Tony Meloto is the founder of Gawad Kalinga (GK), a movement that builds integrated, holistic and sustainable communities in slum areas with a vision to end poverty for five million Filipino families by 2024.
At a young age, Meloto was exposed to the squalid living conditions of the poor, as his home was near a shoreline squatter community where poverty was pronounced. After graduating from Ateneo de Manila University with a BA in Economics, he worked as purchasing manager at Procter & Gamble. In 1995, Meloto started working with the poor in the slums of Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, through a youth program which ultimately evolved to become Gawad Kalinga. The GK movement has been implemented in almost 2,500 communities in the Philippines and other developing countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.
Described as a radical optimist, Meloto is now building an inclusive platform for global partnerships, particularly in Europe. By providing internships and volunteer services at 32 European universities (22 of which are in France), Meloto hopes to create a bridge between Europe and Asia so opportunities in the Philippines and other emerging economies are discovered.
Most recently, Meloto was awarded the 2012 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and the 2011 Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth from Japan, as well as selected as the 2010 Social Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst and Young in the Philippines.