Dear volunteers and supporters, It has been a good start to the year.

In January, 12 Australians and 3 French participated in the inaugural ‘Under the Bonnet’ tour, an intensive two week examination of GK’s community building methods, focusing especially on the first stage of community development. GK in the Philippines committed very significant resources to making the trip a great success. In particular, I would like to thank Mark Lawrence Cruz, GK’s head of programs, Thess and Dale Lugue and Tito Ernie Maipid for the effort that went into organising the tour. I would also like to thank GK’s Executive Director, Luis Oquinena, and Chair, Tito Tony Meloto, for the generous sharing of their time with the group. I would also like to thank all our mentors, and our host families. The caring that GK espouses is readily visible amongst the beneficiary communities and the volunteers, full-time workers and host families.

We have finally completed the audits for 2011 and 2012. I and the board would like to thank David Robinson from Harveys Chartered Accountants for so graciously undertaking both audits on a pro bono basis. Thank you also to the Finance and Secretariat teams for their help with this work. Ken Lancero, Alvin Lauria, Vince Villafranca, Rian Roque, Carl Cuanan, Den Iligan, Joe Oconer from the Finance committee were essential to this task. I would also like to thank James Palomo, who stepped in to coordinate the committee, and Lalaih Chan and Josanne Musa for their great help in starting the coordination process.

The board has three new members who were appointed at the National Committee Meeting and Annual General Meeting that took place on 2 March 2013 in Canberra. We welcome Cecilia Concepcion, Irene Mayo and James Palomo to the board and thank them for their willingness to contribute to GKA in this way. Thank you also to Liam King GKA’s ACT coordinator for organising the venue for the meetings and to Liam and George Lemon for their welcome of the volunteers to Canberra and for taking us to a new Filipino restaurant in Weston for lunch.

In April we have Curtis Alejo, Nonoy Malubag, and Ian McLaughlin leading the Australian team to the Bayani Challenge, which this year hopes to draw 100,000 volunteers from across the Philippines and around the world. On Saturday 25 May, GK supporters from Melbourne are planning to host the GKA Hope Ball. The guest of honour will be Tito Tony Meloto. Details of the event will be published shortly. Depending on numbers, a GKYGAT is also planned for 18 -29 May 2013. The site for the YGAT is in Davao.

Finally I would like to thank the ongoing support of the volunteers and supporters. Your help has been critical in building GKA as an organisation that has a capability that can be sustained.

Andrew Chalk Chair GKA Australia