Rural Organizations and Active Citizenship in Bangladesh Evaluation of BRAC’s Polli Shomaj (2012)

This report studies Polli Shomaj (PS), a ward-based civil society initiative of BRAC’s Community Empowerment and Strengthening Local Institutions (CESLI) program. It examines PS achievements as a group, active citizenship among its members, and geographical diffusion of the organization’s influence. The study drew on 671 semi-structured group interviews, 2,684 semi-structured one-to-one interviews and census of four wards. Findings suggested that civil society organizations may increase active citizenship among rural citizens in Bangladesh, but such activism may not necessarily increase the accountability of local institutions. Many PS members dropped out as they did not receive any services. Rural women confused PS with the BRAC VO, or TUP initiatives. They typically joined PS, hoping
for material benefits. Certain operational elements may, however, enhance program effectiveness. For example, PS groups may organize meetings in the early morning or late evening for maximum participation.

Authors: Qayum, Nayma; Khan, Ashrafuzzaman; Rahman, Rehnuma
Type: Monograph
Year: 2012