning System, vocational training providers, direct employment, or micro finance services for self-employment, and shall be more prepared for the labor market.

Where is Zone One Tondo (ZOTO)?

Primary Location: Manila


Funded Since: 2007

Grantee shoutouts!
ZOTO Youth Leader presents her story in Hong Kong
Posted 27 September 2018

ZOTO from EMpower on Vimeo.

You can support our work with Zone One Tondo (ZOTO) and our other grantee partners.

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.