Case Study

Building Social Capital from the Centre: A Village-Level Investigation of Bangladesh's Grameen Bank

Analyzing whether weekly meetings help in building social capital in the community

This paper focuses on Grameen Bank (GB) members' regular interaction at the village-level loan repayment building, the 'centre,'. It asks how this facilitates the members' ability to establish and strengthen networks outside their living quarters and kinship groups.

The paper suggests that by attending weekly center meetings, GB members have the opportunity to build a kind of social wealth not measurable in simple financial terms. The paper refers to these networks, their attributes and their impact on the community as 'social capital'. Its findings include:

  • Rural Bangladeshi women's identity and relationships are traditionally decided by patriarchal practices and purdah norms contributing to their isolation and limiting their involvement in community life;
  • NGO involvement can change this dynamically;
  • Regular and untraditional interaction in a common space, enables members to expand their opinions of themselves;
  • Each member can begin to build a collective identity with an extra-familial group.

About this Publication

By Larance, L.Y.