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Ruth Callanta

With an Anthropology degree from the University of the Philippines and a Masters in Management from the Asian Institute of Management, Ms. Ruth Callanta found herself very much involved in social development. She was a volunteer for many relief and development agencies and volunteer organizations. In addition, she worked with institutions like the Asian Development Bank and the International Fund for Agriculture and Development, where she accumulated a wealth of knowledge on development strategies on poverty alleviation, strategic management of corporate philanthropy, and other related methods on social development.

Ms. Callanta believed that the crucial element absent from development work for the poor can be summed up in one word – faith. This led her to advocate a faith-based program for community transformation. She began an informal network of development practitioners who shared the same philosophy and in 1992, that network was formally established as the Center for Community Transformation (CCT).

Ms. Callanta worked on a development model that combines, in a sustainable manner, the provision of spiritual nurturing and economic and social interventions to poor communities. Since it was created and is managed and funded by Filipinos, it enables its proponents to utilize their own resources without having to rely on foreign grants and funding.

CCT establishes itself in communities in three distinct phases. These phases are supported by structured entities such as the CCT NGO (program for its spiritual development), the CCT Credit Cooperative (program for micro-financing, housing, insurance, social heath), the Visions of Hope Foundation (program for education and health for CCT children), and the CCT Heritage Tours (program for cultural and historical exposure to various places in the Philippines).

As a result of these programs, CCT has disbursed loans amounting to P1 billion. The organization’s members effectively pay their loans, as proven by its 98.5% repayment rate. From a 10-office network with 4,300 community partners in 1999, CCT currently has 130 offices nationwide and over 100,000 beneficiaries.

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