Zone One Tondo (ZOTO)
Context: Despite strong economic growth of 6.6% in 2013, poverty incidence in the Philippines remains unchanged with 28% of the population living below the poverty line, showing almost 3 out of ten Filipinos survive on PhP46 (US$1.12) per person per day.
Unemployment rate rose to 27.5%, or an estimated 12.1 million individuals, and across age, joblessness remains highest among young people, ages 18-24 at 52.3%.
One in four residents of Metro Manila lives in informal settlements, under bridges, along rivers and railways, along the streets or highways, or areas affected by government infrastructure projects. All informal settlers face eviction from their homes, and the government admits that the current and projected shelter programs are inadequate to effectively address the challenge of providing housing to such dwellers.
In recent years, disasters and natural calamities have become more frequent, and economic losses due to the typhoons and flooding have become more severe.
Organization: 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 October 20, 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 6th grant to ZOTO will expand the youth leadership program and pilot a new livelihood development program, including computer- related vocational training and entrepreneurial training.