Gawad Kalinga in Tagalog means to "give care" and it’s also the name of a not-for-profit organization based in the Philippines with the mission to end poverty for 5 million families by 2024.
In 2009, Gkonomics was started by a group of five women with professional experience in finance, retail, psychology, law, business. The co-founders were compelled to contribute their professional expertise, but also be part of the solution, to end poverty in the Philippines. They partnered with the larger not-for-profit, Gawad Kalinga, to address the need for sustainable livelihood in communities across the Philippines.
According to co-founder Marivic Poblador Pineda, Product Development Director, Gkonomics' mission is to become a platform for people of various interests, backgrounds and inclinations to come together and contribute to their livelihood initiatives. Among those initiatives is ASAM a newly launched design-led brand under Gkonomics that puts together volunteer designers, skilled workshops and communities to develop functional and marketable products. “Although we work with several communities, for Artisan Resource we are focusing on the handwoven material T'nalak, which is produced by the T'boli tribe of Mindanao who still employ ancient techniques,” said Poblador Pineda.
Poblador Pineda explained that ASAM promotes and preserves Filipino cultural heritage by showing communities that there is an appreciation for their craft and that they can sustain their way of life from it. “Many youth have opted out of their lifestyle by favoring more modern jobs. We fear that when the older generation start to pass on, their culture will pass on with them.”
As their first foray in the international market, Artisan Resource is where Gkonomics hopes to test the ASAM product lines. After the group returns to the Philippines they will craft the appropriate marketing program to target their desired clientele that have an appreciation for traditional handmade items, but are interested in the culture and process of the craftspeople in the region.
ASAM products are currently available on order from their catalog and items can be purchased in in a couple of retail shops in the Manila. ASAM will be attending Artisan Resource at NY NOW from February 1-4. They will be exhibiting desk and vanity organizers, clutches and hand carved belt buckles, and jackets made by the T’boli tribe.
For more information, please visit www.gkonomics.com.