The Gawad Kalinga theory of social transformation: A grounded theory study

Dennis Moralde Cagantas, Fordham University


This grounded theory study was conducted with the purpose to generate a theory of social transformation of Gawad Kalinga. Gawad Kalinga started its work to eradicate poverty in the Philippines without a defined roadmap and template. The theory of social transformation generated in this study emanated from the way Gawad Kalinga volunteers processed, defined, and explained their experiences in their engagement with the poor. Through purposeful sampling, twenty-three GK volunteers in the Philippines agreed to undergo open-ended individual interviews and five focus group discussions. The interventions made by Gawad Kalinga in poor communities helped the downtrodden and suffering reclaim their humanity, restore their dignity, and rebuild their lives. Some manifestations of transformation included the emergence of a hope-filled family life, formation of communities of caring and sharing, development of leadership among the poor, and expansion of collaboration with different stakeholders in the Philippines and abroad. From the lens of faith, GK volunteers believed in the power of love to eradicate poverty in the Philippines. In their engagement with the poor, love became embodied in witnessing, solidarity, service, sacrifice, and communion. The ethic of love emerged as the answer to the removal of poverty understood as the lack or absence of caring and sharing. The process of social transformation by way of the heart could only be sustained through education and spirituality that would form the poor to become heroes of the nation.

Subject Area

Social research|Educational leadership|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Cagantas, Dennis Moralde, "The Gawad Kalinga theory of social transformation: A grounded theory study" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3557840.