Diaspora and development beyond the state: the case of Gawad Kalinga in the Philippines

Philip F. Kelly, Arnisson Andre C. Ortega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Since 2000, Gawad Kalinga (GK) has emerged as a prominent player in promoting diaspora-driven strategies for social and economic development in the Philippines. GK has its roots as the social ministry of a Catholic lay organization that started by providing housing and youth programmes for the urban poor, but in recent years, it has moved towards a more secular model of fostering social entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, a distinctly moral imperative still underpins GK’s work, both in soliciting donations and volunteerism, and in selecting and supporting its development beneficiaries. A significant portion of GK’s funds, and volunteer labour, comes from the Filipino diaspora. This paper raises questions concerning the model of social and economic development that GK represents. In particular, we examine the drawbacks of private charitable involvement in the execution of state responsibilities such as social housing and poverty alleviation; and we ask what forms of moral subjectivity are created and populated in this model of development and how does it select, socialize and discipline beneficiaries? More broadly, this paper argues that the GK case addresses some of the promises and pitfalls of diaspora-driven development visions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-55
Number of pages21
JournalSouth East Asia Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Diaspora
  • Gawad Kalinga
  • Philippines
  • development
  • overseas Filipinos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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