Let’s go back to that global 12 million.
In the United States, Filipinos and Filipinas account for the country’s second-largest immigrant population. As diasporas (“scatterings” of a people) often are, a good fraction of them are tightly connected through ethnic networks: community associations, conferences, churches, educational centers, and student organizations. Each of these hundreds of hubs have contact lists that contain dozens if not hundreds of Filipinos and Filipinas, most of whom consider their Philippine origins to be an important part of their identities.
This means that the right message with the right resonance can very quickly echo down to hundreds of thousands of interested ears. And a pronounced call to action can spark a powerful fire.
Today, collaboration between overseas Filipinos and the Philippines exists largely through remittances and donations that make up 10% of Philippine GDP – but these investments more often target immediate needs rather than sustainable, systematic change. Never towards addressing the root causes that sent so many of us away.
Meanwhile, local Filipino changemakers have emerged out of the recent decades with critical solutions to the social problems that underlie economic dependence, social inequality, and rampant migration. Powerful as their efforts may be, though, the scale of their impact is limited by the fact that too many of their potential allies and supporters live half a world away, with energies, ideas and capital that are close to inaccessible from where they stand.
The magnitude of missed opportunity is staggering. According to Innovations for Poverty Action, some of the key ingredients to venture growth are access to talent, funding, and markets. The Filipino diaspora is highly educated; their collective income dwarfs Filipino GDP, which stands at $2300 per capita; and they are embedded in competitive international economies that are crucial to the creation of globally competitive brands that can provide jobs, create wealth, and break monopolies.
Kaya Collaborative, at its core, is a long-term effort to bridge this gap – to link mutual interests across the world and strengthen the role of overseas Filipinos in the development of the Philippines. To hack the diaspora into an engine of growth for sustainable and locally-led ventures that hold potential to both grow and equalize the Philippine political economy.