Beacon of Hope: An Impact Assessment Study of BRAC's Rural Development Programme
This paper presents an impact assessment study of the Rural Development Program (RDP) launched by BRAC. The study used village profiles, case studies of voluntary organizations (VOs) and household surveys for data generation.
The impact assessment methodology considered the following factors:
- Strength of RDP support;
- Life-cycle situation of the households, education and initial endowment on joining BRAC;
- Local economic dynamism.
The criteria for the key indicators of impact were:
- Material well-being of the members' households;
- Vulnerability to seasonality and crisis coping capacity;
- Changes in women's lives;
- Development of VOs as institutions.
The study discusses the impact of RDP inputs. Its findings were:
- Measuring RDP inputs:
- Men participated for a longer time in VOs than women, but there were more number of female participants;
- RDP credit per household was larger for the male category.
- Material well being increased in proportion to loan size and membership age;
- Vulnerability: members' seasonal vulnerability decreased;
- Changes in women's lives:
- Status of the female members of the RDP improved;
- Husbands treated their wives better;
- The opposition of the male section to women's participation in groups declined over time as the women's contribution to household well being became evident;
- VO development: discipline and enthusiasm were found to be higher in the newer VOs and in VOs for women. However, financial discipline did not decline over time.